MADD Canada

MADD Canada

September 09, 2013 10:15 ET

MADD Canada and LCBO Launch Smashed to Ontario Students

New School Assembly Program educates Ontario teens about the dangers of drinking and driving

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 9, 2013) - The word "smashed" will take on a whole new meaning for students who see MADD Canada's 2013-2014 School Assembly Program.

Emotional and realistic, MADD Canada's new program, called Smashed, demonstrates just how easily and quickly a night of partying can turn to tragedy when someone makes the wrong decision. MADD Canada and Ontario provincial partner LCBO officially kicked off the Ontario tour of Smashed today with a special screening for students and staff of Leaside High School in Toronto. Thanks to the support of LCBO customers and staff, 1,050 presentations of Smashed and its French companion program, Impact, will be delivered to a half million students in schools throughout the province, at absolutely no charge to the schools.

Smashed shows how characters Natalie, Pete and Kelly ditch a school dance to go to a house party with Johnny. Once there, Natalie starts drinking. When Johnny, who has also been drinking, leaves the party to get pot, a drunken Natalie makes the terrible decision to go with him. Kelly and Pete do everything they can to stop Natalie from getting in the car but she won't listen. Kelly calls 911 and then she and Pete get in her car to follow their friend. What happens next is a nightmare that none of the young friends could ever have dreamed. The fictional story is then followed by real-life stories of three people who are victims of impaired driving.

"Smashed portrays a very difficult, yet very real, scenario for teens," said MADD Canada's National President Denise Dubyk. "It shows students how quickly one person's decisions can cause a situation to spin wildly out of control and affect not only themselves, but their friends and others around them. We want students to think about and take precautions to protect themselves and their friends and help prevent impaired driving incidents from happening on our roads."

Teens and young adults are over-represented in impaired driving crashes. Youth between 16 and 25 years old represented just 13.7 per cent of the population in 2009 but they accounted for nearly a third (31.1 per cent) of all alcohol-related road crash deaths. MADD Canada's School Assembly Program reinforces the fact that every single one of the deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving is entirely preventable.

"This combination of a fictional scenario that resonates with youth, along with very real and emotional accounts of actual impaired driving victims, reaches students in a direct and impactful way," said Ms. Dubyk. "We are incredibly grateful to these courageous individuals for talking about their experiences, and we thank LCBO customers and employees for their support in helping us share these stories with students all across the province."

"LCBO encourages students to make responsible choices and thanks to our generous customers and staff, we raised a new record of $1.47 million for MADD Canada and its School Assembly Program," said Bob Peter, LCBO President & CEO. "These funds help prevent impaired driving among Ontario youth and ensure that half a million students will see this program at no cost to schools."

Selling alcohol responsibly is central to the LCBO. Staff challenged 7.8 million people in 2012-13, for failing to produce valid I.D., appearing intoxicated or attempting to purchase for a minor or an impaired individual. Service was refused to more than 322,000 people, with 84 per cent for reasons of age. In addition, LCBO's year-round Check 25 program, where staff check the I.D. of anyone who looks 25 or younger, was enhanced in the more than 635 stores via a variety of materials which feature the tagline "25 or younger? Have your I.D. ready". The goal is to build further awareness among customers of this policy and help ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors.

The School Assembly Program has been a cornerstone of MADD Canada's youth services since 1994. Approximately one million students will see Smashed, and the French language program, Impact, across Canada in 2013-2014.

For more information, or to check out a clip from Smashed, please visit our School Assembly Program page in our Youth Services section on the MADD Canada web site at www.madd.ca.

Note to Assignment Editors: For information on when Smashed is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240, or dkelly@madd.ca.

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