~ New Campaign Inspired by “Shelby Allen Story” ~
~ Complementary Parent Effort to Help Curb Underage Drinking ~
May 17, 2016, NEW YORK – The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids today launched #GotYourBack, a peer-to-peer action campaign that raises awareness among teens about the risks of binge drinking and empowers teens to help a friend who may be in trouble from drinking too much alcohol. The new initiative is designed for teens and young adults ages 12-24 and is part of the Above the Influence program, coordinated and run by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
#GotYourBack helps teens identify the signs of alcohol poisoning and empowers them to take action to help a friend – and even save a life. The campaign helps teens recognize when a friend is in real trouble and urges teens to call 911 and not let friends just “sleep it off.” Teens are encouraged to make a pact with their friends, promising to call an adult or get emergency medical attention if a friend is unresponsive from drinking too much alcohol.
“Being a good friend means having your friend’s back. Most everyone knows drinking too much alcohol can be dangerous, but not everyone recognizes when a friend really needs help. That, coupled with the fear of getting in trouble with their parents, can prevent teens from making the call that could save a friend’s life,” said Kristi Rowe, Chief Marketing Officer for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “With #GotYourBack, we are urging teens to do the right thing: to know the facts about binge drinking, make a pact with their friends to call 911 and get help if their friend exhibits the signs of alcohol poisoning.”
“Shelby Allen Could Have Been Saved if She Had Gotten Help Sooner”
One of the inspirations for the #GotYourBack initiative was Shelby Allen, a 17-year-old girl who died from alcohol poisoning after a night of binge drinking with other underage teens. Shelby was “partying” at a friend’s house and the night culminated in Shelby drinking 15 shots of vodka and never waking up again. Shelby was unresponsive and her friends hesitated to call an adult for help for fear of getting in trouble, so they let her “sleep it off.” By the time one of Shelby’s friends contacted an adult, the call to 911 was too late and Shelby had died.
“Shelby was the daughter any parent would be proud of. She was kind, talented and smart, but unfortunately she didn’t know about the dangers of binge drinking and we didn’t know to teach her,” said Debbie Allen, Shelby’s mother. “That’s why we created ‘Shelby’s Rules,’ to help educate students and parents about the risks of alcohol poisoning. We are so happy to collaborate with the Partnership on the #GotYourBack platform that will help educate families across the country on this important, lifesaving issue.”
“Tragic stories like that of Shelby’s are heartbreaking because most often, the bystander, the friend, has good intentions. They ‘think’ they are helping their friend if they let her sleep it off or they ‘think’ there’s nothing to worry about because she’s already gotten sick,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, President and CEO for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “We know that too in the season of parties with prom and graduation, so this is a critical time for parents and caregivers to have an open, honest dialogue with their kids about the dangers of binge drinking – a behavior that could lead that could lead to alcohol poisoning and other serious consequences, including death.”
Parents Have a Role in Curbing Underage Drinking
Policies like Good Samaritan Laws, which encourage people to call 911 when someone is overdosing or suffering from alcohol poisoning, are currently in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The Partnership is working to raise awareness about these laws among parents and caregivers, encouraging them to support legislation which provides limited legal immunity for those who call for help, as well as for the person who is overdosing, in all 50 states.
Parents can also help curb teen drinking by not participating in social hosting, which can have serious consequences for adults involved. Social hosting laws hold adults responsible if teens drink on their property, even if the adults claim they were unaware that underage drinking was taking place.
“We often hear parents say things like ‘I’d rather have my kid drinking in my house than driving around drunk.’ However, parents need to understand that they can be legally liable if a teen is drinking alcohol in their home,” said Courtney Hunter, Director of Advocacy, for Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “For this reason and many others we are encouraging parents to understand what the social hosting laws are within their state and to have conversations with their teen so that they call for help in an emergency situation.”
More on the Above the Influence Program
The Above the Influence program, now entering its ninth year, has been proven effective in reducing teen substance abuse. Its positive impact has been documented in several studies published in respected peer-reviewed journals including American Journal of Public Health and Prevention Science. The #GotYourBack campaign will be featured on Above the Influence’s website and social networks that boast a combined reach of approximately 2 million teens.
To learn more about Above the Influence, please visit abovetheinfluence.com.