Drug overdose prevention is a topic that must be handled with care — and creativity. Our work for HIDTA makes an impact using both.
As a B Corp, we’re naturally focused on the wellbeing of our community. When we have the opportunity to share messages that can make a difference and benefit others, we don’t take it lightly. Our work for the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program is one of these examples, designed to educate young people about the risks associated with drug use and the reality of overdose.
Since conversations around drug risks and overdose prevention aren’t new, we find it especially important to present the subject in ways that feel authentic and truly resonate with young audiences. To accomplish this, we created a campaign around fake pills with ads and a landing page — using language that’s factual and to the point, with colorful and engaging graphics that capture attention.
Learning the discouraging statistics on overdose deaths is one formidable component of drug risk education. The fact that these have increased by 26% among 15- to 24-year-olds in Minnesota between 2019 and 2020 is certainly alarming.
To help the affected population further interpret what drug risks mean in their personal lives, we introduced the concept of “franken-pills” using striking visuals to explain the prevalence of counterfeit drugs. Frankenstein pills aren’t prescribed, and can contain a potentially deadly mixture of fillers, opioids and fentanyl. It’s nearly impossible to detect what’s inside these counterfeit drugs, even by the person distributing them.
Rather than speaking from a distant voice of authority, our work aims to raise important topics that our audience may not be aware of by using basic facts. One of our graphics portrays the surprising power of fentanyl by depicting its small size in comparison to a pencil tip. Another graphic we created states: “Mixing drugs is never safe,” to quickly convey that the risks of combining substances are palpable, and the outcome will always be uncertain when combining drugs. The imagery’s comic-like design captures attention and resembles the content our target audience might already see in their personal social media feeds.
With a responsibility as important as drug prevention education, it’s essential to get to the point without relying on fluff that could distract from or soften the message, and to send messages that share common ground with those we’re speaking to. And the simplicity of the copy, accompanied with bold visual design is powerful — and impactful.
Since this campaign’s launch in early February, the ads have had more than 24,500 clicks, and more than 3,900,000 views. With this level of engagement, the content we created is certainly making a difference by educating impressionable viewers — and maybe even saving lives. That’s the power of content that blends creativity with care.