New PSA Follows Woman As She Publicly Detoxes From Opioids

By Victoria Kim 10/24/18

"I am the most camera shy person in the world. But if making my detox public is going to help somebody... I’m all for it,” said the 26-year-old.

Rebekkah's story

The Truth Initiative, which has produced 20 years of anti-tobacco public health messaging, just released a new opioid PSA.

This time, we meet 26-year-old Rebekkah, who agreed to allow her opioid detox to be filmed for the Truth Initiative to show the world.

“I know these next few days aren’t going to be pretty,” she says in the six-minute video. “And I am the most camera shy person in the world. But if making my detox public is going to help somebody—even just one person—I’m all for it.”

Rebekkah was once a promising dancer and athlete, but that all came to a halt when she was 14 and blew out her ankle during cheerleading practice. A doctor prescribed opioid painkillers, and as she says, it was all downhill from there.

“That decision I made, to go to the doctor and not get the surgery, that’s the worst decision I ever made in my whole life,” she said. Her painkiller addiction eventually turned to heroin.

The video fast-forwards through the early days of Rebekkah’s detox, describing the withdrawal symptoms that arise with each day. The video is shown in a public space, what appear to be busy New York City streets, as the public watches on.

Day 3 is characterized by nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, drug cravings and depression. “I have a lot of self-image issues. My mind doesn’t tell me anything nice,” says Rebekkah.

But as the days go by, things start looking better. “Each day that passes I feel more and more alive,” she said.

Rebekkah’s story—titled “Treatment Box”—marks the second installment of the Truth About Opioids public awareness campaign, made possible by a collaboration between the Truth Initiative, the Ad Council, and the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

The first round of anti-opioid PSAs released in June went for shock value. The four ads profiled four individuals who went to extreme lengths to obtain prescription opioids.

Allegedly based on true stories, “Chris from Atlanta” breaks his own arm by slamming it in a door, “Kyle from Dallas” breaks his own hand with a hammer, “Joe from Maine” crushes his body under a car, and “Amy from Columbus” crashes her car into a dumpster.

Critics of the ads say they were “disingenuous and misleading.”

Aside from PSAs, Truth also offers resources on its website to educate and help those who need support.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr