McCann Health and Shatterproof Are Rewriting the Narrative Around Addiction

04 April 2019


Today, Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident, and rates of overdose death increased 300% in New York City within five years. Despite these staggering numbers, addiction is often viewed as a moral failure by those impacted, rather than a medical condition that changes the brain.

At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt the sting of stigma, being on the receiving end of sharp words that cut us down or behavior that leads us to question our value. For those who struggle with opioid misuse, judgment about their addiction can erode the very self-respect they need to battle their illness and begin recovery.

McCann Health has launched a public awareness campaign to start to rewrite the narrative around addiction. The client is Shatterproof, a not-for-profit dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes to families. The campaign—“Hope Stems”— uses flowers in a unique and powerful way to reveal the truth about opioid addiction. Hope stems from treating opioid addiction as a brain disease, not a weakness. Hope stems from compassion. Hope stems from treatment, not judgment.

What’s the goal of Hope Stems? Hope Stems is a national initiative launched by Gary Mendell, CEO of Shatterproof, who lost his son to opioid addiction. Gary hopes to reduce the stigma of opioid addiction and fight the myth that it is a moral weakness by educating how the brain is consumed by opioids.

Why flowers? Timed to coincide with the Macy’s Flower Show, the work is inspired by florists who despair at making funeral bouquets for the 130 Americans who die each day from overdose.

The exhibit will be open to the public in New York’s Herald Square from April 2, 2019 to April 4, 2019. Check out the full campaign story at

See More