The Truth campaign, long a determined adversary of the tobacco industry, turned its attention to opioid abuse earlier this year. A series of graphic spots showed the lengths to which addicts will go to land another prescription for the strong painkillers.
Now Truth examines the other end of addiction--detox and recovery--with a stark and intimate look into the life of a young woman trying to move beyond years of drug dependency. “Treatment Box” displays five unfiltered days in the life of Rebekkah, a 26-year-old heroin and opioid addict, as she detoxes on camera.
The scenes of her shaky limbs, nausea, vomiting and insomnia played out on a three-dimensional installation at Astor Place in New York City in June. Passersby stopped to watch a life-size Rebekkah in her room, often huddled in bed, wracked with pain. Interspersed are short interviews where she explains that she was prescribed opioids when she was 14, after injuring her ankle during cheerleading practice. Addiction quickly followed, and two months later, she tried heroin. “I feel like I’m coming back from the dead,” she says on Day 3 of detox. A longform film out this week shows the profound effect the initiative had on audiences.
The project is a partnership with the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Ad Council, with agency partner 72andSunny. Tucker Walsh of M ss ng P eces directed the film.
Before beginning the campaign, the organizations met with a medical ethicist to determine whether the project should move forward, and the treatment protocols were reviewed by Phoenix House, a national addiction treatment program. Rebekkah was filmed around the clock for five days in a mini treatment center that was created for the shoot. The installation ran in New York for a single day.
In exchange for taking part, Rebekkah is receiving a year of free treatment. She entered a facility after filming and there has access to a psychiatrist, nurses, paramedics, a sober companion, a medical ethicist and a treatment center specialist. She is still in treatment and is reportedly doing well.