It’s safe to assume that exactly zero people would ever argue that methamphetamine is exactly good for you. But for those tempted to dabble with drugs, the devastating consequences associated with the highly addictive substance seem far removed, which is why making the effects of drug abuse understood is such a difficult task. Only other people become addicted and see their lives go down the drain, right?
While we’ve recently seen some compelling anti-drug use campaigns, such as one from The Partnership at Drugfree.org that illustrates how neurological functions are permanently altered by substances, or the Rehabs.com campaign that shows how drastically meth changed real users’ physical appearance over a short period of time, the limitation of these efforts lies in the fact that they still show someone else being affected by drugs.
A new web-based app from Rehabs.com and digital agency Fractl brings the drug-danger story all the way home. "Your Face on Meth" is exactly what it sounds like: a visual simulation of how you’d look over time as an addict. By uploading a photo or engaging your webcam, the app decorates your face with sunken cheeks, mottled skin, blackened eyes, and facial sores. There’s nothing pretty about the results. It’s like OldBooth or FatBooth, only much, much worse.
The goal of the project was to serve as a deterrent by allowing users to glimpse a possible future, says Jeff Smith, CEO of Recovery Brands, a group that connects people with addiction treatment. Custom-built in HMTL5 to be a web-based application, the campaign was inspired by a program that police departments and educators use to show students and at-risk youth what they might look like should they start abusing meth.
While the campaign is aimed at everyone, given that the average age of new meth users in 2011 was 17.8 years old, the hit the exercise has on one’s vanity and ego just might resonate with the fresh-faced and vulnerable.
Says Smith, "We hope that users will see a potential future for themselves that they can avoid by changing their behavior. Envisioning the dramatic and physical self-deterioration can be shocking, and the application paints an obvious picture of the changes that could occur as a result of prolonged meth use. We hope that envisioning this change might provide an incentive for people to think twice before using or continuing to abuse drugs like meth."