First National Ad Campaign on Overdose Crisis Highlighting Harm Reduction, Fights Stigma
(New York, USA) – Vital Strategies is proud to announce that its Support Harm Reduction campaign is a recipient of the 2nd annual Anthem Silver Award in the Health category. The Anthem Awards is the subset of the prestigious Webby Awards devoted to honoring social good and mission-driven initiatives by brands, agencies and nonprofits that are making our world a better place.
Launched in February 2022, the Support Harm Reduction campaign builds support for harm reduction as a lifesaving, common-sense strategy to reduce overdose and humanizes people who use drugs through moving testimonials. The campaign is in response to an overdose crisis that has spiraled to its worst levels ever in the United States and emphasizes moving from punishing people for drug use to a public health approach.
The campaign launched with a full-page print ad in The New York Times, featuring 200 people on the front lines of the overdose crisis working in harm reduction. Three video ads featuring overdose prevention advocates Acxel Barboza, Terrell Jones and Nicole Sage, whose lives were saved by harm reduction, aired 6,000 times in and around Washington, D.C. on a range of channels including CNN, BET, ESPN and on YouTube, Hulu and podcasts in Vital Strategies priority states New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, garnering 44 million impressions to date.
“This innovative ad campaign features people whose lives have been saved by harm reduction and offers concrete harm reduction interventions that can reduce overdose deaths,” said Tony Newman, Communication Director at Vital Strategies Overdose Prevention Program. “The Support Harm Reduction campaign is a rallying cry to demand that every community have access to these lifesaving interventions, and an homage to those already doing the work, who need the resources and support to save many more lives.”
The Support Harm Reduction Campaign was launched at a critical time. More than 107,000 people in the U.S. died of an overdose in 2021 alone, with rates of fatal overdose increasing most rapidly among Black and Indigenous communities. By reaching community leaders, policymakers, and people who have been touched personally by the overdose crisis, the campaign increases awareness about harm reduction measures, especially: fentanyl test strips and other drug checking tools; access to syringes and safer use supplies; naloxone in community hands to reverse overdoses; methadone and buprenorphine access; and overdose prevention centers.
A central component of the Support Harm Reduction campaign is the interactive online memorial honoring the lives of people who have died from a drug overdose. Inspired by the AIDS quilt, Vital Strategies is taking the online memorial on tour across some of the states hardest hit by the overdose epidemic, displayed on LCD installations. The first overdose memorial event was at the Newark Public Library on August 31 last year, International Overdose Awareness Day. The overdose memorial was also featured at the National Harm Reduction Conference in Puerto Rico last October.
“The AIDS quilt helped turn grief into demand for change, challenging 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.”
All Anthem award winners and honorees were announced on February 15th during a virtual ceremony and celebration. As part of the Anthem Awards, winners were asked to record a one-sentence, Call to Action Speech that elevates the mission of their work. In honor of Vital Strategies receiving this award, Dr. Heller said “End Overdose. Support Harm Reduction.”
For more information about the Support Harm Reduction campaign, visit: https://www.supportharmreduction.org/
About Vital Strategies
Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our overdose prevention program works to strengthen and scale up evidence-based, data-driven policies and interventions to create equitable and sustainable reductions in overdose deaths. Work across seven U.S. States is supported by funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018, and by targeted investments from other partners.
Learn more at https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/overdose-prevention/
Tony Newman: email@example.com; 646-335-5384
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