Darren Aronofsky Directs Anti-Meth Ads
The Oscar-nominated director behind “Black Swan” and “Requiem for a Dream,” Darren Aronofsky, has taken his famously dark style to the small screen in four 30-second ads guaranteed to make teens think twice about using methamphetamine.
The ads were released Tuesday as part of the Meth Project’s latest awareness campaign, depicting scary scenes of meth addiction; from desperation to loss of control to attempted suicide. “We wanted to show the stark reality of methamphetamine use,” said Nitsa Zuppas, executive director of the Siebel Foundation, which funds the Meth Project. “We know that if teens understand the risks, usage will decline.”
This is the second time Aronofsky has lent his vision and star power to the campaign. In 2008, he directed a series of ads showing how meth affects users and their loved ones.
This year, the campaign spread to the digital world with an interactive website. “We knew we needed to provide a definitive source of information about the risks of meth use for teens,” said Zuppas.
To transform the research on meth into messages teens can understand and share, the Project partnered with experts from various national agencies, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They also interviewed hundreds of meth users.
The website is designed to get teens asking questions before they try meth, questions like, “What is meth mouth?” and “What are crank bugs?” On the “Body by meth” page, users can use tweezers to dissect meth’s harmful, even fatal health effects.
Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs of abuse, according to Dr. Stephen Ross, clinical director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction. “One in four people who try meth become addicted,” said Ross. “It’s one of the most addictive drugs, and it’s also one of the most damaging.” Meth can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes and kidney failure. It also impairs the immune system. “When you see pictures of meth users over time it’s very dramatic,” said Ross. “They look like they have cancer — they’re gaunt, they look like they’ve aged 20 years.”
Meth can also have psychiatric effects, triggering hallucinations, delusions and violence. “Meth is linked to a lot of violence, a lot of criminality,” said Ross. “In addition to rapidly destroying an individual, it can rapidly destroy a community.”
Take a look at the ads below, do you think these will make a difference?