30 September 2009

New Tools to Assist Military Families and Teens Through Difficult Transitions Launched Today by Partnership for a Drug-Free America

/PRNewswire-/ -- The Partnership for a Drug-Free America(R), together with the National Military Family Association and the National Association of School Nurses, today announced the launch of new online tools to assist military families and teens through difficult periods of transition, such as a deployment, major injury or illness of a parent, or when moving frequently to new neighborhoods and schools. The free tools are available at the Partnership Web site TimeToTalk.org/Military. The effort is the first collaboration between the three organizations to provide assistance with the complex, extraordinary circumstances often faced by military families, especially in wartime, when families are in particular need of this kind of help and support.

The new military family support tools were announced today at a press event sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). McCaskill has previously introduced the SUPPORT Substance Use Disorders Act which would make addiction treatment more readily available to members of the military and would provide privacy protections to those seeking help.

"I'm extremely pleased to support the launch of this important initiative," said Senator McCaskill, adding "Our servicemen and women need and deserve access to family support resources that are based on research and developed for their specific needs by experts such as the Partnership, the National Military Family Association and the National Association of School Nurses."

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the key risk periods for adolescent drug abuse are during major transitions - such as moving to a new school or community - and Partnership research shows that stress in school is a major reason for adolescent substance abuse. For military teens, transitions often become a way of life, as each year a third of military families move to new neighborhoods and almost half of military parents report that their kids have difficulty making social adjustments following a move to a new town. Many of these teens are also coping with the added stresses of having one or both parents deployed, or even worse, dealing with the difficulty of a parent who has been injured or killed in combat.

"While these are difficult, unsettling times for families across our nation, the added stress and rate of change faced by military families and their teens can sometimes push kids towards risky and dangerous behavior," said Steve Pasierb, President of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. "We are committed to working together with the National Military Family Association and the National Association of School Nurses, to help military families safeguard their children during times of transition and when they are more vulnerable to making unhealthy choices about alcohol and drugs."

The new resources available at TimeToTalk.org/Military include (1) Transitions and Teens: A Guide for Military Parents, (2) The Military Talk Kit, (3) 10 Things School Nurses Want You To Know and (4) 10 Things Military Teens Want You To Know. The research-based guide in particular provides critical information to reduce stress and help keep teens drug and alcohol-free during difficult transition periods. Included within this information is a helpful checklist for pairing teen transition scenarios with a list of recommended tips, providing parents with a 'roadmap' for starting and maintaining open conversations, answering tough questions and advice for monitoring the warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse.

Time To Talk(R) is the Partnership's movement designed to help parents and caregivers start and maintain open, honest dialogue with their children, helping them talk with their kids about the risks of drugs and alcohol. Partnership research has shown that teens who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs and alcohol than those who do not.

"We're extremely pleased to work with the Partnership as we make these critical tools available to military families and their teens who may be at risk," said Mary Scott, National Military Family Association Chairman of the Board. "While they've often shown resilience in the face of major change and adversity, should a military parent or family need extra help with the challenges of a transition, from keeping a checklist of tips to finding ways to stay actively involved in their teen's life through conversations, we're here to help."

"As school nurses, we're very familiar with the stress teens face with starting over in a new school in unfamiliar territory," said Amy Garcia, Executive Director of the National Association of School Nurses. "When you couple that with the uncertainty of a parent being deployed for an unspecified length of time, or living with the very intense reality of post-traumatic stress disorder, it's clear military teens face special circumstances that require special attention. We're pleased to collaborate with the Partnership and the National Military Family Association to provide the necessary tools to help make the transitions easier."

Time To Talk reaches parents and caregivers through the support and dedication of its corporate sponsors. A&E Television Networks, a Time To Talk sponsor, recently devoted an episode of its highly-rated television show "Intervention" to the struggles of three returning veterans to overcome addiction ("Addiction in Uniform") and are publicizing our new resources for military families to their millions of viewers.

Other 2009 Time To Talk sponsors include Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Comcast, The Hershey Company, King Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Major League Baseball Charities, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Yahoo!

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