CDC’s New “When The Prescription Becomes The Problem” Campaign

For over 60 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has led the fight in some of America’s most pressing public health issues. Over that time, public and professional views of drug addiction have changed dramatically. While drug-addicted individuals used to be regarded as criminals or outlaws, they’re now increasingly seen as patients struggling with a treatable medical condition. This is especially true of prescription drug addiction, where the problem often begins not in some dark, crime-ridden alleyway, but rather in the doctor’s office or suburban medicine cabinet.

Reconceived as an urgent public health issue, the prescription drug abuse epidemic now sits front and center on the CDC’s radar. To this end, the CDC has recently turned to the Internet to launch its new public-information campaign, “When the Prescription Becomes the Problem”.

How The Campaign Works: Inspiring Hope And Challenging Stereotypes

The campaign, which began in April 2015, encourages participants to share their personal stories of prescription drug abuse through social media, and—most importantly—to do so using only six words. If everything goes as planned, the participant then tags the message with the “RxProblem” hashtag, and it spreads like wildfire.

Through these messages, the campaign hopes to reach two slightly different target audiences at once. First, it aspires to reach other individuals struggling with prescription drug addiction, inspiring them with messages of hope and perseverance. Second, the campaign is also targeting individuals who may still have an outdated, stereotype-fueled view of who the sufferers of prescription drug addiction are in the first place.

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A Classic Case Of “Less Is More”

The six-word limit is surprisingly effective, and a perfect fit for an age in which the constant stream of Facebook activity and Twitter posts already demands so much of our attention. Indeed, it’s a classic case of “less is more.”

Take “Brad’s story,” for instance. In his post, Brad appears as an innocent-looking, baby-faced young man—hardly the stereotypical face of prescription drug addiction. This isn’t the dangerous, villainous face of drug abuse we so often see in movies and television shows. This is someone relatable—someone’s son, someone’s brother. More than that, it’s someone who has persevered. Brad’s message reads simply, “Not a statistic. Broke the cycle”. With only six words and a single photograph, Brad’s story challenges stereotypes, puts a human face on the prescription drug epidemic, and gives a positive example of recovery.

Ongoing, Active Contribution

While the “When the Prescription Becomes the Problem” campaign officially ended in May 2015, one can still view its collected videos and images on the CDC’s official website. Moreover, using the “RxProblem” hashtag can still post inspiring messages linked to the campaign. The campaign is over, but it can still be used to make a positive impact.

The Next Step

Of course, getting inspired on social media is only, in this case, the first step in the journey toward recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with prescription drug addiction and is ready to seek treatment, contact us today at You’ve taken that first step, now let us help you take the next.

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