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mtvU, Macklemore & More to Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse on College Campuses

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mtvU, Macklemore & More to Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse on College Campuses

Announced today from the 3rd annual Clinton Health Matters Conference, mtvU and The Jed Foundation's "Half Of Us" campaign, with strategic support from the Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Initiative, is debuting an initiative aimed at helping college students navigate the issue of prescription drug abuse on college campuses.

The effort leverages the power of real stories to illuminate the unintended consequences of prescription drug abuse and help college students who are overwhelmed and stressed realize there are better ways to deal with the pressure. Today, mtvU and mtvU.com debuted a series of short videos featuring college students from across the country candidly sharing their struggles with prescription drug abuse, and will continue to air stories throughout the month. Later this month, mtvU will air an exclusive interview with Grammy-nominated artist Macklemore - from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - revealing intimate details of his struggles with substance abuse and how he overcame it.

"I had an experience with drugs and alcohol that didn't work for me, that took away a fulfillment in my life," said Macklemore. "If I have a gift in any capacity with words and I don't use that power, I'm not doing my job. I know that people are listening. People can be inspired to change and become better people."

Every 19 minutes someone dies of a drug overdose in America, and most of those deaths are due to prescription drugs. Accidental prescription drug overdoses in the United States now kill more people than do heroin, crack, and methamphetamines combined. Additionally, the highest levels of abuse of prescription medications are among young adults aged 18 to 25.*

"Even one prescription drug overdose is too many, and when college students started asking mtvU to spotlight the issue, we realized we might be able to have an impact on this silent epidemic," said Jason Rzepka, Senior Vice President, MTV Public Affairs. "We're deeply grateful to the Jed Foundation, Macklemore and Clinton Health Matters Initiative for their partnership and excited to open a conversation with college students nationwide about the toll of prescription drug abuse and how they can overcome its siren song."

The spots rolling out as part of the campaign will show "The Other Side" of prescription drugs:
"Macklemore" - Macklemore describes his battle with prescription drug abuse, and the overwhelming effects it had on him, including depression, isolation, and creative frustration. He reveals never-before-heard details of his addiction and shares a moving story about a friend he lost as a result of a prescription drug overdose, in order to help college students overcome similar struggles. Macklemore is known for using his music to help create conversation about important social issues, such as marriage equality through his hit song "Same Love."

"The Other Side" - In a series of 11 spots, young people from around the country share their experiences and personal struggles with prescription drug misuse, revealing the harsh realities of taking prescription pills for non-medical reasons. Their powerful stories will not only illuminate the consequences they've faced, but will also provide meaningful advice on how to avoid the dangers of prescription drug abuse and how to help a friend who may be struggling.

In addition to the videos, "Half Of Us" today debuted a comprehensive, custom resource center offering students additional information on prescription drug abuse, helpful tips, and positive ways to cope with the academic and emotional pressures of college life. MTV will also spread the message via its social media platforms using a series of flat images and GIFs that shed light on the realities of prescription drugs, while providing positive alternatives and a connection to resources. All of the visual content will originate on the "Half Of Us" tumblr page.

College students are said to misuse prescription drugs for reasons including dealing with stress, fear of not fitting in, increasing competitiveness of college, anxiety, or for recreational purposes. Some of the most frequently misused medications among students include stimulants (Adderall, Ritalin and others) that are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, central nervous system depressants (like Valium and Xanax) used for anxiety and sleep disorders, and opioid painkillers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. According to ULifeline, some consequences of prescription drug misuse include serious health issues - such as changes in mood, decreased cognitive function, or coma - addiction, accidents, poor academic performance, and legal trouble.

MTV and The Jed Foundation created the "Half Of Us" campaign in 2006 to educate students about mental health issues and encourage help-seeking. For more information and ways to prevent prescription drug misuse visit www.halfofus.com.
* Sources:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: A Summary of National Findings" http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH/2012SummNatFindDetTables/NationalFindings/NSDUHresults2012.htm#ch2.3
About MTV:
MTV is the world's premier youth entertainment brand. With a global reach of more than a half-billion households, MTV is the cultural home of the millennial generation, music fans and artists, and a pioneer in creating innovative programming for young people. MTV reflects and creates pop culture with its Emmy®, Grammy® and Peabody® award-winning content built around compelling storytelling, music discovery and activism across TV, online and mobile. MTV's sibling networks MTV2 and mtvU each deliver unparalleled customized content for young males, music fans and college students, and its online HUB MTV.com is a leading destination for music, news and pop culture. MTV is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), one of the world's leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.
About mtvU:
Broadcast to more than 750 college campuses, mtvU reaches upwards of 9 million U.S. college students - making it the largest, most comprehensive television network just for college students. mtvU is dedicated to every aspect of college life, reaching students everywhere they are: on-air, online and on campus. mtvU programs music videos from emerging artists that can't be seen anywhere else, news, student life features and initiatives that give college students the tools to advance positive social change. mtvU is always on campus, with more than 250 events per year, including exclusive concerts, giveaways, shooting mtvU series and more. For more information about mtvU, and a complete programming schedule, visit www.mtvU.com.
About The Jed Foundation:
The Jed Foundation (www.jedfoundation.org) is a leading nonprofit working to protect the emotional health of teenagers and colleges students. Our programs are inspiring a new national dialogue on mental health, encouraging millions of young people to speak up and take action, and changing the way academic institutions create healthier campus communities and prevent substance abuse and self-harm. These programs include: The Jed and Clinton Foundation Health Matters Campus Program, a groundbreaking self-assessment and feedback program that helps colleges create more comprehensive solutions to support their students; ULifeline, an online resource that helps students understand and address mental health conditions like depression and anxiety disorders; the Half of Uscampaign, with MTV, which uses online and on-air programming to share stories and encourage help-seeking; the Love is Louder movement that helps individuals, communities and schools build resiliency, create connectedness and promote acceptance; Transition Year, an online resource for parents aimed at helping to ensure a smooth, healthy transition into college life; and a portfolio of resources that helps campuses promote emotional health and protect at-risk students. Learn more at www.jedfoundation.org.
About The Clinton Foundation:
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation convenes businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change. Because of our work, 20,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 6.8 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; $100 million in strategic investments have been made, impacting the health of 25 million people in the U.S.; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,500 Commitments to Action to improve more than 430 million lives around the world.
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI) works to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the United States across all generations.

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