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Summit County teens deliver anti-drug messages to peers at local theaters

November 15, 2017 GMT

Summit County teens deliver anti-drug messages to peers at local theaters

AKRON, Ohio – If you take in a movie at a local Cinemark theaters over the next month, you might catch a public service announcement featuring Summit County teens delivering anti-drug messages.

Starting this Friday, Nov. 17, 10 PSAs written and produced by 16 area kids will begin their second run at local theaters, offering timely information on addiction, opiates and heroin.

Several of the 30-second videos target the teenagers’ peers, while others are for all audiences. Because age of first use is an important factor in the development of substance use, the teens wanted to prevent young people from experimenting with prescription medicines or heroin.

The videos, which first ran in February, were written by the teens and recorded at the University of Akron’s ZTV studio.

The project, funded by United Way of Summit County and Leadership Akron Class 32, was a collaboration between Summit County Community Partnership for the Healthy Rx for Youth campaign; the Community Health Center - Project PANDA; the County of Summit ADM Board; Ohio Guidestone.

Project PANDA and Ohio Guidestone are youth education and outreach programs to keep kids away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

To create the videos the kids attended a day-long retreat at UA.

“Somewhere along the line these kids adopted a vision for their lives,” said Darryl Brake, executive director of Summit County Community Partnership. “The project was youth led. They didn’t just participate for the food, games and field trip. They actually had to learn so they could reach out to their peers. That’s what makes them special.”

The PSAs will run Nov. 17-Dec. 28 at these Cinemark/Regal theaters:

Montrose Movies 12Cinemark at MacedoniaCinemark at Cuyahoga Falls & XDHudson Cinema 10Interstate Stadium 10Interstate Park Stadium 18

The teens came up with the topics themselves and worked hard on the project, said Alyce Jennings, Summit County Community Partnership director of development.

“They focused on the seriousness of the issue and on communicating with their friends,” she said. We had to work with them to do a few lighter PSAs. That’s when you got to see their personalities come out.”

Research shows youth-led prevention activities are effective because young people tend to respect and pay attention to other young voices more than adult voices, according to Summit County Community Partnership.

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