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White House announces ad campaign to educate young adults about opioids

An image from “The Truth About Opioids,” a collaboration between the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Truth Initiative and the Ad Council. (YouTube)

A new government advertising campaign aimed at educating young adults about the dangers of opioids will soon be hitting the airwaves and social media feeds, the White House announced Thursday.

“The Truth About Opioids,” a collaboration between the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Truth Initiative, and the Ad Council, is a comprehensive public education campaign addressing an epidemic that killed more than 40,000 Americans in 2016. President Donald Trump declared the crisis a national emergency last fall.

The first part of the campaign consists of four ads that will “bring to life the stories of four young Americans who, in pursuit of more opioids, go to extreme lengths to feed their addiction—including a purposeful car crash and a self-inflicted broken arm,” according to a White House fact sheet. One of the ads premiered on NBC’s “Today” Thursday.

Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to the president, told reporters on a conference call the goal of the campaign is “for other young adults to see these ads and ask themselves how they can avoid going down a similar path.”

TV networks and social media platforms have donated significant airtime to run the ads, though officials were unable to specify exactly when and where they will be seen.

“We have every confidence we will be delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time,” said Robin Koval, CEO of Truth Initiative.

The ads target 18-to-24-year-olds, as well as those 25 to 35 years old, with the hope that they will share the information about the risks of opioid addiction with their peers. The administration and its partners tested 150 different messages before settling on these four stories.

“We have no doubt that this campaign will save lives,” said Lisa Sherman, CEO of the Ad Council.

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