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Jarring Super Bowl overdose ads placed by St. Louis-based drug abuse-prevention group

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NCADA ad screengrab 2017

For a third year, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in Olivette is running Super Bowl ads dramatizing the nation's drug epidemic.

The council's jarring, gloves-off messages during the last two Super Bowls have generated thousands of comments, compliments and even some criticism.

"I think this year's ads are the most powerful yet," said Mark Schupp of Schupp Consulting, which has been the creative director for the project since it began.

"There's a spin to these that I think is very effective," he said. "And when we showed them to a (preview) group, they were stunned."

This year, the council has two ads:

A 60-second spot entitled "Safe," which ran in the first break of halftime:

A 30-second spot, "Smart Phone," ran immediately before the third quarter began. (Following is a 60-second version.):

Scott Ferguson again directed the spots, and Al Wyatt is the writer. Other STLers on the crew were Sean Funcik, Bart Elfrink, Tim Donsbach, Brian Verbarg, Ryann Brannan and Linda Schumacher.

The actors in "Safe" are Michael James Reed; Anna Lang; Daniel Lang; Michael Arens; and Kate Jones. In "Smart Phone," the cast consists of: Jacqueline Thompson; Marie Tagbo; Emily Schroder; Shannon Williams; and Charlisa Wright.

In 2016, local actress Tori Giessing starred as a high-school cheerleader who loses her family, friends and self-respect after getting hooked on heroin. She is the daughter of George "Skip" and Leah Giessing of Kirkwood. 

In 2015, the commercial starred Kirsten "Kiki" Wylder, a suburban mother who comes home to find her clean-cut son dead from a heroin overdose. The son was played by William Swanson, son of local casting director Kim Swanson.

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