WH Launches Ad Campaign Aimed at Combating Opioid Abuse Among Young Adults

By Melanie Arter | June 7, 2018 | 3:44 PM EDT


(CNSNews.com) - The White House on Thursday unveiled the first set of ads aimed at combating opioid addiction, also known as “the crisis next door,” among young adults aged 18 to 24 years old.

The ads were created by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) along with the Ad Council, and the Truth Initiative.

“The Ad Council has a 75-year history of effective and iconic public awareness campaigns, and the Truth Initiative has a proven track record of changing youth health behaviors,” the White House said in a statement.

“The first four ads, which are based on real life, tell the graphic stories of four young adults going to extreme lengths to maintain their prescription opioid addiction. These ads show young adults how quickly opioid addiction can occur, and the extreme lengths to which some go to continue use of drugs while in the grips of addiction. This will be the first of many ad campaigns from this Administration targeted to different audiences and varying aspects of the opioid crisis,” the White House said.


One ad featured a young woman revealing that she intentionally crashed her car to get more opioids. In another ad, a man confessed to breaking his own arm to get another prescription for opioids.


The ad campaign itself will be paid for by the ONDCP. ONDCP Deputy Director Jim Carroll said “very few government dollars had to be spent” on the ad campaign. He praised the Ad Council and the Truth Initiative for getting the messaging out.

“It was very critical for the president to get the message out there, and he has been able to sort of help along the way to make sure that we get the message out in the most effective way possible and also very efficiently,” Carroll said during a teleconference call with reporters.

When asked whether any of the money for the campaign is coming from the $10 million appropriated in the omnibus spending bill, Carroll said, “This campaign has not needed those funds. Obviously, those funds are important to the administration to be used, and it certainly will be part of our ongoing efforts. This one was strictly funded by ONDCP, but as I said, it's really thanks to the great efforts of the Truth Initiative and the Ad Council.”

“I will first say that all of the media that we're securing, which will be significant, has been donated by all of our media and tech partners, and ONDCP has funded a very small amount of money to support some of the other hard costs of the campaign,” Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, told reporters.

“Along with all of the donation of media from our great media partners, as Lisa said, we are donating all of the work that it has taken to produce, to create it, and we'll continue to do that, as well as what will be a pretty rigorous evaluation -- not only the evaluation and research that went into developing the work, but also the post-evaluation that we need to make sure that this work is actually having the impact we want it to,” said Robin Koval, president and CEO of the Truth Initiative.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, in November of last year, Trump donated his fourth quarter salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to combat opioid abuse.

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway said, “I’ve not heard of a penny of that is going to this particular effort.”

“I would refer that question also to HHS, but no one around this table has heard that is the purpose for that particular money,” Sanders said in a response to a reporter’s question on whether the $100,000 will be used to pay for the ads.


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