‘Heroin Hits Home:’ PSA or Political Ad?

SCRANTON -- Television commercials, billboard ads, and a web page from the “Heroin Hits Home” campaign all feature Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon, who will be running for election next year.

It raises the question: are they public service announcements or political ads?

The commercials are gripping and powerful, and then the Lackawanna County district attorney appears.

“I think we have to start with the understanding that I am the district attorney,” Scanlon said.

Scanlon says this isn't the first time a prosecutor in Lackawanna County put their faces on initiatives.

He showed a decade of anti-drug and alcohol calendars featuring his predecessor Andrew Jarbola, now a common pleas court judge.

But this $50,000 campaign funded with money from drug arrests features TV ads that broadcast Scanlon into thousands of living rooms.

An email obtained by Newswatch 16 shows an ad agency executive writing Scanlon, saying, “Do not want to miss an opportunity for residents to experience a direct connection to you, your name, your face, your brand as soon as possible.”

“It’s the district attorney saying, ‘People are dying.’ We lose someone here every five days. I need people to know that if they need help, we’re willing to help them," Scanlon said.

“It’s a very fine line that one’s walking within this particular commercial,” said David Sosar, a political science professor at King's College.

Sosar says the ads give Scanlon a head start over anyone else running for district attorney next year.

“Why is this particular individual being selected to be the voice and to be the face of this particular project when there are others out there that would and could be considered much less political?” Sosar added.

“That’s the most pressing problem right now is the heroin addiction and the people that need the help. The overdoses. That’s the number one topic that we should be focusing on,” said Lisa Tricarico of Wilkes-Barre.

Scanlon says he doesn’t care what his critics think.

“If I could save lives, if I could save a life, there’s nothing that could stop me from doing this.”

Scanlon says if he wanted to use a publicly funded ad campaign to improve his chances of getting elected, he’d talk tough on law and order and avoid the issue of addiction.

9 comments

  • lookback

    It’s an ad showing the effects of addiction. It’s a shame, these poor politicians are unable to control their incessant need for more and more attention, they need their faces posted on billboards and on TV commercials. They can’t help it, they need their fix of feeling as if they are the saviors of humanity. Poor creatures, the only rehab for them is to get booted out of their cushy government (same govt. they hate so much) job and into the real world of work. Poor guy, maybe we can do a go fund me for him and make a recording that simply repeats, I am wonderful, I am your savior, I am great, everyone loves me, and the DA can loop it and listen to it 24/7, remember folks, politicians addicted to self serving attention is a serious issue.

  • magicmikexxsm

    So let me get this straight this Scanlon dude is a Republican??? right…….so some democrat liberal puke face probably got their panties all bunched up, and complained to Left wing WNEP TV 16 to do a story on it……doesn’t matter if it’s political or not, the guy doesn’t say he’s a DNC or GOP member….and if 1 drug user see his ad and calls for help, then its all worth it…..

  • Hunter

    It’s a lot of political fear mongering. This DA hasn’t done a thing for addicts in the area except take their money and lock them away. Keeping the prison filled and funding county salaries is his MO. Treating the addiction would save more individuals and their families.

    • WTH

      We had three addicts in our family who were ALL in treatment more than once. They are ALL still addicts. The trouble with current treatment is that it’s too short, and too voluntary. There needs to be a way that after the first and especially the second, third, 100th relapse that they don’t get to walk out…the alternative in some cases such as these is and has been prison. But many people object to this option.

  • laura

    definitely political and i hope it blows up in his face. if it were anything but politics he would have done it sooner. it will also backfire on him with the people who already realize they can’t be helped and it will just waste more tax payer money

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