NEW YORK, Feb. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ad Council, the largest producer of public service campaigns in the U.S., in partnership with Viacom, home to premier global brands in media and entertainment, and non-profit leader Facing Addiction today launched the PSA campaign "LISTEN" to ignite a national conversation about drug and alcohol addiction as a public health epidemic, and empower those impacted by substance use disorders.
Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/8029751-ad-council-listen-psa-addiction-drug-alcohol-substance-abuse
While past PSA campaigns have traditionally focused on the perspective of those at risk, urging them to eliminate all substance use, "LISTEN" addresses the support system of people who are also affected by this crisis. Using powerful stories that portray the modern faces of addiction and recovery, the campaign looks to remove the stigma attached to substance misuse through the act of informed, compassionate listening. The campaign's website, heretolisten.com, and Facing Addiction's Resource Hub provides important tools and information to help people start a productive conversation with their friends and loved ones and to support the more than 45 million Americans directly impacted by addiction.
"The urge to help friends and family suffering from a substance use disorder is intuitive – unfortunately, how to do so isn't. That is precisely why this campaign is so necessary," said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. "With this compelling new approach to addressing the stigma of addiction, including the Resource Hub being launched by Facing Addiction and its partners, we hope the millions of people who are struggling will get the help they need."
"While most Americans know someone who has been hurt by the consequences of addiction, the shame associated with it remains a huge barrier to progress," said Ali Jannello Tuck, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Viacom. "LISTEN aims to break us free of our long-held misconceptions about substance abuse, give people hope for recovery, and encourage the public to reexamine how we should combat this crisis."
"The Ad Council, Viacom and the Surgeon General are taking unprecedented action to address what has become a leading cause of death for young people in America," said Jim Hood, Co-Founder and CEO of Facing Addiction, who lost his own son to an overdose four years ago. "As Facing Addiction works to bring together the best resources to save lives and support the 45 million Americans directly impacted by addiction, we realize that turning the tide on this crisis requires bold, new action. Old strategies have not worked and will not work against this urgent health and human rights crisis. We are confident the Addiction Resource Hub, developed with our partner Transforming Youth Recovery, will quickly become a trusted place people can turn to for comprehensive, objective, not-for-profit, addiction help and solutions."
Overdoses are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 35 – a rate that has increased significantly in recent years and nearly 21 million Americans are affected by substance use disorders – more than the number of people diagnosed with cancer. However, only 1 in 10 people suffering ever receives any type of treatment.
"LISTEN" – developed and produced by Viacom Velocity, the company's in-house creative content agency – follows the November release of the first-ever U.S. Surgeon General report on alcohol, drugs, and health, which discusses the science of addiction, and calls for a "cultural shift" in the way Americans address this issue: as a public health crisis, not a moral failing.
To coincide with the report, Viacom aired across its television networks Listen: Facing Addiction in America, a 30-minute commercial-free special featuring live discussion with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, celebrities and advocates.
The Ad Council will distribute the PSAs to media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council's model, the PSAs will run in time and space donated by the media. "LISTEN" will also run across Viacom's networks.
For more information, please visit: www.heretolisten.com.
About Ad Council
The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization with a rich history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver crucial messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit AdCouncil.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or view our PSAs on YouTube.
Viacom is home to premier global media brands that create compelling television programs, motion pictures, short-form content, apps, games, consumer products, social media experiences, and other entertainment content for audiences in more than 180 countries. Viacom's media networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike, BET, CMT, TV Land, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., Logo, Nicktoons, TeenNick, Channel 5 (UK), Telefe (Argentina) and Paramount Channel, reach over 3.9 billion cumulative television subscribers worldwide. Paramount Pictures is a major global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment. For more information about Viacom and its businesses, visit www.viacom.com. Keep up with Viacom news by following Viacom's blog at blog.viacom.com and Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/viacom.
About Facing Addiction
Facing Addiction is a national non-profit organization dedicated to unifying the voice of the more than 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction. Facing Addiction is bringing together the best resources in the field in order to reduce the human and social costs of addiction, every year, until this public health crisis is eliminated. The organization was launched in historic fashion on October 4th, 2015, in front of tens of thousands on the National Mall at the UNITE to Face Addiction, and recently was co-sponsor for the launch of the U.S. Surgeon General's seminal report on the addiction crisis in America. The Addiction Resource Hub was developed in conjunction with Transforming Youth Recovery, and is powered by the Capacitype technology.
For more information, please visit www.facingaddiction.org.
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SOURCE Ad Council