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Award-Winning Drug Awareness Campaign Enters Next Phase
Date:9/14/2009

MetLife Foundation and Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) Launch Public Service Radio Campaign, Offer Free Brochure, Web Resources to Help Parents Talk to their Teens

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MetLife Foundation will begin the next phase of its award-winning parenting skills campaign, airing educational messages created in cooperation with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) on radio stations in 14 markets nationwide through the end of October. The radio campaign is backed by online tools and tips for raising drug-free teens. The brochure with these tips, "Your Child Needs You," and other resources are all found at drugfree.org.

The campaign features radio messages in English and Spanish, stressing to parents the importance of talking with kids about drugs and alcohol, and staying involved in their children's lives to keep them healthy.

The 2008 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), a comprehensive annual survey of teen drug use and drug-related attitudes revealed an increase in the number of teens who reported "learning a lot" about the risks of drugs from their parents. The study showed that 37 percent of teens reported learning a lot about the risks of drugs at home up from 32 percent the previous year.

"By talking with teens about the dangers of drug abuse, parents can help them live healthy, drug-free lives," said Dennis White, president of MetLife Foundation. "This campaign reinforces the influence that parents have on teens and provides much-needed tools to help children make the right choices."

Yet, despite the encouraging news of an increase in parent-teen discussions, only 24 percent of teens report that their parents talked with them about the dangers of prescription (Rx) drug abuse or use of medications outside of a doctor's supervision; just 18 percent of teens say their parents discuss the risks of abusing over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine with them.

Reinforcing this finding is the 2008 Partnership/MetLife Foundation Parents Attitude Tracking Study, which indicated that parents are not communicating the dangers of prescription drug abuse to their children, despite a growing parental awareness of the dangers of abusing those medicines as reported in the study.

"The fact that teens report learning a lot about drugs and alcohol at home underscores the real power and influence of parents," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "Yet too many parents are still missing key opportunities to talk about the intentional abuse of prescription and OTC medications, which is the most pressing -- and least understood -- threat to our kids. This risky behavior is still not on parents' radar, many of whom don't realize that when abused or used without a prescription, these medications can be every bit as dangerous as street drugs."

"It is crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing their teens today," said Pasierb. "The MetLife Foundation campaign is an urgent wake-up call to parents that their teen is facing a drug landscape that is vastly different from when they themselves were teens, and backs up that fact with real help and useful resources. MetLife Foundation's continued support of this effective parenting skills campaign exemplifies their commitment to both substance abuse prevention and helping families have brighter futures. MetLife Foundation is making a meaningful contribution to continuing the progress our nation has seen over the past decade in significantly reducing rates of teenage drug and alcohol abuse."

As part of the campaign, messages in English will air on radio stations in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Providence, Tampa, Tulsa and Washington, DC. In Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and New York, the radio messages will also air in Spanish.

The radio messages were created pro bono in collaboration between the Partnership and New York advertising agency Prime Access. The campaign messages encourage parents to overcome their fears about talking with their kids about drugs and alcohol.

In addition to the radio messages, the campaign supports the "The Tips for Raising Drug-Free Teens" section of the Partnership's Web site. Visitors can find resources to help keep kids drug and alcohol free, along with access to advice and support from prevention experts.

Visitors to drugfree.org also can download copies of the brochure "Your Child Needs You! A guide to help your child lead a healthy drug-free life," available in English, Spanish and Chinese languages. The brochure includes information on the dangers of illicit drug use helps parents prevent drug use in their own families. Free copies are available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 877-767-8432.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children. The Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol, intervene when drug and alcohol use is present and find help for family and friends in trouble. The Partnership's site, drugfree.org, translates current research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand tips and tools and connects parents with expert advice and support. For parents who need help starting and maintaining conversations with their kids about drugs and alcohol, Time To Talk, a nationwide parents' movement, offers empowering tips and tools at TimeToTalk.org. The Partnership depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and government. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.

For over 20 years, MetLife Foundation has provided support for initiatives focusing on substance abuse prevention and education. Since 1999, the Foundation has collaborated with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America on a national public awareness campaign to help parents and caregivers communicate with children about the risks of drug use. MetLife Foundation's multimedia parenting skills campaign received the 2002 Gold Wilmer Shields Rich Award for Excellence in Communications from the Council on Foundations and the Communications Network. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.


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SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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