'Black Swan' Director Darren Aronofsky Creates Anti-Meth Ads

ABC News
'Black Swan' Director Darren Aronofsky Creates Anti-Meth Ads

View photo

'Black Swan' Director Darren Aronofsky Creates Anti-Meth Ads (ABC News)

Darren Aronofsky, the Oscar-nominated director behind "Black Swan" and "Requiem for a Dream," has taken his famously dark style to the small screen in four 30-second ads guaranteed to make teens think twice about using methamphetamine.

The ads, released Tuesday as part of the Meth Project's latest multimedia awareness campaign, depict the scary scenes of meth addiction; from desperation to loss of control to attempted suicide.

"We wanted to show the stark reality of methamphetamine use," said Nitsa Zuppas, executive director of the Siebel Foundation, which funds the Meth Project. "We know that if teens understand the risks, usage will decline."

This is the second time Aronofsky has lent his vision and star power to the campaign. In 2008, he directed a series of ads showing how meth affects users and their loved ones.

"Every year we have this huge list of people who want to do this work," said Zuppas. "They all care so deeply and passionately about the work, and you can see it in the result."

Other Hollywood superstars who have teamed with the Project include Wally Pfister, director of photography for "The Dark Knight" and "Inception," Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who directed "Babel" and "21 Grams," and Tony Kaye, who directed "American History X."

Since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana and 52 percent in Idaho -- decreases largely credited to the Project's hard-hitting TV and radio ads.

This year, the campaign spread to the digital world with an interactive website.

"We knew we needed to provide a definitive source of information about the risks of meth use for teens," said Zuppas.

To transform the research on meth into messages teens can understand and share, the Project partnered with experts from various national agencies, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They also interviewed hundreds of meth users.

The website is designed to get teens asking questions before they try meth, questions like, "What is meth mouth?" and "What are crank bugs?" On the "Body by meth" page, users can use tweezers to dissect meth's harmful, even fatal health effects.

"We knew we needed to leverage digital and social media to engage teens in a radical new way," said Zuppas. "MethProject.org provides the means to understand the risks of meth and really influence others."

Methamphetamine is one of the most addictive drugs of abuse, according to Dr. Stephen Ross, clinical director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction.

"One in four people who try meth become addicted," said Ross. "It's one of the most addictive drugs, and it's also one of the most damaging."

Meth can cause heart attacks, seizures, strokes and kidney failure. It also impairs the immune system.

"When you see pictures of meth users over time it's very dramatic," said Ross. "They look like they have cancer -- they're gaunt, they look like they've aged 20 years."

Meth can also have psychiatric effects, triggering hallucinations, delusions and violence.

"Meth is linked to a lot of violence, a lot of criminality," said Ross. "In addition to rapidly destroying an individual, it can rapidly destroy a community."

Ross said the Meth Project has the potential to dissuade teens from trying meth.

"There's a very close link between the perception of harm and use of the drug," he said. "The average teen knows crack is bad and IV heroin is bad. Many of them also know that cigarettes are bad. A public health message that conveys the dangers of drug is most certainly effective."

But anti-drug campaigns aimed at teens are tricky, Ross said, recalling the fried egg anti-drug ads of the '80s.

"Teens laughed at that," said Ross. "They thought it was silly,"

Unlike the fried egg, Aronofsky's Meth Project ads pack a haunting message.

"We want teens to know that if they try meth thinking it's no big deal," said Zuppas, "it's a decision that could literally ruin their lives."

View Comments (40)

Recommended for You

  • Former NFL Quarterback Johnny Manziel Booked in Domestic Violence Case

    Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel presented himself for booking before posting bond in Texas today, one day before his first scheduled court hearing in a domestic violence case. A grand jury charged Manziel, 23, with family violence assault last week following…

    Good Morning America52 mins ago
  • The Obamas Have a Dance-Off With Stormtroopers, R2-D2 in Celebration of Star Wars Day

    The White House posted a fun dance video to commemorate Star Wars Day late Wednesday. The 22-second clip was released on the White House's official Facebook and Twitter accounts with the caption, "Dance. Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" sets in motion the impromptu dance party where President Obama can…

    Good Morning America
  • 7-Year-Old Writes Excuse Note, Goes Home From School

    Though the girl was supposed to attend an after-school program on Monday, the note she wrote and delivered to the staff herself worked. The staff excused little Rosabella Dahu, she boarded the school bus and went home. Charlie Dahu, her father, said Sheldon Elementary in Houston has promised him…

    Good Morning America
  • Prince: Feds Join the Investigation Into His Death

    Federal authorities are now investigating Prince's death. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office told ABC News in a statement today that the organization, along with the DEA, will work in conjunction with the local sheriff's office to investigate the singer's death last month. “The U.S.…

    Good Morning America
  • Takata Airbag Recall More Than Doubles in Size

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today announced a major expansion of the Takata airbag recall, more than doubling the number of airbags already deemed potentially unsafe. An additional 35 to 40 million driver- and passenger-side airbags are being added to a list of 28.8 million…

