Viacom, Surgeon General Launch Campaign for Addiction Awareness

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Viacom, Surgeon General Launch Campaign for Addiction Awareness

Viacom, the media giant that owns several networks, including Comedy Central, MTV, and VH1, has launched a multimedia campaign intended to promote addiction awareness and compassion for people battling the disease.

Viacom has also collaborated with the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and his campaign, Facing Addiction. According to the website, the non-profit organization is “dedicated to finding solutions to the addiction crisis by unifying the voice of the over 45 million Americans and their families directly impacted by addiction.”

The new Internet platform LISTEN aims to increase addiction awareness and permits people dealing with substance abuse to trade personal stories. The website states:

Most of us know someone who’s struggling with addiction. We also know that substance abuse is hard to talk about.

But it becomes much easier if we’re willing to listen. With compassionate listening, we eliminate shame and stigma, we begin the healing process and we start together on the path toward a better place.

Ali Tuck, Viacom:

“MTV was one of the first to talk about HIV/AIDS. We worked on a campaign with schools called Get Schooled to raise attendance rates, and we did a campaign to tackle the stigma of domestic abuse.”

The media company now intends to address the addiction epidemic. Tuck stated that about 76% of Viacom viewers had encountered addiction, and that one in three households were somehow affected.

Viacom collected personal recordings of those who have battled addiction and uploaded them to the website. The site permits visitors to hear stories of addiction and also find treatment resources.

Tuck:

“We want to spread hope. There is life after recovery, life after treatment. We created the website, which provides the resources.”

“We want to relaunch the website with a more community feel. It’s really an awareness campaign.”

It is important to note, however, that the campaign is not meant as a substitute for treatment. It is a means to empower people to seek and engage in addiction recovery.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology

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