OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 13, 2014) - "Getting smashed" can have a whole different meaning when people mix alcohol and/or drugs with driving, as Manitoba students will see through MADD Canada's 2013-2014 School Assembly Program.
The program, called Smashed, is being presented to students in Grades 7 - 12 to show them how easily and quickly a night of partying can turn to tragedy when someone makes the wrong decision. Manitoba Minister of Justice and Attorney General Andrew Swan joined MADD Canada and Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) today for a special screening of the show for students and staff at St. Paul's High School. MPI is sponsoring presentations at 109 schools, including 24 in northern areas of the province. MPI also provides generous support to help fund the production of the film.
"This powerful and persuasive program is an important way for us to reach out to young people across the province, and inspire them to always make safe and responsible decisions," said Minister Swan, who is also the minister responsible for MPI.
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.
"With the incredible support of sponsors such as MPI, we are able to deliver this show and open a dialogue with students about the risks of impaired driving," said MADD Canada National President Angeliki Souranis. "We want them to consider how one decision can have tragic results, and what they can do to prevent that from happening."
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 gets young people thinking about the dangers of impaired driving and reinforces the fact that every single death and injury caused by impaired driving is preventable.
"Having a good plan before you go out can prevent a lifetime of pain and suffering," said MaryAnn Kempe, Vice President of Community and Corporate Relations, Manitoba Public Insurance. "Impaired driving is not a victimless crime. It affects everyone. Our Corporation is proud to partner with MADD Canada to deliver this compelling program to Manitoba youth."
Following the fictional story of Natalie, Pete and Kelly, students see the compelling stories of three real-life victims of impaired driving:
- Arsh Brar was just 20 years old when he was killed in a crash involving a driver who had spent the previous several hours drinking at a bar. Arsh's brother shares how the unimaginable loss has affected his family.
- Keisha Trudel was riding in a car driven by a young man who had been drinking. The driver crashed and 16-year-old Keisha was killed. Her mom talks about the devastation the family has suffered.
- Riley Russell barely survived being hit by an alleged impaired driver. She relates the severe and permanent injuries she suffered, and talks about how one person's terrible decision has affected her hopes and dreams for the future.
The School Assembly Program has been a cornerstone of MADD Canada's youth services since 1994. The presentations are well-received by young people and positively impact their behaviour. In a 2012-2013 survey, students who saw the program were more likely to say it is not okay to drink any amount before driving; that marijuana use will make someone drive a lot worse; and that those who drive while impaired will face serious consequences. Equally important, the message is being retained. In a follow-up survey three months later, the anti-impaired driving attitudes expressed by students was at the same or higher levels than it was immediately following the presentation. Further, the follow-up survey showed a higher number of students who said they planned ahead before going to parties where drugs or alcohol may be present, compared to the national baseline survey. Students were also less likely to have recently accepted a ride from someone who was impaired.
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.
About MADD Canada
MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims/survivors, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. For more information, visit www.madd.ca.
About Manitoba Public Insurance
Manitoba Public Insurance is a Crown Corporation that has provided basic, compulsory automobile insurance coverage (called Autopac) to Manitoba motorists since 1971. Its services are available through claim centres and service centres in 13 communities across Manitoba.