Drug overdoses killed more than 63,000 Americans in 2016, and those numbers are only rising, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to raise awareness of this epidemic, the National Safety Council (NSC) has partnered with the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Executive Office of the President to bring the traveling exhibit wall Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis to Washington, D.C., on April 12–18.
Located in the Ellipse of President's Park across Constitution Avenue NW from the Washington Monument, the U-shaped exhibit wall is 8 feet tall with 20.5-foot-long wings and a 23.5-foot-long feature wall. The memorial is decorated with 22,000 white "pills," each of which is engraved with a face meant to represent "someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in 2015," according to a NSC press release. President Donald Trump made the initial announcement of the memorial's latest location via a Tweet last month.
The NSC officially launched the memorial last November in Chicago after working with local creative agency Energy BBDO and other partners on the design. Production company M ss ng P eces and Hypen-Labs were responsible for the 3D printing, employing a combination of additive and subtractive manufacturing to create the individual faces using resin molds.
"A new pill was carved with a face every 24 minutes live in the memorial to represent that every 24 minutes someone dies from a prescription opioid overdose," Energy BBDO creative director Michael Shirley says.
"3D printing allowed us to rapidly prototype so we could make decisions and understand the best resolution, size, and form before going into production," say experiential directors Hyphen-Labs.
In order to facilitate easy transport, the modular wall was manufactured to accommodate a snap-in assembly of the "pills."
Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis will be on view from April 12–18 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.