A new campaign in Germany has launched to raise awareness of the life saving benefits of drug checking. The “Highlife” Campaign is a collaboration between UPPERFAST, MDCT AG, and BONAPARTE Films. The project aims to promote the use of drug checking and dismantle societal stigma surrounding drug consumption.
Drug checking is a form of harm reduction by allowing users to find out the content and purity of the substances they intend to consume. This initiative allows users to make safer choices about the drugs they take, avoiding dangerous substances by using smaller quantities and avoiding adulterants.
Highlife is backed by Executive Producer and Founder of UPPERFAST, Jacob-Lucas Burckhardt, emerging director Leve Kühl, and Philipp Kreicarek, the founder of the KnowDrugs app. Personally affected by a tragic loss, Leve is determined to make a contribution to saving lives and bringing drug checking into focus.
The heart of the campaign is a moving 3 minute film that follows a fictional story of Sophie and Leon. Viewers become part of their love story, which tragically ends with Sophie’s overdose, leaving Leon behind. The tragic narrative portrays the human consequences of drug abuse.
“We don’t want to judge but to educate,” explains Leve Kühl, one of the initiators of Highlife. “Our goal is not to glorify or promote drug consumption in any way, but at the same time, we won’t reach people by lecturing them. Instead, we want to be like a friend who says: Be careful, take care of yourself.”
Wolfgang Benz, CEO of the creative agency MDCT, adds, “The Highlife Campaign combines art and social responsibility. We are proud to be part of this project that is not only artistically appealing but also conveys an important message and prompts reflection. There is no risk-free drug consumption, but it’s crucial to break down prejudices and provide resources for counselling and support.”
In a time where education and prevention are crucial, the Highlife Campaign brings more visibility and highlights the relevance of the issue. Currently, there is no nationwide drug checking offering in Germany, despite repeated efforts from campaigners. This campaign promotes an open discourse while also calling for a societal engagement with drug consumption and drug checking. The initiative questions the status quo and recognises the need for communal efforts in addiction prevention and harm reduction.
UPPERFAST is a creative production company based in Stuttgart specialising in discovering the potential of new media for fast-paced, innovative campaigns to create change and impact. They played a leading role in the planning and production process, with support from BONAPARTE Films in Berlin. The creative agency MDCT, also based in Stuttgart were responsible for the campaign roll out.
The lead roles of Sophie and Leon were portrayed by Ella Morgen and Noah Tinwa, with the photographer André Josselin providing additional expertise to the production.