Contact: Becky Iannotta, becky.iannotta@madd.org

IRVING, TX (October 4, 2018) – Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) and national presenting sponsor State Farm® are encouraging all teens to #ProtectUrSquad this month by making a pledge to not drink alcohol under age 21. Teens can promote the #ProtectUrSquad hashtag on social media and enter a nationwide sweepstakes for a chance to win $500 toward an alcohol-free party throughout the month of October.

#ProtectUrSquad is part of MADD’s Power of You(th)® program, sponsored by State Farm, to empower teens to make smart, healthy choices and resist peer pressure to drink before age 21. As part of Power of You(th)®, MADD joins its partners around the country to host school and community events and highlight tips and real-life examples of underage drinking consequences from MADD’s teen booklet and on the powerofyouth.com website.

“Underage drinking is an epidemic that causes 4,300 deaths a year,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose 18-year-old son Dustin was killed as a passenger in a crash caused by a teen drunk and drugged driver. “We must help our youth understand that the choices they make can impact their future and stay with them their entire lives. MADD is grateful to State Farm for helping save young lives by educating and encouraging teens to avoid underage drinking.”

This year’s focus, #ProtectUrSquad, is about encouraging youth groups to support each other by agreeing as a group to avoid underage drinking and never ride with someone who has been drinking. Groups can enter the nationwide $500 sweepstakes to use towards an alcohol-free party by snapping a photo with the Power of You(th) teen booklets or other Power of You(th) materials and posting on social media with #ProtectUrSquad. The sweepstakes continues through October.

“State Farm is proud to support MADD and the Power of You(th) in their efforts to help keep teens safe,” said Justin Davis, Manager – Technology Research at State Farm. “We encourage teens to take a stand by sharing positive messages, engaging their high schools and supporting their friends, and helping to promote safe and healthy communities.”

Research shows:

  • From 2006-2010, alcohol was a factor in an average of 492 suicides, 1,269 homicides, 245 reports of death from alcohol poisoning, falls, burns or drowning, and 1,580 deaths from motor vehicle crashes of people under the age of 21 each year.
  • Even if no death occurs, teens can get seriously hurt by drinking alcohol. In 2011, 188,000 people under the age of 21 visited an emergency room because of alcohol related injuries.
  • Young people who begin drinking at 15 are 6 times more likely to become alcohol dependent or even abuse alcohol later in life.
  • Adolescents are more vulnerable to alcohol-induced brain damage, which contributes to poor performance at school and in future jobs.
  • Students who binge drink are more likely to do poorly in school, be victims of dating violence as well as participate in dangerous activities such as riding with a drunk driver, smoke cigarettes or cigars underage, and attempt suicide.

“This month and always, MADD wants teens to keep themselves safe by not drinking under 21, and to always find a non-drinking designated driver to get them home safely,” Sheehey-Church said.

View the Power of You(th) booklet and learn more at www.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 350,000 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.

About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its nearly 19,000 agents and approximately 65,000 employees serve approximately 83 million policies and accounts – approximately 81 million auto, fire, life, health and commercial policies and approximately 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business ownersboats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 36 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.