The LISTEN Campaign Tackles America’s Drug Addiction Crisis

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Where you aware that one in seven Americans will experience a problem with alcohol or other drug misuse in their lifetimes? Or that 78 people die daily from an overdose and that only 10% of those with addictions ever receive any sort of help towards recovery? Well, all this and more was revealed in the US Surgeon General’s ground breaking report last year, which put a giant spotlight on America’s addiction problem, calling for an urgent cultural shift in the way the country addresses this matter. Taking action, The Ad Council and Viacom have launched the LISTEN campaign and a new PSA to address America’s substance abuse crisis. 

Viacom has a long history of building social campaigns. Its current action is the most comprehensive push by a company to date to call attention to addiction and its impact on loved ones. The television company decided to poll its viewers on this issue and conducted an online survey of 1300+ Viacom fans aged 13-54 to better understand their experience, thoughts and perceptions of drug and alcohol addiction. The results uncovered were troubling, as 76% surveyed knew someone who has received treatment for and/or is in recovery from addiction.

Disturbingly, the survey also showed one in three US households are dealing with addiction and that there are more youth fatalities than car accidents and homicides combined, making drugs and alcohol the leading cause of death for those under 30. The research also exposed that 89% of respondents believe there should be organisations dedicated to ending addiction, yet only 16% were aware that these types of bodies do exist, and 81% would help someone if they had more information on what they could do to help. Taking action to help turn things around, Viacom recruited top experts, world-renowned doctors and not-for-profits, like Facing Addiction, to help address the urgent need for resources to determine the best ways to use their audience to make a difference on this issue.

Now the LISTEN campaign wants to actively reframe America’s understanding of addiction to drive awareness, build empathy and generate solutions. LISTEN will do this by creating a much-needed national dialogue around addiction breaking down the shame and stigma associated with it. This will help to drive awareness about resources and help. Yet, one of the campaign’s most important messages is the one of hope, where celebration and success can be found in recovery.

We know addiction brings violent crimes, is highly prevalent in jails and in many instances, plays a role in why people are serving sentence. It seems that till now America has turned a mostly blind eye to its rising addiction problem. The new President-elect has the opportunity to tackle things; it seems that Mr. Trump recognises the importance of encouraging recovery and having access to treatment. He says he will speed approval and increase access to “abuse-deterring drugs,” and encourage more doctors to use medication-assisted treatment, a tool that some people in the recovery community believe has been widely under-used. Time will tell…

Photo Credit: Viacom, Facing Addiction, Ad Council