NYC Public Health

Residents of Staten Island are dying from drug overdoses at four times the rate of the city’s four other boroughs. The overdose rate has been substantially linked to the overprescription and abuse of prescription drugs. Facing public health crisis, NYC Health sought to educate New Yorkers —particularly Staten Islanders —by employing real stories of residents impacted by the overdose and abuse epidemic.

Objective

To create a series of action-oriented documentary-style PSAs using real people impacted by prescription drug overdoses and abuse.

Solution

Luceo was contracted to Bandujo Advertising + Design to handle most aspects of pre-production, production, and post-production for three 30-second PSA spots undertaken on behalf of NYC Health.

Casting posed the biggest obstacle since each PSA was to be built around real people who had first-hand experience of prescription drug addiction or who had lost a family member to a fatal prescription drug overdose. In order to solve this problem, Luceo relied on our background in the field of journalism to effectively canvas and locate Staten Islanders who fit the criteria. Luceo contacted public health providers, harm reduction organizations, addiction specialists, social workers, and grief-counselors to cultivate subjects for the PSAs. After initial interviews with several recovering and active prescription drug addicts as well as several families who had lost children to prescription drug overdoses, Luceo created face sheets to present to the client which included each subject’s photograph, a synopsis of their story, and a recorded interview to aid the client in selecting the most appropriate subjects.

Three subjects were selected to be filmed for the spots: a Staten Island mother who had lost her accomplished teenage son to a fatal prescription drug overdose, a man who had become addicted to prescription pain killers after having his wisdom teeth removed, and a young Staten Islander whose struggle with prescription drug addiction spanned his teenage years and significantly impacted his relationships with his family and friends.

The spots were storyboarded to include audio and video from candid interviews down with each subject as well as B-roll of each subject and their story, Staten Island, and the greater New York City area.

Because of complexity of the topic and the involvement of many different organizations post-production was handled in tiers with extensive feedback from NYC Health officials, City Hall, and Bandujo’s creatives in order to craft the most appropriate narration and set of visuals.

Results

The PSAs began airing on New York City area television stations on December 4th, 2013.

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