NYS Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services Unveils Talk2Prevent Campaign; Dangers of Underage & Binge Drinking, Drugs During Prom Season

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services today announced the launch of the latest phase of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Talk2Prevent education campaign, an initiative focused on preventing underage and binge ...

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Effort urges parents to talk to children about health risks, risk for addiction, especially during prom and graduation season.

Photo by: Talk 2 Prevent, via Facebook.

Albany, NY - May 10, 2016 - The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services today announced the launch of the latest phase of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Talk2Prevent education campaign, an initiative focused on preventing underage and binge drinking and illicit drug use ahead of prom and graduation season. The statewide campaign includes a new radio public service announcement and digital ads urging parents to have regular discussions about alcohol and drug use and the importance of making a plan with their child on how to exit situations involving drinking or drug use.

“Graduation and prom are major milestones for students and their families, and they should be happy occasions,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, who was at Riverhead High School in Riverhead, Long Island today to officially launch the Talk2Prevent campaign. “These celebrations can have lethal consequences if they involve alcohol or drugs. This campaign urges parents and guardians to have open, regular discussions, in advance of these milestone events, so that our young people know just how dangerous these substances can be and they can do their part to keep themselves and their friends safe during this time of year.”

The new Talk2Prevent Radio PSA will also play on Spanish radio stations. The campaign also includes coffee sleeves that remind parents and adults to talk with teens about underage drinking and substance use. These will be distributed at select coffee shops in areas with high admission rates for young people seeking alcohol addiction treatment. Placemats with the same message will be displayed at select restaurants in those same areas. Posters that say, “The way you talk to your child becomes their inner voice” and that “alcohol and drugs have no place in a healthy childhood,” are available on the Talk2Prevent website for downloading and use in schools and communities.

The Talk2Prevent website also includes 10 examples of effective pre-prom and graduation prevention strategies that local schools and communities have used to help keep young people alcohol- and drug-free at these events. On the website, prevention providers and schools around the state share the creative and unique drug and alcohol prevention strategies that can be replicated at other schools and in other communities. Riverhead High School’s pre-prom activities, including busing students to the prom and hosting a red carpet picture taking event, were held up at the event today as great examples of community involvement in keeping kids safe.

The Talk2Prevent campaign aims to help to reverse the following statistics:

  • 75 percent of high school seniors in New York State have used alcohol. (OASAS Youth Development Survey 2014-15 Report)
  • 24 percent of high school juniors and seniors engaged in binge drinking during the past 2 weeks (OASAS Youth Development Survey 2014-15 Report)
  • One in 10 teens say they have driven under the influence of alcohol during the summer. (Liberty Mutual/SADD, 2013)
  • 22 percent of 7th - 12th graders have smoked marijuana. (OASAS Youth Development Survey 2014-15 Report)
  • 5 percent of students in grades 7th - 12th have used a prescription pain reliever non-medically. (OASAS Youth Development Survey 2014-15 Report)

OASAS, DMV and the State Liquor Authority, as members of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, continue to spearhead several initiatives at the Governor’s direction to deter underage drinking and keep New York’s roadways safe, namely through DMV’s “No Empty Chair” campaign and SLA’s “No Excuses” campaign.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Executive Deputy Commissioner and Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Acting Chair Terri Egan said, “While it is important year round to urge all New Yorkers to drive free of impairment by drugs or alcohol, it is especially critical to raise awareness among teens during prom and graduation season. If not careful, an exciting time in their lives can be quickly ruined by one bad decision. We work each day to prevent impaired driving and underage drinking, and through our Operation Prevent initiative, we deter the use of fake IDs to purchase alcohol. Keeping New Yorkers safe is our top priority, which is why we are happy to partner with OASAS on this important campaign.”

“As underage drinking far too often results in tragic outcomes, there is no more important priority for the State Liquor Authority than preventing the sale of alcohol to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “New York State agencies are committed to working collaboratively to prevent and reduce underage alcohol use by conducting aggressive enforcement actions, offering educational opportunities, and launching proactive campaigns like Talk2prevent targeting parents who exercise significant influence over their children’s decisions.”

New Yorkers can find help for addiction and hope by calling the State’s toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or by texting HOPENY (467369). New Yorkers can find an OASAS-certified substance use disorder treatment provider any time by using the OASAS Bed Availability Dashboard. For help accessing care and insurance coverage, New Yorkers can visit the Access Treatment page on the OASAS website. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s Younger Driver Tool Kit offers additional tips for keeping young people safe while behind the wheel.