Largest-Ever Harm Reduction Ad Campaign to Run in Conjunction with Memorial to Generate Support for Solutions to Growing Overdose Crisis, Including Full-Page New York Times Ad and TV Spots
(New York, NY, February 14, 2022) – A new, interactive, online memorial was launched today by the public health organization Vital Strategies to honor those who have lost their lives to a drug overdose—more than one million in the past two decades in the U.S.—far surpassing car crashes and firearm fatalities combined. Inspired by the AIDS quilt, the digital mosaic allows anyone to commemorate a loved one lost to overdose, and calls for urgent action in their name.
The memorial’s launch is accompanied by the largest-ever national advertising campaign promoting harm reduction to raise awareness about common-sense ways to save lives, such as distributing the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to people who use drugs and their loved ones. Following the national launch, Vital Strategies will share the campaign in some of the states hardest-hit by the overdose crisis, including using technology that will allow the memorial to be projected onto buildings.
“The AIDS quilt turned grief into demand for change, forcing the country to confront the mounting HIV/AIDS epidemic with the urgency it required. With overdose deaths topping 100,000 a year, we are beyond the moment of reckoning with our failure to address drug use as a health issue,” said Dr. Daliah Heller, Vice President of Drug Use Initiatives at Vital Strategies. “We hope the overdose memorial offers an opportunity for those touched by this tragedy to share their stories and join in the call to support the public health solution to the overdose crisis: harm reduction.”
The campaign is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of their initiative to tackle the overdose epidemic in the United States.
“At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we believe in promoting evidence-based interventions to ensure longer, better lives for the greatest number of people—harm reduction does just that,” said Dr. Kelly Henning, who leads the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The rising number of overdose deaths is devastating communities around the U.S. so it’s urgent that public health solutions such as harm reduction interventions are widely supported and implemented. Too often underfunded, such community-led, evidence-driven interventions like naloxone distribution and syringe service programs are critical and must receive increased support to help save lives.”
Every 5-and-a-half minutes someone dies from a drug overdose in the U.S. More than 100,000 people died in the past year alone—the highest number on record. Many of these tragedies could have been prevented if harm reduction measures were in place and at scale. Although the Biden Administration began funding harm reduction last year, most federal- and state-directed overdose prevention efforts do not focus on these proven, life-saving measures.
The goal of this public awareness initiative is to build support for harm reduction measures such as: fentanyl test strips and other drug checking tools so that people can test for harmful additives in drugs; sterile syringes and other safer drug use supplies to stop the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C; naloxone in community hands to reverse fatal overdoses; methadone and buprenorphine access for those struggling with opioid dependence; and overdose prevention centers, such as those recently opened in New York.
TO CONTINUE: https://www.vitalstrategies.org/largest-ever-harm-reduction-ad-campaign-to-run-in-conjunction-with-memorial-to-generate-support-for-solutions-to-growing-crisis-including-full-page-new-york-times-ad-and-tv-spots/?fbclid=IwAR1HLUEoN23-qyz0hIogsa8Qkzn1ZZbK-GPgUNBMnlO2exw_B85RQI9qIYc