The long-running anti-smoking campaign Truth has expanded its purview to combat another epidemic of addiction: opioids--and it's not pulling any punches in a new series of ads that go to painful extremes to illustrate the severity of the problem.
For two decades, Truth has specialized in unvarnished, sometimes shocking spots that reveal tobacco industry lies or the harsh realities of lung cancer. In the same way, the "Truth About Opioids" campaign doesn't shy away from scenes of brutality, in these cases self-inflicted.
The campaign features four true stories of young people who fell into opioid abuse. Each of the protagonists find themselves caught in a cycle of addiction to painkillers, and the only way to get more of the prescription drugs is to end up in the hospital. Those who can't wait for an injury manufacture one instead. There's Amy, in the film above, or Chris, who's addicted to Vicodin and Kyle, whose weakness is Oxy.
The campaign was created in partnership with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Ad Council, along with creative agency Haymaker. Amazon, Facebook, Google and YouTube, NBCUniversal, Turner and Vice have already agreed to run the spots.
"We understand that opioid misuse is a complex issue that needs to be tackled from many angles," says Robin Koval, President and CEO of Truth Initiative. "We are deeply grateful to the young men and women featured in the launch effort for sharing their painful and powerful truths about opioids misuse to educate others about the risks."
The new spots are just the beginning. Like Truth before it, "The Truth About Opioids" is intended to be long-term and cover many topics, including reducing the stigma around opioid addiction.