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MADD Empowers Students to Protect Themselves and Their Friends Against Pressure To Use Alcohol and Other Drugs

DALLAS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is encouraging all teens to take extra care of themselves and their friends while coping with the unexpected disruptions and challenges caused by the pandemic. As part of MADD’s Power of You(th)® program, MADD is working with teens, parents and communities to empower teens to make smart, healthy choices and resist pressure to drink or consume marijuana before age 21.


As part of its annual Power of You(th)© campaign, MADD will host school and community events — virtually and in-person where possible — to highlight tips and real-life examples of consequences of underage drinking and drug use. MADD will distribute Power of You(th)© booklets, which also can be found on the powerofyouth.com website.

This year’s focus, #ProtectUrSelfie and #ProtectUrFriends, is about encouraging teens to avoid alcohol and drugs, focus on positive outlets for coping with stress and watch for warning signs that friends might be struggling.

“My 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie often worked off her stress by rollerblading,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “I’ll never forget her last words to me, ‘Don’t worry, Mom. I cross on crosswalks and stay on the bike path.’ However, that day another girl in our neighborhood, only 17 years old, made the horrible decision to work off her stress with shots of tequila and marijuana. While my daughter took her usual rollerblade route around our neighborhood, her killer decided to get behind the wheel and drive. Her choice ended my daughter’s life, shattered mine and led her to prison. Underage drinking and drug use has life changing repercussions.”

Throughout the month of October, which is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, MADD will feature teens on social media sharing vital tips about how they are keeping themselves and their friends safe and away from the dangers of alcohol and drug use. MADD will use the hashtags #ProtectUrSelfie, #ProtectUrFriends and #copingwithcovid and encourage teens to use them as well to keep the conversation going.

“The fact is most teens do avoid drugs and alcohol,” Witty said. “We want to highlight them and promote their strategies for safe and healthy living. I strongly believe their messages and our tools for teens can change — and save — lives.”

For more information on MADD’s Power of You(th)® program, request a presentation and download an activation toolkit, visit powerofyouth.com.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 390,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by 53 percent, and educate parents and teens on making safe choices. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders, advanced vehicle technology, and designating a non-drinking driver. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, 202.600.2032, [email protected]

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