    Good Morning America
  • Transgender Woman Records Stranger's Tirade Before Allegedly Being Attacked on New York Subway

    A transgender woman in New York City said she is hoping to "raise awareness about the daily violence trans people face" by sharing video she recorded showing "the transphobia and racism" she said she recently "had to take from a random stranger on the subway."Pearl Love told ABC News today she took…

    Good Morning America
  • John Kasich Suspends His Presidential Campaign

    John Kasich announced this evening he was suspending his presidential campaign. “As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life,” the Ohio governor said in the same refurbished barn where former…

    Good Morning America
  • FBI Nabs Man Suspected of Poisoning Produce at Grocery Store

    The FBI has arrested a Michigan man for allegedly spraying a poisonous mixture of chemicals on food at three grocery stores in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The FBI and Michigan Health Department are now looking at whether anyone was seriously ill from the low-scale chemical attack to contaminate food. …

    Good Morning America
  • Company Expands Voluntary Recall to Include All Frozen Vegetable and Fruit Products

    CRF Frozen Foods of Pasco, Washington, has expanded a voluntary recall for some of its products, which included organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables because of the risk of Listeria, according to the company's statement. The voluntary recall is being made in cooperation with the Food and…

    Good Morning America
  • Helicopter Pilot Narrowly Avoids Crash During Recovery Mission in Dramatic Video

    In September 2015, trooper helicopter pilot Kent Harrison of the Utah Department of Public Safety and a companion were sent to the area to help a Salt Lake County search and rescue team recover the body of a woman who had been hiking alone when she tragically fell 300 feet to her death. "It was a…

    Good Morning America
  • Girl Diagnosed With Rare Genetic Disorder Thanks to Reddit After Years of Inconclusive Testing

    Bo Bigelow and his wife wondered for year why their daughter was different. Bigelow's daughter, Tess, was non-verbal, has gastronintestinal symptoms and seemed to have periodic seizures, but doctors were baffled about the cause. Bigelow said he and his wife were desperate to understand Tess'…

    Good Morning America
  • Obama Drinks Flint's Filtered Water During Visit to 'Shine a Spotlight' on Water Crisis

    President Obama drank filtered Flint water during a visit to the Michigan city today as he received a first-hand look at the crisis he has said deeply affected him as a parent. “As a short-term measure, this is the right thing to do, and frankly it's going to be a lot more convenient than people…

    Good Morning America
  • Tracking Appalachia's Swing From Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump Country

    During his victory speech Tuesday night after the Indiana primary, Donald Trump emphasized a region that could be ground zero for support: Appalachia. “The miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again,” Trump said. Once upon a time in coal…

    Good Morning America
  • Crying Babies Mean Free Flights During JetBlue Flight

    Parents flying with small children have two main fears: One, that their child will misbehave during the flight, and two, that the other passengers will hate them for it.Just in time for Mother's Day, JetBlue has released a video that may make those flying without kids a little more patient with…

    Good Morning America
  • Mercury Set to Cross the Sun in Rare Celestial Event

    Mercury is set to transit the sun, a celestial event so rare it happens just 13 times in a century.The planet closest to the sun will begin its crossing at 7:12 a.m. ET Monday. Mercury will slowly journey across the face of the sun, appearing as a small black dot to people on Earth viewing the…

    Good Morning America
  • Family's Home Burns Down on First Night: 'We Fought for Everything'

    A Massachusetts family is heartbroken after a fire engulfed their new home the very first night they moved in."We fought for everything..." Anthony Rodriguez of Winchendon, Massachusetts, told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston. "We really wanted to provide our family with a decent home and to watch…

    Good Morning America
  • Patton Oswalt on His Late Wife Michelle McNamara: 'It Was Love Pretty Much Immediately for Me'

    Patton Oswalt is remembering his first meeting with Michelle McNamara, and reflecting on the happy life they had together before her unexpected death last month. In an interview with People, Oswalt recalled the first time he met his late wife in 2003, and how for him, it was love at first sight. …

    Good Morning America
  • New Photo Shows Last Known Image of Missing Florida Mother

    Authorities have released new information in an urgent search for missing Florida mother and Air Force veteran Tricia Todd. Todd, a 30-year-old hospice nurse, disappeared last Tuesday and police have released surveillance images from a Hobe Sound, Florida, Publix grocery store, saying they believe…

    Good Morning America
  • Zac Posen Reveals Details of Claire Danes' Glow-in-the-Dark Met Gala Gown

    Claire Danes was the belle of the 2016 Met Gala in a Cinderella-like gown that was glow-in-the-dark.The dress’ designer, Zac Posen, revealed today that it was powered by LED lights and made with fabric custom-ordered from France.2016 Met Gala: Inside the Hottest Night in Fashion8 of the Most Unique…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Captain America' Star Anthony Mackie Has Huge Superhero Surprise for Langley Air Force Base

    “Good Morning America” received unprecedented access to the historic Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, the oldest in the country, celebrating its 100th anniversary. Correspondent Jesse Palmer, along with our “GMA” television crew, is the first ever inside this national security nerve center, the…

    Good Morning America