NEW YORK, Sept. 24 MetLife Foundation willbegin the next phase of its award-winning parenting skills campaign, airingeducation messages created in cooperation with the nonprofit Partnership for aDrug-Free America(R) on radio stations in 11 markets nationwide throughNovember. The radio campaign is backed by web resources and a free brochurefor parents.
The campaign features radio messages, in both English and Spanish, whichstress 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 healthyand drug free. Disturbingly, at a time when teens are faced with new threatssuch as the intentional abuse of prescription (Rx) painkillers and over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines, the number of frequent discussions betweenparents and teens about the risks of drug abuse has decreased significantly.
The 2006 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) on parents releasedjust last month, confirms a 12 percent decline from 2005 in the frequentdiscussions (four or more) between parents and their teens about the dangersof 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 33percent have thoroughly discussed abuse of OTC cough and cold medicines withtheir teens.
Other recent Partnership research studies show the abuse of prescriptionand over-the-counter medicines has become an entrenched behavior in Americanteen culture. Nearly one in five teens (19 percent) report abusingprescription medications to get high, and one in 10 (10 percent) reportabusing cough medicine to get high. Abuse of Rx and OTC medications is on paror higher than the abuse of illegal drugs such as Ecstasy (8 percent),cocaine/crack (10 percent), methamphetamine (8 percent) and heroin (5percent).
"Right now in the U.S., there are 32 million(1) families with children atrisk of abusing drugs and alcohol," said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO ofthe Partnership. "Clearly there is a critical need to truly help parents feelmore prepared and comfortable discussing the issues this generation of kids isfacing. The need has never been greater, nor has this issue been morerelevant than it is today. We want to help parents understand how things havechanged and help remind them that communication is a powerful tool in helpingkids make healthy choices for themselves. Parents greatly underestimate thereal power they have on this issue."
Partnership research continually shows that kids who learn a lot about therisks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely than their peers touse drugs, yet fewer than one-third of teens, just 31 percent, say they aregetting that message from their parents.
"By talking with their teens about the dangers of drug abuse, parents canhelp them live healthy drug-free lives," said Sibyl Jacobson, president ofMetLife Foundation. "This campaign underscores the risks of drug use andreinforces the influence that parents can have on their teens by providing thetools they need to help their children make the right choices."
"It is crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing theirteens today," said Pasierb. "This campaign should serve as a wake-up call toparents that their teen is facing a drug landscape that is vastly differentfrom when they themselves were teens, and backs up that news with help andresources. MetLife Foundation's continued support of this effective parentingskills campaign exemplifies their steadfast commitment to substance-abuseprevention by reaching out to parents and helping them protect their kids.MetLife Foundation is making a significant contribution to promoting healthylives and drug-free living for families across the country."
As part of the cam