More Than One in Five Parents Feel Ill-Equipped to Prevent Kids From Trying Drugs and Alcohol

MetLife Foundation and Partnership for a Drug-Free America® Launch Next Phase of Public Service Radio Campaign, Offer Free Brochure and Web Resources to Help Parents Talk with their Teens

NEW YORK, Sept. 14 – New survey data from Partnership for a Drug-Free America® and MetLife Foundation finds that more than one in five parents feel unable to prevent their kids from trying drugs and alcohol. To help motivate and equip parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of substance abuse, the two organizations are focusing the next phase of their award-winning radio campaign, which kicks off today, on better preparing parents on ways to safeguard their kids from the risks of drug and alcohol use.

To begin an ongoing conversation, the Partnership and MetLife Foundation’s parenting skills campaign will air educational messages on radio stations in local markets nationwide through the end of October. The campaign is backed by online tools and tips for raising drug-free teens. A brochure containing helpful tips, called “Your Child Needs You,” and other resources are also being made available. All can be found at

Parents Need Help Responding to Recent Increases in Teen Drug Use

The new data comes from the 2009 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS), sponsored by MetLife Foundation, which found more than one in five parents feel there is little they can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs (22 percent) and alcohol (27 percent). The survey also found only two in five parents (39 percent) feel strongly that they could immediately stop their kids from using drugs once they’ve started. PATS data released earlier this year also confirmed marked increases in teen use of alcohol, Ecstasy and marijuana, namely those substances that teens are most likely to encounter is social situations. The need for parents to play a more active role in helping protect their kids from dangerous behaviors posed by the use of drugs and alcohol is underscored in the campaign.

“It’s crucial that we help parents understand the threats facing teens today, help them be more confident about their ability to make a difference, and equip them with useful resources, which is the purpose of this campaign,” said Steve Pasierb, president of the Partnership. “What many parents may not realize is that they, not athletes, movie stars or popular music artists, are in fact the biggest influence in the lives of their children. Kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not get that critical message from their parents.”

The campaign features radio messages in English and Spanish, stressing the importance of talking with kids about drugs and alcohol to parents, encouraging them to overcome their fears about starting a dialogue with kids about these dangerous behaviors, and motivating parents to stay involved in their children’s lives to keep them healthy. Messages in English will air on radio stations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Providence, San Francisco/Oakland, Tampa and Tulsa. In Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio, the radio messages will also air in Spanish.

“By talking with teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol use, parents can help protect their kids and keep them safe,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “Parents strongly influence the decisions teens make and this campaign provides much-needed tools to help parents feel better equipped to discuss this important health issue with their kids.”

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 and 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.