DALLAS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) and National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide are encouraging parents to talk with their teens about the consequences of drinking before age 21 and to take part in the #PowerTalk21Challenge focused on 21 ways to engage your teen in 2021. MADD will launch 21 creative ways for parents to initiate connection and conversation with their kids through interactive, fun activities on April 21.
The #PowerTalk21Challenge is intended to continue the connections made during quarantine as the nation reopens and many families across America begin to return to their pre-pandemic school and work activities. There has been a reduction in underage drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having less opportunities to drink and more time connecting as a family, kids have benefited from more protection from substance use. Experts warn, however, that as social activities resume, teen alcohol and drug consumption could spike. But there is good news. Research also shows that adolescents who are more connected with their parents, for example, attending family dinners more frequently, are less likely to drink alcohol or use other drugs among other risk factors.
“Throughout the pandemic we have witnessed that parents are a bigger influence on their teens than they might think,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “We want to support and encourage parents to continue to be intentional about connecting with their teens as they resume activities outside of their homes. We know that when parents and their teens are connecting, they are more likely to engage in meaningful conversations, particularly those pertaining to alcohol and other drugs.”
“Nationwide is honored to partner with MADD to empower parents to talk to their children about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and drug use,” said MADD National Board Member Martha Frye, Nationwide’s Senior Vice President of Personal Lines Claims. “The Power of Parents campaign is an excellent resource to help parents start and continue these crucial conversations. As a company committed to protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care, there is no more important work that aligns with our values than to keep drivers and passengers safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each year and can lead to early addiction as well as many other dangerous outcomes. In addition, marijuana is the leading cause of substance dependence other than alcohol in the United States.
In observation of Alcohol Awareness Month in April and Teen Driver Safety Month in May, MADD has designated April 1 through May 31 as PowerTalk21® Season. This time of year presents multiple milestones such as prom, graduation and the start of summer break that may bring an increased presence of alcohol and other drugs for teens and young adults under 21. During this time, MADD staff and volunteers across the country will host events in their communities and online to provide resources and information to parents about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.
“We remain grateful to Nationwide for their long-standing commitment to MADD’s mission. This program truly would not have been possible without their support,” said Otte in consideration of the 10-year Anniversary of the Power of Parents® program.
Beginning April 21, MADD will share 21 creative ways to engage your teen throughout 2021 on social media. The #PowerTalk21Challenge ’21 Ways to Engage’ will also feature Dr. Robert Turrisi, PhD, Penn State professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research Center, providing guidance on how to leverage these connection points to open dialogue into difficult but essential topics like underage drinking and drug use. Parents can enter the #PowerTalk21Challenge by following MADD on Facebook (@MADD.Official), Instagram (@mothersagainstdrunkdriving), and Twitter (@MADDOnline).
PowerTalk 21® is a part of MADD’s Power of Parents® program, based on research by Dr. Turrisi, that empowers parents of middle school and high school students to have ongoing, intentional conversations about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and drug use. Parents can download free Power of Parents® handbooks for parents of middle school and high school students at www.madd.org/powerofparents.
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 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. 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 madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide provides a full range of insurance and financial services products including auto, business, homeowners, farm and life insurance; public and private sector retirement plans, annuities and mutual funds; excess & surplus, specialty and surety; pet, motorcycle and boat insurance. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.