On the eve of the final Vans Warped Tour, event organizers have teamed up with Australian tech company iPug to create a campaign and app to help fight the opioid crisis in the United States. The FEND (Free Energy, No Drugs) movement rests on the idea of using gamification to educate people on opioids through an app by engaging them in fun activities while influencing future behavior. Within 72 hours of its launch, 1,000 people had downloaded the app with an 81% engagement rate.
“We’re lacking basic education on opioids, opioid use, safe storage, safe usage, what is addictive,” said Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman. “With the Warped Tour, we’re hoping to establish a baseline that hopefully becomes a national program after the festival. But it is easy to fit into Warped, because I can offer prizes all summer.”
The Preventum Intiative’s FEND app allows users to sign in, choose a Warped Tour stop near them, and begin learning about opioid addiction through easy and interactive videos and questions. Having assessed the first 1,000 users of the app that was introduced at the Warped Tour 2018 launch party, FEND has seen immediate education on opioids improve on every question.
The average participant has spent 11 minutes on the app which includes 93% of users watching multiple short videos through until the end.
“To get someone to sit through 11 minutes these days is pretty good,” Lyman told Amplify. “We’re happy with the results. We’re seeing the change you can accomplish in a short period through this process. The rate of knowledge increase is staggering.”
The dedication to completing the questions and videos may come from the incentives provided by Lyman and his team. Each user is entered to win a free ticket to their closest Warped Tour spot with additional prizes throughout the gaming experience. Users can win VIP experiences like backstage acoustic sets by Waterparks or We the Kings.
“We’re just starting to talk to sponsors and partners who are on Warped, who will give you a couple dollars off shirts and other merchandise if you have the FEND app on your phone. You might get some special stuff given to you by bands. It is a rewards program,” Lyman explained.
The app begins with basic questions such as which illegal drugs are opioids most similar to and excel to questions on how to recognize an opioid overdose and what to do f you see one occurring.
“Warped Tour goes to roughly 40 cities and the discussion recently has grown more and more about opioids, about how their families have been affected, how someone they work with has been affected,” Lyman said, adding “How are we going to start working on the problem if a lot of us don’t know what the problem is or how that problem grows or how to recognize it?”
Vans Warped Tour may have announced the lineup for the last year of the traveling festival, but Lyman doesn’t plan on forgoing the FEND movement after the tour’s completion in August.
“At the end of the whole thing, we’re going to keep people going. If people continue to spread the word on the app and move it around, I’m going to produce a concert at the school or city that produces the most signups for the app in the fall,” Lyman said.
If the movement goes well, Lyman is also hoping the program will be adopted on a national level with local, state, and federal government using the platform to help solve the opioid crisis. He explained that government entities and people in the private sector have already expressed interest in growing the movement.
“I’ve seen too many people ruined by this drug and I don’t see our government doing much of anything to help with it,” Lyman said. “When Trump is telling us that we should execute drug dealers and they put Kelly Anne Conway in charge of the drug crisis, I know nothing is going to get done. I’ve always been that person, that if I don’t see something getting done, I’m at least going to try.”
Vans Warped Tour has a history of helping out communities. The traveling festival has hosted canned food drives, blood drives, and, prior to the #MeToo movement, invited A Voice For the Innocent, a community of support for those affected by rape and sex abuse, out on the road with them.
To download the app and for more information, head to WeAreFEND.org.