On the Monday, March 29 episode of “The Young and the Restless,” Faith Newman (Alyvia Alyn Lind) found herself at a loss. After learning that her online admirer was actually just one of her classmates preying on her as a practical joke, the Newman heiress grabbed a tequila bottle she took from her grandfather’s bar, got into a pickup truck she found on the Newman Ranch and setoff to drink her sorrows away while behind the wheel of a powerful piece of machinery that when improperly handled can turn deadly. As she reached for the bottle that was on the seat beside her, Faith lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree. She is currently unconscious with multiple bruises after being brought to the hospital by a mystery man.
To tell an authentic storyline about underage drinking, the daytime soap opera partnered with Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for a Public Service Announcement that aired after the show’s Monday broadcast. In the PSA, Joshua Morrow (Nicholas Newman) noted that one in four car crashes with teenagers involves an underage drunk driver, a number which MADD notes kills about 4,300 young people every year.
Talking with MADD about the storyline, head writer and co-executive producer Josh Griffith described Faith’s journey as a “socially relevant, dramatic story that also packs an important message.”
“Faith is tough on the outside but still very young, very fragile, and developing emotionally,” Griffith said as he considered how the character would react if she was encouraged to try alcohol to deal with her problems. “What’s the logical outcome of this? It’s a valuable, teachable lesson,” he added.
MADD’s inclusion in the storyline marks the second time the organization has worked with the show to tell an authentic tale on the topic. Ironically, a similar scenario took place in 2005 when Cassie Newman (Camryn Grimes, now Mariah Copeland on the soap), Nicholas and Sharon Newman’s (Sharon Case) first daughter, died after she crashed the car of a drunken Daniel who many in town had initially believed was the one driving at the time.
In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month (April) and Teen Driver Safety Month (May), MADD has designated the period of April 1 through May 31 as PowerTalk21 Season. The two months encompass the period in which such major events as spring break, prom and graduation occur, even with the advent of COVID-19. MADD staff and volunteers will host events around the country that it hopes will provide resources and information for parents about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use.
“I’m hoping people will really take a serious look at how dangerous underage drinking can be,” says Griffith of how “Y&R” is helping spread the message against underage drinking. “There are horrible consequences. We can never let up on putting that message out there.”
For more information on underage drunk driving, visit MADD.org.
To continue following Faith’s journey, make sure to tune into “The Young and the Restless.” Weekdays on CBS.