Adapt tests ads urging opioid users' loved ones to stock Narcan at home

Adapt Pharma goes to the airwaves this week with a touching father-son campaign that encourages stocking up on emergency Narcan, the opioid-overdose antidote.

Driven by Adapt's in-house research into prescription opioid use, the eight-market regional test TV ad shows a father worrying about his soccer-playing teenage son who continues to take prescription opioids after an injury. Ads will also run on radio and online.  

Through its research, Adapt identified a target group it calls “carers,” a group of adults typically aged 25-54 who have a loved one or friend dependent on prescription opioids, said Thomas Duddy, vice president of corporate communications at Adapt, in an email. After further studying that specific group, Adapt found more than two-thirds (68%) say they worry either “constantly” or “most of the time” about a potential overdose.

But even more central to Adapt’s current marketing is this stat: 73% are unaware of any at-home treatments to reverse an overdose. Narcan is the only FDA-approved nasal-spray version of the opioid reversal agent naloxone; other brands and generics are injectables.

RELATED: Eyeing $1B in annual sales, Emergent BioSolutions to buy Narcan maker Adapt for $735M

Cue the father and son at the center of the new creative. In the video ad, the teen soccer player goes down in agony during a game, clutching his knee. His father explains that his worry about his son’s injury turned into even more anxiety about his son continuing to take opioids afterward to manage the pain. He watches with concern as his son takes his pill nearby.

After listing a litany of risks, the ad voice-over concludes, “You’ve always been there for him. Let Narcan be there to help you. If there are opioids in your home, Narcan nasal spray should be there, too.”

Duddy said, “This is a test to understand if we can activate ‘carers’ to take action, be prepared in the event of an accidental overdose, and bring Narcan Nasal Spray in their home (where most opioid overdoses occur). The metric for success is if ‘carers’ are prepared.”

RELATED: Adapt hires McCann Health Canada for naloxone nasal spray launch

The six-week campaign will run in eight markets: Pittsburgh; Oklahoma City; Salt Lake City; Birmingham, Alabama; Jacksonville, Florida; Augusta, Georgia; Tucson, Arizona; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Duddy said the TV media buy—with a focus on news, late-night talk shows and prime-time programs—will reach 60% of adults aged 25-54 seven times, while radio ads will reach 70% of the target demographic in market.

Adapt offers free Narcan to all colleges and high schools in the U.S., and has worked to get insurance coverage for Narcan, with coverage now at 97% of all publicly and privately insured people in the U.S., Duddy said. He added statistics that show almost 80% of prescriptions filled for Narcan cost less than $20.

Fifty states now have naloxone access laws that make the drug available for consumers to buy at a pharmacy without a prescription.