HEROIN IS SPEAKING TO YOUR KIDS, SHOULDN’T YOU?
I vote. I buy responsible products. I buy gas at the right stations, unless I am on empty. But I never truly believed that one person could make a difference. But now I know that one person who acts, and who asks for help, can enact change.
A young friend of mine says that her generation is being called the Heroin Generation. This is a drug that has been around forever, and no doubt it always will be. But when I was growing up it was known as the one drug you simply did not do. It was the big bad boogie man of drugs. I live in a medium-sized town. This will sound prejudice, and it is, but I thought that heroin was a drug that people who live in the inner-city use, or the 50-year-old musician in New Orleans uses. I did not see it as a drug being used in our high schools all across the nations.
But it is. And believe me, all the kids know it.
I realized that if I as a parent was unaware of heroin’s new prevalence, then a lot of other parents also are unaware. If you don’t know what to ask your kids, you won’t be able to help. I really wanted to do something about this problem. I work in media and because of my length of time in the industry, I have friends at all of the local media outlets. So I knew that I wanted to run a Public Service Campaign – I wanted to develop and produce radio, TV, billboard and print messages. Easy enough for me, but here comes the problem. All this takes money.
I spent the next year coming up with a way to get my message going. Eventually, and after a lot of dead ends, I found my way to Join Together Northern Nevada, an anti-substance abuse coalition. I joined the board, and it took about another year before I was able to move forward. But when I got the green light, oh how bright it was. It is amazing how many people were willing to help! We raised some money and JTNN gave us some grant funds and we were indeed able to make our Public Service Announcements.
I met with people who were willing to tell their own stories on air:
- Ginger and Craig Paulsen whose daughter Sabrina died of a drug overdose;
- Reno Mayer Bob Cashell and his son Pat. Pat was an addict for 10 years;
- Tammy Rieken whose son was shooting heroin in their home and she did not even know it;
- Recording artist Grant Davis, a teenager, whose sister was an addict.
We have had thousands of dollars worth of media exposure. As a result, heroin is no longer a dirty little secret in our community. Many, many people have reached out to JTNN for help, and received it. As a result of the media campaign, I know that lives have been saved.
We now have a weekly free parent group, and the campaign continues to talk about all forms of substance abuse. We have commercials on heroin, underage drinking, Spice, K2, bath salts, marijuana. If you would like to use any of these commercials in your town, let me know and we’ll get them to you.
One of the really fun things that has come out of the campaign is the annual MuHa – Musicians Healing Addictions, an annual musical event to raise awareness and funds for substance abuse. If you would like a to have a MuHa in your town, write me, and I’ll help get you started.
Our heroin commercials won a Silver Addy Award and a 1st place award with the American Marketing Association.
I am proud to say that I am the winner of the American Advertising Federation’s Community Contribution of the Year Award for 2012. It was 2009 when I first started thinking about a heroin awareness campaign. What’s important to me about this award is that it is a reminder that one person can make a difference.
If there is something you want to help change. Be the voice. Ask for help. It will happen.
If you would like to run our commercials in your city, or would like some help, please email me.