A campaign focusing on college students known as “Half of Us” is hoping to spread awareness about prescription drugs and the dangers of abuse. The campaign is provided by mtvU, a television network aired on college campuses, and the Jed Foundation which is an organization dedicated to promoting emotional health and preventing suicide.
The concept behind “Half of Us” focuses not only on prescription drugs but also the emotional well-being of young college students. According to studies, half of all college students say they have been so depressed that they could not function at some point during the school year or were so stressed that they could no socialize or get their work done. The campaign aims to help bring awareness to issues of depression, mental health and drug use to college campuses.
Celebrity Interviews for the Campaign
The “Half of Us” program was developed by the Jed Foundation who partnered up with mtvU – the largest television network for college students reaching over 9 million students. The program has featured artists and celebrities such as Mary J. Blige, Pete Wentz, Brittany Snow and most recently the hip hop star Macklemore.
The program shows these artists telling their stories and discussing struggles with mental health and drug issues. The celebrity interviews touch on personal subjects that provide students with the message that they are not alone but they also are meant to educate students and hopefully make them think twice drug use and the potential repercussions.
Macklemore’s Experience with Drug Abuse
A recent episode of the campaign focused on Mackelmore’s relationship to drugs and how he was able to eventually recover from his abuse. The rapper struggled with his creativity and suffered from writer’s block anytime he was under the influence of drugs. He experimented with the prescription opoid drug, Oxycontin, for a period of time, a drug that he says was one of the most intense he ever experienced. He spoke about how his drug abuse began to affect the relationships with his family and how he began to lie and act selfishly to the point of pushing away people that were close to him.
His addiction became so severe that his father approached him and asked him to go to rehab. Macklemore then sought help and entered a recovery center to work towards getting clean again. He knew that he was more creative and productive as a musician while sober so he made the effort to recover in a rehab center and remains connected to a recovery community to stay committed to his decision.
College Students Discuss Prescription Drugs
In addition to inspiring and heartfelt celebrity interviews, the “Half of Us” campaign also includes the stories of ordinary college students and their experiences with drugs. Their personal stories touch on subjects related to addiction and the way that prescription drugs have affected people in their lives. Students speak about how they know from experience how commonly abused prescription drugs like Oxycontin or Adderall have acted as a gateway drug leading to other dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin. The students also speak to each other about ways to handle the stress of college without turning to drugs as a solution.
The episodes focus on educating young college kids about the dangers of drug use and they also hope to send the message that they are not alone in their stress, depression, anxiety or whatever they are going through. Instead of taking prescription drugs to feel at ease, students can turn to each other, use campus mental health resources or simply take better care of themselves whenever they are stressed about school. The “Half of Us” campaign works to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse in a way that students can relate to and understand.