In an effort to combat the current Fentanyl epidemic, the Department of Justice and the non-profit MESA (Mentoring and Empowering Student Athletes) Foundation have joined forces with the San Diego State basketball program for an unusual NIL campaign to raise awareness of the deadly crisis.
In a press release from the Department of Justice’s website, it was announced on Monday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, San Diego City Attorney’s Office, and the non-profit MESA launched a social media campaign that will feature all of the members of the 2023-2024 San Diego State University’s men’s basketball team – including several who played in the 2023 NCAA national championship game – to promote fentanyl awareness and prevention.
This is the first NIL collaboration between NCAA student-athletes and the DOJ. The partnership will have members of the Aztecs basketball program raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. The need for Narcan, which is used to rapidly reverse the effects of opioids to prevent fatal overdoses, will also be featured in social media PSA campaigns.
You can find the two PSA videos currently on YouTube here. The players involved (including Final Four hero Lamont Butler) relay the immense dangers of fentanyl and ways to help prevent any unnecessary deaths and harm to individuals and their families.
This past Monday (August 21) was National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day.
“We are committed to innovative approaches to protect and educate the youth of our community about the extreme danger of fentanyl,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Haden in a statement. “We are willing to do whatever it takes to save lives and spread the word that fentanyl is still claiming many lives, and every one of us can and must take action to prevent fatal overdoses. I’d like to thank the incredible SDSU student-athletes, who did not hesitate to answer our call for help. They have graciously used their celebrity and influence for the most important cause: Keeping fellow students from making a fatal mistake with fentanyl.”
This NIL collaboration is a win-win for both parties. The SDSU student-athletes get some money while also getting the message out to the youth on social media about the extreme dangers of fentanyl. Any awareness like that could only help federal and state agencies prevent deaths and hopefully eradicate the country of this toxic drug.