The Ad Council, in the latest phase of its coordinated public awareness effort tackling the overdose crisis facing America, today announced a parent-focused campaign in partnership with Meta. Emphasizing the prevalence and dangers of fentanyl, the campaign, Drop the F*Bomb, mobilizes and equips parents and caregivers to initiate candid discussions with their teen and young adult children about the drug.
Drug overdose-related deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, with 2021 seeing a 52 percent increase over the period two years prior. The rise in deaths is largely due to the growing presence of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, which were involved in an estimated 66% of overdose deaths during this period.1 Illegally manufactured fentanyl often appears as a contaminant in illicit powdered drugs and is being used to create counterfeit prescription pills. While 80% of Gen Z aged young people (13-24) say stress and anxiety are common reasons to misuse prescription medicine, 52% report they hadn’t heard of the risk of fentanyl being added to counterfeit pills.2
In the first half of 2021, fentanyl was identified in 77% of adolescent overdose deaths, compared with 13% for benzodiazepines, 9% for methamphetamine, 7 % for cocaine, 5% for prescription opioids, and 2% for heroin. In many instances when young people have come into contact with fentanyl, they were not intentionally seeking the drug and often encounter the substance accidentally.
“Fentanyl is incredibly dangerous, it’s increasingly present in the counterfeit and illicit drug supply, and it continues to present a deadly risk to teens and young adults across our country,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “This is a crisis that unfortunately impacts us every day, in every community. Informed parents have the ability to play a significant role in keeping our kids safe and it’s our aim through this campaign to ensure they have the tools needed to have honest and effective conversations with their children about fentanyl.”
Many people, including parents of teens and young adults, are unaware of the substance’s increased presence and that it is often being laced within other drugs or made into counterfeit pills. Drop the F*Bomb aims to ensure parents and caregivers are accurately informed about fentanyl and its risks, so they understand the issue and the urgency of having a potentially life-saving conversation with their kids.
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“Meta is proud to have led in the creative development of this campaign while using our platform as a vital tool to support parents and caregivers as they have lifesaving conversations with their kids on the dangers of fentanyl. We have seen that Meta’s products can complement the work of experts on prevention, education and addiction support and will continue to support community groups and experts who lead on this important work,” said Lindsay Elin, VP of Public Policy.
Parents today are facing a multitude of challenges when it comes to raising teens today, and know their children are also feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the pressures of growing up, but parents can be reluctant to engage in discussions about substance use with their teen and young adult children. They may also lack the information needed to understand the risk fentanyl poses or may not feel that the matter applies to their family. Drop the F*Bomb works to overcome both of these barriers by highlighting the dangers of fentanyl and helping parents understand why the issue is relevant to their families. The work encourages parents to have these conversations even if they don’t suspect their children would engage in substance use. The creative campaign includes video assets, featuring creators who take on the challenge of “dropping the F*Bomb” with their children, as well as supplementary tools like polls, an interactive A/R filter and an on-platform content hub, designed to educate and engage parents around the issue. In addition, the campaign also includes a digital destination, DropTheFBomb.com, that provides parents with the facts on fentanyl and tips for starting the conversation with their children.
Additional efforts from the Ad Council’s holistic approach to the overdose crisis include a recently launched youth-focused campaign funded by Snap and YouTube to educate young adults about fentanyl (Real Deal on Fentanyl) and a forthcoming effort to help individuals with substance use disorders navigate treatment resources and start their recovery journey.
To learn more about the Drop The F*Bomb campaign, or to access information about the dangers of fentanyl, please visit DropTheFBomb.com.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts – United States. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm
2 Song for Charlie: Youth Fentanyl Survey – Fall 2022. Available at: https://www.songforcharlie.org/post/song-for-charlie-youth-fentanyl-survey-fall-2022