Aleve addresses ‘The Painful Truth’ of opioid use - Brand Innovators

Aleve addresses ‘The Painful Truth’ of opioid use

  • Bayer’s Aleve pain relief brand is partnering with Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse on a campaign encouraging consumers and their doctors to explore non-opioid pain relief options, including over-the-counter products. 
  • The new campaign, “The Painful Truth,” includes a three-minute film in which real pain patients seek guidance for relief from what they think is a pain expert, but who turns out to be a recovering opioid abuser. The patients are encouraged to explore other pain relief options, including over-the-counter products, physical therapy, medication and chiropractic care
  • According to Aleve, the U.S. accounts for only 4.4% of the world’s population, but the country consumes more than 80% of the world’s opioids. While opioid dispensing rates are ticking down, they remain elevated compared to other countries. 

Though there has been significant public education about the potential dangers of opioid addiction, 45 Americans still die every day from an opioid overdose, according to Aleve. The new campaign seeks to further humanize the effects by demonstrating the lengths to which someone will go to continue to get their next dose. 

In the film, the pain “expert” begins by counseling the patients experiencing pain by asking them generally about their problems and if they have considered opioids. When they say they have, he says they can be a solution, but they can have some side effects, including nausea, vomiting and hypotension. Then he gets into some others that might be less common, such as “finding yourself lying about everything you do” or even leaving their daughter in their truck on Christmas morning while they go into a drug house to get enough pills to get through the day. At the conclusion of that story, the expert admits that he’s an expert because he was addicted to pills. 

“Two big contributing factors to opioid use disorder are lack of education around the potential negative consequences of opioid use and the enduring stigma around addiction. Many of us believe this could never happen to us or someone we love, and that often prevents patients from exploring options for pain relief,” said Mary Bono, co-founder, chair of the board of directors and CEO of MAPDA, in a release. 

While the campaign encourages people to speak with their doctors about non-prescription alternatives, materials do note that opioids may still be useful for some situations.