Since taking office two years ago, President Donald Trump made some bold promises to help combat America’s opioid epidemic. Well now, his administration is taking what they believe to be an important step forward. This week, they released four anti-addiction public service announcements focusing specifically on the crisis.
Each clip is reportedly based on a true story and highlights characters whose dependencies have pushed them to severe extremes. Kyle’s Story (shown below) features a case from Dallas, where a young man takes a hammer to his own hand in order to receive more OxyContin prescriptions. Then a “Truth” message appears, along with damaging x-rays of broken bones.
Joe’s Story is another clip that received some criticism for its “shock value.” In this short story, a 20-something from Maine purposely traps himself under a car in the hopes of receiving more opioids. We have to admit that it’s difficult to watch, but it certainly sends a powerful message.
The third clip in the series is entitled Chris’ Story and focuses on Vicodin. This Atlanta example shows a young construction worker happily jamming his arm into a doorway so he can be hospitalized and receive more medications.
And finally, there’s Amy’s Story which is the only clip to feature a female lead. In this ad, a young woman from Ohio discusses the addiction she formed after having knee surgery. She explains that her cravings are now so severe that she has no problem driving her car headfirst into a dumpster.
All of these ads are expected to be in heavy rotation throughout the summer, broadcasting on TV networks and within digital channels like Facebook, Google, Amazon and YouTube. The goal, of course, is to create awareness and offer support, via website addresses and phone numbers tagged onto the back of the videos.
Not surprisingly, reaction has been mixed regarding the theme of the campaign. Some have supported it, applauding the “harsh realities” each scenario portrays. Others, however, believe the tone is too negative and feel that they are unsympathetic to those battling severe addictions.
“We don’t need shock value to fight the overdose crisis,” Harm Reduction Coalition deputy director Daniel Raymond told TheFix.com. “What we need is empathy, connection and hope for people struggling with opioids. The White House missed an opportunity to combat stigma and stereotypes, portraying people who use opioids as irrational and self-destructive.”
We made a point to include all four clips into this blog, so you can take a look and judge for yourself.