Overdose prevention marketing campaign criticized for advocating additional drug use: ‘Do it with buddies’

A New York-based group with a selected give attention to drug abuse and overdose consciousness in one of the vital populous cities in California is dealing with pushback for considered one of its campaigns that encourages customers to proceed utilizing medicine in ways in which may benefit their private well being.

Self-described as a “nationwide advocate and ally for individuals who use medicine,” the Nationwide Hurt Discount Coalition (NHRC) includes a marketing campaign underneath its Drug Overdose Prevention and Schooling (DOPE) Mission that encourages drug customers within the San Francisco space to get excessive in ways in which supposedly carry much less danger of overdose or hurt.

 A collection of posters and ads from the DOPE Mission, which have been created in “collaboration with the actual first responders in San Francisco – individuals who use medicine,” advises those that proceed to make use of medicine to “do it with buddies” or “to vary it up” by “ingesting or smoking as a substitute of snorting.”


Homeless folks eat unlawful medicine in an encampment alongside Willow Road within the Tenderloin district of San Francisco on Feb. 24, 2022.
(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Occasions through Getty Photographs)

One other poster from the marketing campaign, which includes a gleeful group of drug customers, advises to “take it simple” and “go sluggish” when utilizing. “Use much less at first to check the power of your medicine,” one poster reads.

“Injecting medicine carries the very best danger of overdose, so strive smoking or snorting as a substitute,” one other poster reads.

Different posters utilized by the marketing campaign advise those that use medicine, in addition to those that could also be round drug customers on the time of an overdose, on find out how to use naloxone – a medication offered underneath sure model names like Narcan that’s identified to quickly reverse an opioid overdose.

Syringes and paraphernalia used by drug users litter an alley.

Syringes and paraphernalia utilized by drug customers litter an alley.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Photographs)

“We’re higher collectively,” one poster states. “Know the indicators if somebody is overdosing. Carry naloxone and know find out how to use it.”


Whereas there’s little messaging about methods addicts can ditch medicine, a wide range of different posters show quotes from drug customers who stated they – or somebody they knew – have been grateful to have had naloxone out there throughout an overdose.

Often called the “Know Overdose Marketing campaign,” the hassle between the DOPE Mission and NHRC, in addition to the San Francisco Division of Public Well being, has confronted pushback from no less than one former California lawmaker.

Melissa Melendez, a Republican who represented the Golden State’s twenty eighth District within the Senate from 2020 to 2022, introduced consideration to the marketing campaign earlier this week in a tweet.

“Now we have a fentanyl epidemic, and that is how California is addressing the issue,” Melendez wrote. “Shockingly, these are precise marketing campaign paperwork, not satire. This isn’t hurt discount. This isn’t the reply.”

Vicki Nohrden, the Republican candidate for California State Meeting District 30 within the November 2022 election, additionally criticized the transfer by the marketing campaign.

“Completely outrageous, not answer based mostly consequence, stupidity at its finest,” Nohrden wrote in a tweet.

“Nationwide Hurt Discount Coalition builds evidence-based methods with and for individuals who use medicine. In San Francisco, individuals who use medicine and frontline hurt discount employees reverse extra overdoses than every other group of first responders,” a spokesperson for the group informed Fox Information Digital. “1000’s of individuals survive their overdoses yearly in our metropolis due to individuals who use medicine and hurt discount employees. The DOPE Mission created an academic advert marketing campaign to lift consciousness round overdose in San Francisco. We collaborated carefully with individuals who use medicine and frontline hurt discount employees to develop community-specific messaging. As of 2020, over 13,000 folks in San Francisco are educated to identify an overdose and use naloxone to save lots of somebody’s life.”

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in the city's Tenderloin district in 2021 in response to drug overdose deaths.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency within the metropolis’s Tenderloin district in 2021 in response to drug overdose deaths.
(Viviane Moos/Corbis/Corbis through Getty Photographs)

Equally, Laura Guzman, the performing govt director for NHRC, stated in an announcement shared with Fox that “the Know Overdose Marketing campaign was a collaborative effort by the SF Division of Public Well being and the DOPE Mission/NHRC to intensify consciousness of overdose prevention given the sluggish however vital will increase in overdose deaths by individuals who use medicine in San Francisco.”

“The numbers of overdose deaths began to leap astronomically in SF after the introduction of fentanyl in our drug provide in 2018,” Guzman stated. “What this marketing campaign did is promote overdose prevention schooling for communities most impacted by overdoses and deaths – individuals who use medicine who’re BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and so on., with key messaging from the very communities affected with experience within the matter.”


San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency within the metropolis’s Tenderloin district in 2021 in response to drug overdose deaths.

Breed stated town had 650 overdose deaths in 2021 and no less than 700 in 2020.

Fox Information’ Ashley Carnahan contributed to this text.