WEDU Local Production Addresses Kids & Substance Abuse During Town Hall Meeting Held at Pinellas Park High School

APRIL 3, 2012 (Tampa, FL) – For seven years, WEDU has been working with community coalitions to bring parents, students, service providers, government officials, law enforcement and legislators together to help raise awareness of the dangers of underage drug and alcohol use through informative Town Hall Meetings. Taped this year on-site at Pinellas Park High School, this installment, Florida Kids & Alcohol: Synthetics, Prescriptions and Peer Pressure, will air on WEDU Thursday, April 19 at 9 pm.

Nationwide, students reported that 37% of 8th graders and 72% of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 15% of 8th graders and 44% of 12th graders drank during the past month.* However, these numbers pale in comparison to the prescription drug abuse epidemic running ramped in Florida. Moderated by Laura McElroy, public information officer of the Tampa Police Department, and developed from sourcing community experts, this WEDU one-hour local special features an in-depth discussion about underage substance abuse and features a diverse panel including parents, students, a law enforcement officer, a physician and substance abuse and mental health experts. The town hall meeting in its entirety, including additional footage featuring an extensive Q&A, will also be available on with downloadable resource material. A DVD of the program will be made available to libraries and schools throughout west central Florida.

While it’s the health and welfare of Florida’s youth that serves as a catalyst, each year WEDU serves as the convener of this important and educational program in partnership with coalitions throughout the area including those located in Pinellas; Hillsborough; Manatee; Sarasota; Lee; Collier and Hendry counties. The 2012 Florida Kids & Alcohol: Synthetics, Prescriptions and Peer Pressure was made possible in part by: Operation PAR, Inc., Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), LiveFree! – Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Pinellas County, Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance (HCADA), Florida Department of Children and Families and SARG (Substance Abuse Response Guide). Pinch-A-Penny Pool Supplies, Tampa General Hospital, and Bernard F. and Mary Ann Powell Foundation Inc, also lend their support to this program and important topic.

Florida Kids & Alcohol: Synthetics, Prescriptions and Peer Pressure, will air on WEDU Thursday, April 19 at 9 pm. For more information about WEDU programming, TV schedules, channel guides, special events, outreach efforts and community partnerships visit or call 800.354.9338. WEDU a 501(c)(3) organization, is west central Florida’s leading PBS station and public media company reaching 16 counties including the Tampa, St. Petersburg, Pasco, Polk and Sarasota areas through multiple media platforms including on-air broadcasting and online experiences that broaden horizons, transport and transform and open gateways to new ideas and new worlds.