For most students, prom is supposed to be one of the life’s most treasured events. It’s the one night of year when everyone looks their best and everyone gets to celebrate with their friends before moving on to college and other destinations. For far too many students in Long Island, however, prom night is tragically synonymous with legal troubles and even fatal car accidents due to drinking. Three quarters of all high school seniors regularly engage in binge drinking and 10 percent admit to driving under the influence. While it’s meant to be celebratory time, prom night can quickly turn into a nightmare for parents.
The New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services is looking to reverse this trend by implementing a new initiative geared toward raising awareness of the heightened risk of underage drinking during prom season. It is the latest phase of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Talk2Prevent education campaign, a multimedia effort developed to engage parents to speak with their children about the dangerous realities of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The campaign consists of radio public service announcements as well as digital advertising to remind parents to remain vigilant. Print advertising targeted toward parents is delivered on coffee sleeves, placements and posters reminding parents to engage their children regularly to assess the likelihood of substance abuse.
Talk2Prevent hopes to show parents that they have more power than they realize in preventing their children in getting caught up in drug or alcohol abuse. Posters bare the message: “The way you talk to your child becomes their inner voice” empowering parents to be constant positive force in their kids’ lives. 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.