Every year during the Super Bowl, dozens of companies pay approximately $5 million to get a 30 second commercial spot during the big game. A majority of the commercials are humorous and geared towards food, beer, cars and anything else that can hold viewers’ attention during the breaks. This year there were a couple of advertisements done in regards to not just prescription drugs, but also addiction.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York used the advertisement importance of Super Bowl Sunday to make a PSA on an important and very relevant issue – addiction. This really is not surprising since over the past couple months addiction has been making an emergence out into the public eye. The commercial is called “Faces of Addiction/Faces of Hope” and aims at reducing the stigma behind addictions. In half a minute you are presented with numerous people of different backgrounds that have all struggled with a substance of some sort. The ad then transitions from showing those who struggle to those who overcome. This ad shows the lighter side of addiction as well, that no matter what there is hope. While the commercial may be primarily directed towards New Yorkers, it can relate to anyone who has, currently is, or knows someone that is struggling with an addiction.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was also an ad during Super Bowl Sunday that reminded us how readily available opioid medications can be if needed. During the second quarter of the game, an ad was run by two pharmaceutical companies, Daiichi-Sankyo and AstraZeneca, in an attempt to raise awareness of Opioid-Induced Constipation. Which yes, it may have been successful at, but it was also successful in raising a number of concerns to political officials and others aware of the current opioid epidemic. The White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, made the statement “Next year, how about fewer ads that fuel opioid addiction and more on access to treatment.” Others voiced their opinions as well, such as Dr. Andrew Kolodny, noting that these medical ads that casually promote opioids as a valuable option for long-term chronic pain almost endorse prescription painkiller addiction. This advertisement can almost be taken as a sort of justification for some. The implication is given that it is okay to rely on opioid painkillers, making it a part of the norm. Meanwhile, political officials are on the other side, reiterating how these sort of reliances can and often do lead to addiction.