NEW YORK — A giant billboard in Times Square will feature images of a man trapped in a prescription pill bottle, part of a new campaign to warn people about opioid dependence.
The digital billboard, created by Concepts Video Productions, pulls out from a closeup of the man in the bottle to issue a warning: “In just 5 days, opioid dependency can begin.”
There’s also a second ad featuring a woman trapped in the plastic, brown container.
The message comes from Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, and it’s positioned on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, where Garden State commuters going to the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Lincoln Tunnel can clearly see it.
The Centers for Disease Control reported that drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 people in the United States in 2017, a new record driven by the deadly opioid crisis.
It’s expected the numbers for 2018 will exceed that figure, when it is calculated.
New Jersey has been hit very hard by the opioid epidemic.
In 2018, its death toll from drugs set a record for the fourth year in a row — with a large percentage blamed on heroin or fentanyl overdoses.
Recent research has found that nearly 80 percent of people who use heroin had reported using prescription opioids prior to using heroin.
“Each year, we select a pro-bono project that will impact the world,” said Collette Liantonio, creative director of Concepts Video, which is based out of Towaco, New Jersey.
“The opioid epidemic and drug abuse have impacted America in a profound way.”
The company’s Executive Vice President, Jon Calderaro, said, “We hope this highly visible effort will make an important difference in the fight against opioid and drug abuse.”
The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey knows how important placement of the digital billboard is.
“This message illustrates just how quickly a person can become dependent on opioids,” Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “It is crucial that everyone become aware of the dangers of prescription opioids and that they be armed with this knowledge prior to being prescribed opioids for pain. Talk to your prescriber about these risks and ask about alternatives to opioids.”