click to go to

News | July 26, 2021

Reverse the Silence Campaign Casts a National Spotlight on Overdose Risks Associated with Opioid Use

  • Emergent BioSolutions joins forces with an alliance of advocacy organizations that share a common goal to empower open communication and address the stigma of opioid overdoses, which are oftentimes accidental.
  • Professional football player Darren Waller and lifestyle influencer Dani Schaffer openly share their stories of addiction, overdose and tragedy in new television and radio spots airing across the country.
  • New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that over 93,000 Americans lost their lives to a drug overdose in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, of which 8 in 10 deaths involved opioids, including prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids, and methadone), heroin, and synthetic opioids (primarily illicit fentanyl).

Darren Waller and Dani Schaffer GAITHERSBURG, Md., July 26, 2021 —  An alliance of national nonprofit organizations comprised of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), SAFE Project, and Shatterproof, sponsored by Emergent BioSolutions Inc., (NYSE:EBS) today announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign, Reverse the Silence, which features television and radio spots that educate and help support people who may be at risk or know someone at risk of an opioid overdose.

Lifestyle influencer Dani Schaffer, who lost her brother, Scott Anthony Molinari, to an accidental overdose in 2018 at the age of 33, is using her platform to talk about opioid use and ways to be prepared for an overdose emergency. And professional athlete Darren Waller, who for many years lived with an opioid dependency that started at a young age, is now sharing his story of struggle and triumph after overdosing in his car in 2017.

“At the age of 15, I was introduced to opioids and developed a dependency that helped mask how I felt on the inside, but the reality is that I felt completely isolated, and no one knew what I was going through,” said Waller. “Reverse the Silence means no longer remaining quiet and allowing others to dictate the narrative for those of us who are living with addiction or are on the journey to recovery. I’m telling my story because too many lives have been lost to overdoses.”

An accidental opioid overdose can happen to anyone taking opioids, across any community. The CDC’s 2020 provisional data found a substantial increase in drug overdose deaths across the country that coincided with the implementation of widespread mitigation measures for the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, over 93,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the 12-month period ending in December 2020, representing a worsening of the drug overdose epidemic and the largest number of drug overdoses for a 12-month period ever recorded.

“Hundreds of thousands of lives have already been lost and it’s our responsibility to help reverse the silence about opioid use and the risks of accidental opioid overdose,” said Admiral James and Mary Winnefeld, founders of SAFE Project, and representatives of the alliance. “We have joined forces with Emergent BioSolutions because we cannot sit back and lose another life needlessly when there are tools and ways to be prepared to help prevent an opioid overdose. We encourage every family to talk about it and build a plan for an opioid overdose emergency, because accidents happen, and every second matters when someone’s life is on the line.”

Of the 49 million patients prescribed opioids in the U.S., more than 18 million are considered at risk, which includes patients prescribed opioids who are concurrently taking benzodiazepines, those with a history of opioid use disorder or prior opioid overdoses. It’s important to remember those who have household members, including children, or other close contacts who may be at risk for accidental ingestion or overdose.

“We are facing an opioid epidemic that is ravaging our society as evidenced by the growing number of fatal opioid overdoses happening every day,” said Doug White, SVP and devices business unit head at Emergent BioSolutions. “We are proud to team up with Dani Schaffer, Darren Waller, and this alliance of national nonprofit organizations to help reverse the silence and lessen the stigma of opioid overdoses, which are often accidental.”

For more information about Reverse the Silence and how to help stop overdoses, visit

About Emergent BioSolutions
Emergent BioSolutions is a global life sciences company whose mission is to protect and enhance life. Through our specialty products and contract development and manufacturing services, we are dedicated to providing solutions that address public health threats. Through social responsibility, we aim to build healthier and safer communities. We aspire to deliver peace of mind to our patients and customers so they can focus on what’s most important in their lives. In working together, we envision protecting or enhancing 1 billion lives by 2030. For more information, visit our website and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.

About The Alliance
The Alliance was formed between Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), SAFE Project and Shatterproof. These national nonprofit organizations share a commitment to combat drug abuse and to spare other Americans of the opioid epidemic that has devastated so many communities across the country. Visit the links provided to learn more about each organization.

Emergent BioSolutions Contacts:

Matt Hartwig
Director, Media Relations

Copyright of Emergent Devices Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Emergent Devices Inc.