Scottsdale, Arizona, Apr 19, 2012 -- With nearly 40,000 drug-related deaths each year, "National Weed Day" on April 20 (420) can be the start down a tragic path.
Rural/Metro Corporation, a leading provider of private ambulance and fire protection services has partnered with national non-profit notMYkid.org, which focuses on preventing the devastation of teen addiction and First Check, the leader in home diagnostic testing, to launch a 420 parental awareness and prevention campaign.
In addition to providing parents with educational materials, the partners are distributing thousands of free home drug tests a donation valued at more than $250,000. Distribution cities at Rural/Metro locations include San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles County, Calif., metro-Phoenix, metro-Atlanta, Orlando, Fla., Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y. and Knoxville, Tenn.
"As 911 responders, our work focuses on the health and safety of the citizens we are called to serve, and it breaks our hearts to see kids lose their lives to drugs," said Rural/Metro President and Chief Executive Officer Michael DiMino. "We have chosen to partner with notMYkid to serve, educate and protect families and to encourage parents to take a proactive stance when it comes to teens and drugs."
The term 420 is the universal code for marijuana use and April 20 has become a counterculture holiday celebrating its use. Many kids around the world will try marijuana for the first time on April 20, and parents need to understand the profound risks. The average age for first-time drug experimentation is 13 and if a child starts using drugs, it is typically two years before parents realize there is a problem. notMYkid educates parents and encourages them to take action to protect their kids with information.
"Talking to your kids is only the first step," said Debbie Moak, founder of notMYkid and a mother who faced her own teen son's addiction. "We need parents to take action by getting on the same page, setting consistent boundaries, testing their kids, participating in their lives and most importantly, serving as positive role models. Through years of experience, notMYkid has found utilizing a drug test in the home helps kids avoid peer pressure situations by empowering them to say 'I can't, my parents might drug test me.'"
For more information on 420, the warning signs of teen drug addiction and advice on developing a family drug prevention plan, visit www.notMYkid.org.
Rural/Metro Corporation is a leading national provider of 911-emergency and non-emergency interfacility ambulance services and private fire protection services in 20 states and approximately 475 communities throughout the United States. Rural/Metro's EMS professionals provide more than 1.3 million ambulance transports, and its firefighters respond to more than 60,000 calls for assistance each year. For more information, visit the Company's web site at www.ruralmetro.com.
Founded in 2000 by Debbie and Steve Moak to share their family's experience with teen addiction, notMYkid is a Phoenix-based national non-profit dedicated to inspiring positive life choices by educating individuals and communities about the consequences of destructive youth behaviors such as substance abuse, eating disorders, binge drinking, bullying, depression and internet safety. In an effort to promote prevention messages, notMYkid increases awareness of the challenges kids face, provides information and offers resources to support the success of students, families and educators. For more information visit www.notMYkid.org.