The opioid epidemic crisis continues to rampage

We partner with DAODAS to develop campaigns that help save lives.

August 29, 2023
Chief Executive Officer

At Chernoff Newman, we’re guided by work that matters. Our collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) over the past several years exemplifies our mission. Since 2014, we have been executing crucially important campaigns that cover drug use and misuse, underage drinking, recovery and substance use by children.

One of our premier campaigns focuses on opioids, which continue to make national headlines. Drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) and heroin continued to rise through 2021, with 80,411 deaths. Nationally, synthetic opioid fentanyl is largely responsible for the increase in overdose deaths.

In South Carolina alone nearly five million opioid prescriptions are filled annually. That’s close to one prescription for every person in the state. In 2020, 1,734 South Carolinians died from a drug overdose — 1,400 related to opioids and 1,100 involved fentanyl.

As the opioid crisis continues, we strive to reduce overdose risks through strategic behavioral change campaigns supplemented with accessible and effective treatment options and resources. Education and awareness are crucial to keeping our neighbors, friends and family alive.

Raising awareness of addictiveness

Two of the many concerns with opioids are that they are highly addictive and can cause euphoria. As a result, people may take opioids beyond what they’re prescribed or in more significant amounts, causing the brain to crave them even more. But as the body develops tolerance, the effects of these drugs aren’t the same, which can lead to misuse, overdose and death.

That addictiveness inspired our first campaign with a mission to change attitudes about the use of opioids, raise awareness of the dangers of opioid use and reduce the stigma related to those using and misusing.

Our creative insight was just how easy it is to fall prey to addiction.


Along with these PSAs, Chernoff Newman developed a complete website, The name for the campaign theme and website is inspired by the fact that, when misused, opioids are not just painkillers but just plain killers.

The Just Plain Killers website is continuously updated and full of information, including how to manage pain with safe alternatives, opioid data, safety and life-saving naloxone. Included is a toolkit that contains campaign materials that the state’s 32 local treatment providers can use in their area.

Learn more about our work with DAODAS.

Chernoff Newman has deep category experience in agriculture, food and beverage, education and workforce development, energy, economic development, financial/insurance, healthcare and infrastructure. We design integrated marketing and strategic communications that are impactful, thought-provoking and influential. We marry ingenuity with business know-how to influence beliefs and behaviors for brands, companies and their many stakeholders. We influence attitude and inclination. We influence opinion and outcomes. And when needed, we also influence to quell contention.