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MetLife Foundation Begins New Phase of Award-Winning Parenting Skills Campaign in Collaboration with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R)

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MetLife Foundation will begin the next phase of its award-winning parenting skills campaign, airing education messages created in cooperation with the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R) on radio stations in 11 markets nationwide through November. The radio campaign is backed by web resources and a free brochure for parents.

The campaign features radio messages, in both English and Spanish, which stress to parents the importance of talking with kids about drugs and alcohol, and staying involved in their children's lives in order to keep them healthy and drug free. Disturbingly, at a time when teens are faced with new threats such as the intentional abuse of prescription (Rx) painkillers and over-the- counter (OTC) cough medicines, the number of frequent discussions between parents and teens about the risks of drug abuse has decreased significantly.

The 2006 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) on parents released just last month, confirms a 12 percent decline from 2005 in the frequent discussions (four or more) between parents and their teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse (55 percent in 2005 down to 49 percent in 2006). Even more concerning is that a mere 36 percent of parents reported having in- depth conversations about abuse of prescription medications and only 33 percent have thoroughly discussed abuse of OTC cough and cold medicines with their teens.

Other recent Partnership research studies show the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicines has become an entrenched behavior in American teen culture. Nearly one in five teens (19 percent) report abusing prescription medications to get high, and one in 10 (10 percent) report abusing cough medicine to get high. Abuse of Rx and OTC medications is on par or higher than the abuse of illegal drugs such as Ecstasy (8 percent), cocaine/crack (10 percent), methamphetamine (8 percent) and heroin (5 percent).

"Right now in the U.S., there are 32 million(1) families with children at risk of abusing drugs and alcohol," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership. "Clearly there is a critical need to truly help parents feel more prepared and comfortable discussing the issues this generation of kids is facing. The need has never been greater, nor has this issue been more relevant than it is today. We want to help parents understand how things have changed and help remind them that communication is a powerful tool in helping kids make healthy choices for themselves. Parents greatly underestimate the real power they have on this issue."

Partnership research continually shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely than their peers to use drugs, yet fewer than one-third of teens, just 31 percent, say they are getting that message from their parents.

"By talking with their teens about the dangers of drug abuse, parents can help them live healthy drug-free lives," said Sibyl Jacobson, president of MetLife Foundation. "This campaign underscores the risks of drug use and reinforces the influence that parents can have on their teens by providing the tools they need to help their children make the right choices."

"It is crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing their teens today," said Pasierb. "This campaign should serve as a 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 news with help and resources. MetLife Foundation's continued support of this effective parenting skills campaign exemplifies their steadfast commitment to substance-abuse prevention by reaching out to parents and helping them protect their kids. MetLife Foundation is making a significant contribution to promoting healthy lives and drug-free living for families across the country."

As part of the campaign, messages in English will air on radio stations in New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Hartford/New Haven, Providence, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Pittsburgh. In Miami, New York and Chicago, the radio messages will also air in Spanish.

In addition to the radio messages, the campaign supports the parents/caregivers section of the Partnership's Web site ( Visitors can find tips and resources there to help them keep their kids drug and alcohol free, along with access to advice and support from prevention experts.

Visitors to 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. The brochure includes information on the dangers of illicit drug use and serves as a resource to help parents prevent drug use among their children and is also available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.

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.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization uniting communications professionals, renowned scientists and parents. Best known for its national drug-education campaign, the Partnership's mission is to reduce illicit drug use in America. Now in its 20th year, the Partnership helps parents and caregivers effectively address drug and alcohol abuse with their children. A major new initiative now unfolding integrates the latest science and research with the most effective traditional media and digital communication techniques to give parents the tools, resources and support they need to help their children lead healthy lives. This effort -- the first ever for the Partnership -- will include a web-based interactive information resource center, parent-to-parent support network, a national toll-free call center and user-friendly online/offline tools. The Partnership depends on donations and support from individuals, corporations, foundations and government. The Partnership thanks SAG/AFTRA 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 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

(1) US Census 2000, Parents with children ages 8-17

SOURCE The Partnership for a Drug-Free America
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