Our History: Responding to a Changing Drug Landscape

For over 30 years, the Partnership has been here to support families. Parents will continue to face a new challenges, and we’ll be here with solutions.

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1987

There was a misperception that drug use was safe and had no real consequences.

Our Solution

We created one of our first broadcast public service announcements, “Fried Egg,” (“This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”) which helped illustrate the harmfulness of drug use.

1988

In urban communities, ravaged by crack cocaine, there was a sense of hopelessness.

Our Solution

Offering hope and steps to keep communities safe, our “Inner City Campaign” ran over several years, reinforcing the idea of community and family.

1995

Inhalant abuse increased among teens and kids as young as 11.

Our Solution

We launched our anti-inhalants education campaign, which helped reverse this trend and led to consistent year-to-year reductions in abuse through the late ’90s.

Learn more about inhalants >

1998

As pro-bono media support declined, drug use began to increase.

Our Solution

The National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign launched, and a record-breaking public-private partnership was formed.

1999

The widespread misbelief among teens that all the “cool kids” use drugs was dominating popular culture.

Our Solution

We launched “Positive Role Models” featuring celebrity role models – like Venus and Serena Williams, Andy MacDonald, Mary J. Blige, Lauryn Hill, The Dixie Chicks and Kelly Slater – who were talented and successful. And cool.

2000

Partnership chairman Jim Burke was awarded the “Presidential Medal of Freedom,” the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton. This great honor is reserved for individuals the President deems to have made especially meritorious contributions to the country.

2004

Generation Rx arrived: Prescription drug abuse among teens increased at an alarming rate: 1 in 5 teens reported misusing an Rx medication to get high.

Our Solution

We responded with one of the first, national prescription drug abuse educational campaigns.

Learn what we’re doing now to address medicine abuse >

2005

There was a perception that addiction is a moral failing, not a treatable disease.

Our Solution

We unveiled our “Hope Help & Healing” campaign and companion website to encourage people to get help for themselves or a loved one who may have a problem with drugs or alcohol, and to help in overcoming the stigma of addiction.

Get help for you or your family >

2005

The new cohort of teens was more skeptical of messages warning them about “dangers of drugs.”

Our Solution

We found a new way to speak to teens, empowering them to be their best selves, and launched a teen-targeted campaign, “Above the Influence” (ATI).

Learn more about ATI >

2009

Spanish-speaking parents lacked in-language resources to help address substance abuse in their families.

Our Solution

We created an acculturated Spanish-language website to help parents have ongoing conversations with their kids about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse.

View Recursos en Español >

2010

Parents of those struggling with addiction felt at a loss on what steps to take to help their loved one.

Our Solution

We created science-based resources for parents on the best way to take action and get help for teens who are drinking and using drugs.

Resources: Treatment eBook

2011

Unlike almost any other adolescent health issue, parents didn’t have a clear path to information and support for teen drug and alcohol addiction.

Our Solution

We launched our bilingual toll-free telephone helpline, 1-855-DRUGFREE, to help parents who want to talk to trained and caring support specialists about their child’s drug use or drinking.

Learn more >

2013

A popular, teen-targeted retailer made light of the dangers of prescription drug abuse by selling shot glasses and flasks resembling prescription drug bottles that normalize the risky behavior.

Our Solution

Our advocacy effort to collect more than 4,700 signatures from parents, elected officials and celebrities in protest, motivated Urban Outfitters to pull the products from shelves.

Learn more >

2014

Most diseases, particularly cancer and diabetes, have built-in systems of care for those suffering, and for their loved ones. Not so with addiction.

Our Solution

We created a national network where families can receive one-on-one guidance from other parents who have first-hand experience and are trained to provide expert help and advice.

Learn more >

2014

With teen medicine abuse remaining at concerning high levels, parents were still unaware of how to address this complicated topic within their own families.

Our Solution

We found a new way to communicate with parents, harnessing the teen voice in a short documentary produced by a student filmmaker.

Learn more >

2015

For too long, addiction was considered a moral failing, treated with punishment and prison, rather than the public health crisis it is.

Our Solution

New legislation backed by the Partnership, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, can create real change in the way our country treats addiction and supports those in recovery.

Visit CARA >

2016

The country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with heroin-related overdose deaths quadrupling since 2002.

Our Solution

The White House and the Office of National Drug Control Policy reach out to the Partnership to collaborate on a national plan to address the crisis devastating families.

Learn more >

2016

With the changing drug landscape, today’s kids are asking more specific – and challenging – questions.

Our Solution

We re-envisioned our iconic 1980s TV spot “Fried Egg” to reflect parenting today and to illustrate how the Partnership has evolved to meet the needs of today’s families. We understand how difficult it can be for parents facing these types of questions. We're with answers, help and guidance.

Learn more >