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Super Bowl Ads: Anti-Drug Commercial May Trigger Cravings

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SUPER-BOWL-ANTI-DRUG-AD_TWSThe anti-drug commercial that ran during Super Bowl XLIX has created some unnerving buzz.  Instead of portraying a message of drug awareness and preventative measures against using heroin, it might actually do the opposite.  This ad easily could ignite cravings for an addict while also glamorizing drug use, instead of showing the dangers of substance abuse.

Super Bowl Ads Drug Awareness Commercial Controversy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdoses are a leading cause of death in the nation. This is why the ad showed a young boy overdosing on heroin as a prevention attempt.  The problem with this video is that before he overdoses, the young boy appears to have reached that perfect high with the drugs right by his side. For those who have engaged in drug use, this feeling is often chased and desperately needed. The images and sounds alone can help create a fantasy for someone who is either in active addiction or someone who is trying to get sober.

The other intent of the video during the super bowl ads was to get the public to stop delineating addicts as people who sought out their disease, and that it does not discriminate based on age, gender, or race.  This is a core concept because society tends to have the misconception that addiction is a disease of choice.  “I think we’re still stuck in an old mindset of, ‘You did it to yourself,’” explains Dan Duncan, Executive Director of the anti-drug super bowl ads. “That’s not the right response to a public health issue. We’re trying to generate more reactions to what we’re experiencing as a community.”  Duncan seems to have a stance where he views substance use disorders, like addiction, as a health crisis instead of a moral dilemma.  The video could have been far more compelling if it could have conveyed that type of message.

There is not real solution

At the end of the commercial the mother holds her son as he appears to die from the overdose. There was no call to action like where to get help, how to help prevent your child from abusing drugs, or even what to do if this did happen. Do most Americans know that there is treatment for the disease of addiction? That you don’t have to wait for an overdose to get help and that you can prevent future drug abuse by treating the disease? The fact that the ad is only used as a message of prevention, rather than a message of prevention and treatment combined, shows that the disease of addiction is still very misunderstood. If a person is an addict, they have no choice if they pick up or not. This commercial may not help prevent someone from using, it may only make it worse. We need a real solution, and that solution is getting help and getting treatment.

Are you suffering from drug abuse cravings and need help?  Contact The Watershed at 1-800-861-1768 today. We can help you recover.

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