News Release – October 18, 2004



NEW YORK — October 18, 2004 — MTV: Music Television today announced that CHOOSE OR LOSE: DRUG WARS will premiere tonight at 11 p.m., with a special encore presentation on Wednesday, October 20 at 8:30 p.m. DRUG WARS features MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway as he explores the ways that each presidential candidate’s ideas about drug policy could affect young voters on – and after – election day.

DRUG WARS is the latest in a series of election specials on the issues that matter most to young voters, as part of the network’s CHOOSE OR LOSE: 20 MILLION LOUD campaign, which aims to get 20 million young voters to the polls on November 2. Over thirty million viewers have tuned in for CHOOSE OR LOSE programming this year.

The war on drugs consistently ranks as a top issue among 18-to-30-year-old voters. But this year, both John Kerry and George Bush — and the mainstream news media — have largely ignored the issue. In this half-hour special, MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway profiles young drug users, dealers, cops and prisoners. Then he shows where the presidential candidates come down on a subject that is crucial to the over 20 Million young voters who could decide this election.

This special was a partnership among MTV’s CHOOSE OR LOSE; Reclaiming Futures, a new initiative to help teenagers caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol and crime; and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.  Additional information was provided by the United States Public Interest Research Group and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness.

Originally launched in 1992, “Choose or Lose” is MTV’s comprehensive pro-social campaign to inform young adults about the political process, voice their most urgent political concerns, compel leading Presidential candidates to address those concerns, and mobilize massive numbers of young adults aged 18-30 to register and vote. In 2004, MTV’s “Choose or Lose” on-air and off-air programming will include regular news segments, issue-based specials, candidate interviews, primary and convention coverage and grass-roots events, and will culminate with an election night wrap-up. 20 Million LOUD! is a national campaign of hundreds of organizations, including MTV, that aims to mobilize more than 20 million young adults age 18 to 30 to vote and be a deciding factor in the 2004 presidential election. Throughout the year, 20 Million LOUD! partners will conduct a series of high-profile, high-impact events on television, online and in communities across the country.


Janine Iamunno, MTV

Graham James, MTV

Ariana Urbont, MTV Networks