Super Bowl 2017 Offers Drug Prevention Group a Chance to Save Young Lives

February 6, 2017

Every year, Superbowl advertising minutes offer an opportunity to reach more than one hundred million people in a flash. This year, those who didn’t use the commercial breaks to dash to the kitchen for snacks were served two public service announcements revealing to parents the dangers of leaving prescription drugs unlocked, where they could be misused by youth.

In the first, a father explains how he taught his teen-aged daughter to shoot and hunt safely but left prescription drugs out where she could misuse them and overdose. In the other, a mother tells how she taught her daughter not to text and drive but failed to lock up the pills that took her daughter’s life. Both PSAs reveal that the risks of a youth dying from gunshot wounds or texting and driving are less than the chance of their dying from a prescription drug overdose.

Banner image from NCADA St. Louis, showing PSAs
Image from website.

In both PSAs, the emotion of the parent is raw and you immediately understand that neither parent will ever fully recover from this loss.

How Much Education is Enough?

Should the Super Bowl be used for this purpose? As long as we are losing more than 40,000 Americans a year to drug overdose deaths, it could be argued that there could be no better use of Super Bowl advertising time than the education of Americans on the dangers of drug or excessive alcohol use.

This isn’t the first year the Super Bowl has been used as a vehicle to provide drug prevention lessons. In 2016, a cheerleader imploded before our eyes as we were fast-forwarded through her addictive decline. 

All American Girl PSA shows young woman’s rapid decline.
2016 NCADA PSA “All American Girl”

In 2015, a mother rushed upstairs to find her teenaged son dead after snorting heroin. In 2008, a sleazy drug dealer outside a fast food restaurant yammered about how his illicit drug sales were off because young people were finding the drugs they wanted in the medicine chest at home. And in 2002, a frank PSA strove to make people realize that drug abuse isn’t just about having “fun,” it’s about supporting terror and violations of human rights by passing money along to drug cartels.

PSAs Produced by NCADA St. Louis

NCADA stands for the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse. Both the 2016 and 2015 PSAs mentioned above were also products of this non-profit community health agency. You can find their website here.

If you didn’t have the chance to see their PSAs during the Super Bowl, you can use the links below to view them.

2017 PSA “Safe” (Father).

2017 PSA “Smart phone” (Mother).

Our deepest thanks to NCADA St. Louis for taking on a difficult subject and sending these messages straight to the hearts of every parent tuning into the Big Game 2017.


Karen Hadley

For more than a decade, Karen has been researching and writing about drug trafficking, drug abuse, addiction and recovery. She has also studied and written about policy issues related to drug treatment.