Cactus Launches Statewide Effort in Colorado for Opioid-Antidote Naloxone

Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is a nasal spray that can revive someone who has overdosed on heroin, OxyContin, fentanyl or another opioid. A generic spray will be available to consumers by the end of 2019. The spray, which blocks the effects of these drugs, can be bought in 4 oz. doses at pharmacies and does not require a prescription. Naloxone costs $140 at full retail, but 93% of insurance companies cover it, according to Robert Valuck, a pharmacy professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and executive director of the Consortium, which is the state’s anti-opioid task force. More than 500 pharmacies in the state claim to stock it, and any can order it.

The billboards are extremely straightforward. The headline simply states that most opioid overdoses happen at home. The payoff is “Naloxone stops an overdose and saves lives” and

The objective is simply to inform the public about this new drug available now, so we'll let the execution slide. Different door colours do not a varied campaign make, really, but in this case, the doors are there to be the colour that makes people read the line. The doors also serve another purpose, they are the kind of doors you'd find behind white pickets fences and manicured laws, telling the reader that opioid addiction can happen anywhere. It can be friends, neighbours, family members in need. Overdosing deaths are a preventable outcome.

“People have a tendency to think that overdoses happen to the homeless or other people they don’t know,” said Norm Shearer, Partner and CCO at Cactus. “But in actuality, most of the people accidentally dying from opioids are those who are taking prescription drugs in their homes. We want them to know there is a spray that can literally bring someone back from the dead.”

In 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a standing order that allows pharmacies and harm-reduction organizations to dispense the drug to anyone. Still, confusion about the life-saving drug abounds: In 2018, 543 Coloradans were known to have died of drug overdoses linked to prescription opioids or heroin.

Advertising Agency: Cactus, Denver, CO (USA)

Brand/Client: Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

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