Television can both entertain and educate. That’s what Joanna Johnson learned from her days working for the late William J. Bell on The Bold and the Beautiful, the CBS soap on which she played Caroline and later her twin, Karen.
Now, the actress-turned-TV executive producer/writer of primetime’s Good Trouble is utilizing the medium to do the same.
Joanna Johnson: Teaching A Hard Lesson
In the episode that aired this week, titled Clapback, characters took on the opioid crisis and then cast members appeared in a PSA shown on the program’s official Twitter account.
“You can’t trust where these pills are coming from or what is in them,” Callie (Maia Mitchell) warned her brother Jude (guest star Hayden Byerly). “Dealers are lacing everything — coke, meth, even weed with fentanyl to get people addicted to opioids and it only takes the tiniest dose — like the equivalent of a couple of grains of sand to kill you.
“You pass out, and you stop breathing,” Callie warned her brother. “It is not worth risking your life. You have to swear to me you will not use anything.”
For Johnson, this was a story that tragically cut close to home. “[This episode] was dedicated to my niece Kelly Shae Johnson who died of a fatal dose of fentanyl,” Johnson posted. “Please be careful. If you missed it you can watch on the @FreeformTV app or @hulu.”
“There’s actually no proof that dealers are doctoring up bags of marijuana regularly,” Mitchell said in a PSA, “but, my character, Callie, is right to be a little paranoid…[Opioid addiction] kills more people than car crashes, HIV, and gun violence…the thing about opioids, which originally come from poppy plants, is that they are very expensive to produce, so to maximize profits, dealers had to get creative [by using fentanyl, a man-made opiod] up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.”
Good Trouble is executive produced by Johnson, Peter Paige (Emmett, Queer as Folk), and Bradley Bredeweg. The series, a spinoff of the critically acclaimed The Fosters, airs on Freeform on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Freeform.
Last night’s ep @GoodTrouble was dedicated to my neice Kelly Shae Johnson who died of a fatal dose of fentanyl. Please be careful. If you missed it you can watch on the @FreeformTV app or @hulu.
— Joanna Johnson (@JoannaJohnson31) January 16, 2020
America is facing a drug epidemic unlike anything we’ve ever seen. _______________________________
In this week’s Good Trouble x @ATTN:’s “The Trouble With” episode, we’re talking about a silent killer in the ongoing opioid crisis: fentanyl. pic.twitter.com/FlsD80GJV0
— Good Trouble (@GoodTrouble) January 16, 2020