Viacom and Surgeon General launch addiction awareness campaign

viacom surgeon general addiction awareness campaign

Amidst a wave of digital resources for addiction treatment, media giant Viacom launched LISTEN a multimedia campaign that aims to spread awareness and promote compassion for those struggling with addiction.

Viacom, the media conglomerate that owns MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central among other channels, has partnered with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and his sponsored campaign Facing Addiction, to provide support for people struggling with addiction and help families become more educated and aware. The online platform helps spread awareness about addiction and allows people coping with substance use disorders to share personal stories, which may help them realize they are not alone and that help is available.

“Social impact is in our DNA, it’s our legacy,” said Ali Tuck, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Viacom. “MTV was one of the first to talk about HIV/AIDS. We worked on a campaign with schools called Get Schooled to raise attendance rates, and we did a campaign to tackle the stigma of domestic abuse.”

Now, the media company has turned to the epidemic of addiction. “We tackle issues that no one wants to touch with a ten foot pole,” she said.  

addiction statistic in americaRoughly 76 percent of Viacom viewers have had an experience with addiction, Tuck said. “One in three households are impacted in some way. We wanted to partner with Facing Addiction because there isn’t a central organization for addiction like the American Cancer Society”

Jim Hood, the founder and CEO of the Facing Addiction campaign, lost his 20-year-old son to an accidental overdose and left his to career “to bring an end to this horrific crisis.”

“[The campaign is] primarily about listening but it’s also responding,” he said. ”Ten percent of people will never get any kind of treatment. The Surgeon General said [the biggest problem is] overcoming the stigma. Imagine the outrage if only one in 10 people with cancer received treatment. The LISTEN campaign is a very important, powerful first step to get rid of that stigma and shame.”

One of the reasons the LISTEN campaign is different from others is its focus on “compassion,” rather than… (continue reading)