Film to be released on the 10-year anniversary of Harris Marquesano’s death by accidental overdose in support of the harris project’s mission to help the more than 20 million Americans who suffer from COD

NEW YORK, Oct. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ – the harris project, a national organization that raises awareness, advances prevention, and supports the implementation of integrated treatment for teens and young adults with or at risk of developing co-occurring disorders (COD), launched a powerful PSA film that addresses the dangers and threats of self-medication with drugs and alcohol for those with underlying mental health conditions. The 3-minute film portrays a seemingly innocent drinking game that quickly escalates to unveil the dangerous intersect between substance use and mental health as told through the chaotic inner monologue of one young girl as she struggles.

the harris project was founded by Stephanie Marquesano following the accidental overdose death of her 19-year-old son Harris, who had an anxiety disorder and ADHD. Harris turned first to marijuana and later to prescription medications in an attempt to cope and manage. Harris had been discharged from a program and sober living environment about 36 hours before his death on October 23, 2013 – the rehabilitation system failed to properly address his COD. Based on Harris’s story, the organization was created to improve outcomes around COD.

“Research shows that 1 in 2 people with substance use issues also struggle with mental health challenges*,” said Marquesano. “The goal of this campaign is to bring to life the intricacies of co-occurring disorders, greatly impacting the work I am doing to help young people, their families, school districts, and communities understand the link between substance misuse and mental health challenges.”

The film, written by Havas New York, was shot by renowned director Daniel Wolfe, known for his bold, subversive work in commercials, films, and music videos. Wolfe, along with the entire production crew and the lead actress in the film, have themselves struggled with mental health and substance misuse in real life.

“The story needed to relate across a wide range of experiences,” said Wolfe. “I hope anyone who sees themselves in this film is able to find the help that didn’t exist for many of us when we were young. Having struggled with mental health and substance addiction for the majority of my life, I am honored to partner with the harris project on such a significant and important campaign.”

Approximately 20 million Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for COD each year.** Research suggests 1 in 2 people misusing substances also struggle with mental health challenges. The goal of the harris project is to be the voice of those with COD and bring COD out of the shadows and into the light.

The film will be shown to policymakers in Washington, DC and has the support of social media influencers. the harris project hopes the film not only raises awareness for co-occurring disorders but also jumpstarts system transformation nationwide.

The campaign was developed in partnership with creative agency, Havas New York, and production company, Love Song. The agency will roll out an integrated campaign that includes social and digital to accompany the film throughout the month of November. Watch the full 3-minute PSA here.

*National Child Traumatic Stress Network

**2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

About the harris project

the harris project is the only national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing prevention programming, implementing integrated treatment modalities, and building a system of care designed to improve the lives of teens and young adults with, or at risk of developing, co-occurring disorders (COD). COD is the combination of one or more mental health challenges and substance misuse/addiction. With the goal of transforming the national perception and management of COD, the harris project strives to educate and empower youth and their adult supports through its CODA (Co-Occurring Disorders Awareness) programming, while working to ensure that agencies and providers have the necessary infrastructure and competency to meet the complex needs of the individual.  Learn more at 

About Havas New York

Havas New York is one of 60+ full-service Villages and the North American flagship agency of Havas Creative, a powerful network of creative agencies with the most modern capabilities and talent people in the business. At Havas New York, we are a creative company with soul, breaking tradition in our category to help progressive marketers speak the modern language of advertising through culture, design, and technology–creating better, more meaningful brand experiences. Creatives are creators who deliver work designed to raise consciousness and inspire conversation in the real world, not the advertising space. Learn more at our website,

the harris project (CNW Group/Havas New York)

the harris project (CNW Group/Havas New York)

the harris project (CNW Group/Havas New York)

the harris project (CNW Group/Havas New York)

the harris project (CNW Group/Havas New York)

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SOURCE Havas New York

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