Truth About Drugs PSAs Air in Times Square
- 250,000 people die every year internationally from illegal drugs—685 a day.
- There are over 1,000 synthetic drug makers in the U.S., generating close to $5 billion annually.
- There have been 21 million website visits to drugfreeworld.org in the past year. That is 57,000 visits per day.
- Every day, 155 orders are placed online for the Truth About Drugs materials, which is 56,000 in just the last year. All orders are fulfilled thanks to grants from the IAS.
The IAS-sponsored Truth About Drugs PSAs (public service announcements) are an important component to the Drug-Free World campaign. Each PSA is tailored to give a short, in-your-face message on the harmful effects of the most commonly abused drugs. From painkillers and marijuana to heroin and LSD—these PSAs open the eyes of millions with the truth about the dangerous effects of drugs.
In late November this year, during the U.S. national holiday of Thanksgiving, an IAS grant sponsored the Truth About Drugs PSAs to air on a 125 foot high billboard (38 meters) in the heart of New York City in Times Square. The PSAs played four times every hour, every day, for an entire week—reaching an estimated 2.5 million people. Approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily, but an estimated one million visited during Thanksgiving weekend when the PSAs were airing. IAS Freedom Medal Winners Ben and Meghan Fialkoff increased the exposure of the campaign with a team of Drug-Free World volunteers distributing Truth About Drugs booklets on the streets of New York while the PSAs were playing.
Further, to show just how in demand the campaign is—the advertising agency responsible for the billboard contacted Drug-Free World to offer to air the ads again starting from Christmas Day until the 1st of January 2018 for a fraction of the normal rate.
The PSAs will air on the same giant billboard in Times Square four times every hour, for a total of 672 times between Christmas and New Year’s Day. They will also air on New Year’s Eve, during the famous “Ball Drop” where an estimated two million people will gather in Times Square to ring in the New Year.
Since the PSAs began airing, the number of visits from the New York area to the drugfreeworld.org website has doubled and the number of new people coming into New York Org has tripled.