A third of the people who are taking prescription painkillers like OxyContin don’t even realize that they are taking highly addictive opioids, a contributing factor to the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic.
But a new public awareness campaign launched by the nonprofit health organization National Safety Council, Energy BBDO, and a production and entertainment company called “m ss ng p eces” aims to give the public a better understanding of the dangers of opioid addiction. The campaign, titled “Stop Everyday Killers,” features a memorial wall covered in 22,000 pills – representing the number of people who died last year from opioid overdose. Mechanically carved on each pill is a face.
The memorial of mini-face sculptures is part of a roving exhibit that was unveiled in Chicago last month. In the months to come, the exhibit will travel to other cities including Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Every 24 minutes, a routing machine carves another face into a pill, representing the rate at which opioids take another life.
The exhibit also includes films featuring stories of families who have lost loved ones to powerful prescription painkillers. The message that resonates is that people often trust that the medication they are prescribed won’t harm them because it is designed to make them feel better. They don’t realize how addictive prescription painkillers can be.
As part of the effort, the campaign is also handing out free “Warn Me” labels that people can put on their insurance or prescription cards asking health care providers to discuss the risks of opioids before prescribing them. The National Safety Council will also accept unwanted medications, free of charge.