The number of teenage deaths from prescription drugs surpassed the mortality rates from illegal drugs in the U.S. In the last 10 years, there has been a 400% increase in abuse of prescription drugs and 1 in 5 teenagers reported experimenting with prescription drugs. These are alarming statistics and showed how important it is to reach the parents and grandparents who are inadvertently supplying these drugs to their teenagers and their friends by leaving prescription meds easily accessible in their medicine cabinets, or elsewhere in their homes. National Family Partnership, funded by King Pharmaceuticals, hired us to launch a national (U.S.) campaign to create greater awareness and to educate parents and grandparents about this issue.
The strategy was to reach parents and grandparents through their targeted magazines, blogs, online news portals and more, but also through general consumer media. This was a bilingual, English and Spanish language campaign. We wrote “Tips for Parents” to safeguard their meds, which the media really seized upon. We wrote catchy headlines to our press releases “You May Be A Drug Supplier Without Knowing it.” We created various news hooks for the media to be able to embrace the issue as timely: We pitched “Holidays” “Spring Break” and “Summer Break” as angles when teens were most likely to be unsupervised, had spare time and were more likely to use drugs with their friends. We also had a well-crafted, creative PSA campaign (She gets her laugh from her mother, her eyes from her father and her drugs from her mother’s purse) to place on TV and in print media that was very well received and placed.
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton tweeted about Lock Your Meds! http://www.lockyourmeds.org/recent-news/hillary-clinton-tweets-lock-your-meds/
We secured more than 350 placements! International and national media covered the story including Telemundo, America TeVe Yahoo News/Health, CNBC. We were everywhere on online media: About.com, AOL Latino, TLC.com, Boomer Consumer.com Health Informer.com, The Foreign Policy Association World Affairs Blog Network, dozens of mom and grand parenting online pubs. We were very successful on radio: Grand Parenting Today, Health Radio, Good Parenting Radio (51 stations), NPR. We were on TV including the #1 rated news show in the country on WABC TV in NY, News 12 TV Connecticut, TV News 2 Nashville, WTVJ- NBC Miami, KCTV5 Kansas City, to name a few. And we were in all the regional press including The New York Daily News, syndicated columnists that ran throughout the U.S., and more. The great results were so important because they had no advertising budget, so they relied 100% on effective publicity to spread their message and create the reach.
And National Family Partnership and King Pharmaceuticals were both extremely happy with the program and the measurable results. Their requests for their brochure, The Parents Guide, and other information tripled. Their requests for Lock Your Meds pins increased by 30%. They increased the number of organizations partnering, promoting or participating with them increased 35%. These were PTAs, schools, law enforcement agencies, local and state governments, corporations, prevention and health facilities and more all around the country. The strong message was delivered and very well received, a step in the right direction for our parents and teens.