It’s a Disease
For the Partnership for a Drug Free America, Serve conducted focus groups with addicts, support groups and families that had been affected by drug addiction. That research led to Serve dramatically repositioning drug addiction as a disease no different than heart disease or cancer. It also led them to focus their efforts on inspiring family and friends of people suffering from addiction to intervene on their behalf. The core message being that if we treated addicts, not as bad people who deserve to be cast out, but as sick people who need treatment, people would seek help sooner, which gives them a better chance at recovery. To do that, Serve created a hard-hitting, multi-media campaign (TV, outdoor, print and radio) depicting drug addicts lamenting to camera on how they would be better off if they had aids or heart disease or cancer, because then their drug addiction would be treated like the disease it is.
The campaign, which was tested in Houston and Cincinnati showed staggering results. In the first year of the effort, calls to the 24-hour help line increased an average of 39 percent per month and more than 228,000 people visited the website InteveneNow.org.