Overdose Lifeline Simulates the Brutal Effects of Addiction in Harrowing Film

Creative 209 0 Add this
VB+P senior copywriter Jake Reilly conducts experiment aimed at uncovering the real story of addiction and recovery
Overdose Lifeline Simulates the Brutal Effects of Addiction in Harrowing Film

Overdose Lifeline (ODL), a nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities affected by the disease of addiction and substance use disorder and leading creative advertising agency, Venables Bell & Partners, have announced today the launch of #ChooseEmpathy. This new movement aims to create a greater understanding of the truths around addiction as well as to remove the social stigmas that surround those affected by the disease.

The #ChooseEmpathy movement will launch with a compelling online video, and include grassroots efforts to educate communities and youth on addiction and substance use disorder. Additional communication efforts will aim to lessen stigmas and common misperceptions around addiction and recovery, promote positive cultural change, and, ultimately, help those on their roads to healing.


“There are dangerous misconceptions about the disease of addiction, and the more than 20 million Americans affected by it.” said Justin Phillips, founder and executive director at Overdose Lifeline. “We all have the power to help and support those in active addiction and recovery by fostering greater understanding and simply using non-stigmatising words to represent addiction. #ChooseEmpathy is an inspiring initiative that asks the media and general public to lessen the challenges of addiction for those affected and ease their journey towards recovery. We at Overdose Lifeline are proud to lead this charge with VBP’s support, and encourage everyone to join the #ChooseEmpathy movement.”

A core component of this effort is a three-minute video created by VB&P senior copywriter Jake Reilly, who set out to better understand addiction and the hurdles that the over 20 million people in the US currently affected by substance use disorder and addiction must overcome. With the input and collaboration of close friends who are affected by addiction, others in recovery, addiction doctors and specialists, directors of rehab facilities, case workers at methadone clinics, and the support of VB&P, Heist Productions, and dozens of others who volunteered their time, Jake created an experiment aimed at uncovering the real story of addiction and the real challenges of recovery. Jake worked to pinpoint the most common physical feelings associated with opioid withdrawal, and created a video which highlighted his own simulation of 12 brutal symptoms. Dialogue in the video was taken directly from Jake’s conversations with his friends, and was reenacted by Jake and an actor. Simulations were recorded over the course of 48 hours in a studio in San Francisco with expert medical, fire, and insect supervision.

“Throughout my life, I have watched friends experiment with prescription pain pills, and subsequently become addicted to prescription opioids and/or heroin. Many of these friends are still in active addiction and substance use,” said Jake Reilly. “Over the years, I found myself wondering why my friends couldn’t just ‘kick the habit’. Now I know how naive this train of thought was. After spending a year researching addiction and the brain-chemistry-altering effects of opioids, I realised that most of us don’t have the faintest idea of what those affected by this disease are actually going through. What my friends, and so many like them, are dealing with is completely out of their control. This experiment was designed to encourage a greater understanding of their experience as well as to serve as an educational tool that can inspire people to #ChooseEmpathy when approaching those affected by substance use disorder.”

In honour of National Recovery Month this September, Overdose Lifeline is asking individuals and the media to commit to more carefully choosing their words when describing addiction and those affected by substance use disorder. Stigmatising language - which emphasizes the person, not the disease - can be a barrier to individuals seeking treatment, and can even prejudice medical professionals.

Such language shifts include avoiding terms that place blame, imply judgement, or sensationalize the disease, and, instead, embracing language that more accurately describes the person’s experiences. For example, we must avoid terms like “abuser,” “user,” “addict,” “junkie,” or “druggie,” and instead opt for language that describes a person with “substance use disorder,” and refers to the disease as such. These suggested language shifts and others are outlined for the media in the AP’s stylebook, and will also be promoted to the broader public in a social media campaign developed by VB&P & ODL.

Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Client

Client Name: Overdose Lifeline

Spot Name(s): Choose Empathy

Air Dates: 9/16/19

Agency

Agency: Venables Bell & Partners

Founder, Chairman: Paul Venables

Partner, Executive Creative Director: Will McGuinness

Senior Copywriter: Jake Reilly

Executive Producer: Amy Gatzert

Producer: Emily Tarran

Director of Campaign Architecture: Gavin Jones

Director of Strategy: Mike Ronkoske

Social & Content Strategy: John Principe

Web Design: Aisha Hakim

Production Company

Production Company: Heist

Director: Jake Reilly

DP: Donavan Sell

Executive Producer: Jordan deBree

Senior Producer: Kristen Jenkins

1st AD: Michael MacDonald

Camera Op: Ed Ng

1st AC: Annie Li

2nd AC: Garet Jatsek

Gaffer: Andy Haney

Boom Op: Anton Herbert

Wardrobe: Laura Tesone

Production Designer: Jackie Scott

Stunt Coordinator: Durand Garcia

Production Coordinator: Georgia Peppe

Set Medic: Mike Muldoon

PA: Ian Wishart

PA: Gabe deCuba

Studio 23: Tommy Maples

Creative Consigliere: Nico Gigilio

Post Production

Editing Company: Lumberyard

Director of Integrated Content Studios: Raquel Bedard

Senior Editor: Naomi Goodman

Assistant Editor: Jason Bridges

Senior Motion Graphics Designer: Daniel Sanchez

Post Producer: Chelsea Bassler

Sound

Sound Design/Final Mix: One Union

Lead Sound Designer/Mix Engineer: Joaby Deal

Color: CO3 LA

Colorist: Stefan Sonnenfeld

Color Producer: Gabriel Wakeman

Genres: People

Venables Bell + Partners, 6 months ago