The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a national nonprofit committed to helping families struggling with their son or daughter’s substance use.
We empower families with information, direct support and guidance to get the help their loved one needs and deserves. We advocate for greater understanding and more effective programs to treat the disease of addiction. And we help educate families through the power of communications, ranging from public service announcements – produced and distributed 100 percent pro-bono thanks to the generous donations of our partners in the advertising and media industry – to online content developed in collaboration with leading researchers, clinicians and other parenting and adolescent health experts.
One important way we help families find answers is by translating the science of substance use and addiction into support and tools for parents – and we don’t do this alone. The Partnership relies on relationships with federal agencies and other nonprofit organizations in healthcare, education, law enforcement and parent volunteers to help deliver our educational content. This is a core competency which has been at the heart of the Partnership’s mission since our founding in 1986.
The Partnership is not a treatment provider. Through our web-based resources, helpline and parent coaching programs, we offer information and guidance to families who are struggling to understand their child’s substance use disorder, and to make an informed and effective plan for addressing it.
Relationship with Alliances
Grassroots efforts are also vital to changing attitudes about drug and alcohol use, educating individuals about health risks and effectively changing behaviors surrounding substance use disorders. Our Alliance program, which is comprised of state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations, plays a distinct yet separate role at the local level. The Alliances help place our public service announcements in local media, and have their own charters and missions that are specific to their own community needs. As such, the Partnership and its alliances each have their own unique, individual voice to address national and regional issues as they pertain to their local areas.
Addressing Today’s Opioid Epidemic
Another way we help families find answers is through timely responses to emerging drug threats. With funding and support from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) in the eastern United States, in May 2016 we launched a comprehensive resource to help families and communities address the country’s growing heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis. Titled Heroin and Other Opioids: From Understanding to Action, we provide parents with information, support for their family and treatment resources for their loved one. These resources include facts about heroin’s risk and effects, an extensive Medication-Assisted Treatment e-book and a detailed infographic on the progression from prescription pain reliever abuse to heroin use.
The opioid epidemic is also the principle target of our multi-year national action campaign, The Medicine Abuse Project. The Partnership works with federal partners, numerous nonprofit and association partners, and both public and private sector funders to help educate parents and the public at large about what they can do to end adolescent medicine abuse.
Participating organizations include: federal partners such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of National Drug Control Policy; a large number of strategic partners including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians; and private sector partners, including a number of pharmaceutical companies concerned about the misuse and abuse of over-the-counter cough medicine and prescription drugs.
The campaign’s most visible initiatives include our “Mind Your Meds” campaign, a teen-made documentary, “Out of Reach” and website at medicineabuseproject.org, which offers an array of best-in-class resources for parents, educators, healthcare providers and community leaders/law enforcement.
Our main goal is reduction of 500,000 in young people initiating non-medical use of prescription medication, especially pain relievers – a primary precursor behavior to heroin use. Since 2012, past-year initiation of prescription pain reliever misuse by 12-17 year olds has declined by 20 percent, from 611,000 to 489,000, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In addition, the Partnership is engaged in a five-year prescriber education effort, underwritten by Food and Drug Administration, aimed at driving greater prescriber use of state-based Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), which has been shown to significantly reduce doctor shopping when consistently applied.
Funding from Pharmaceutical Companies
As we consider today’s prescription drug abuse crisis, many would agree that the pharmaceutical industry has a civic and humanitarian responsibility, as well as a business incentive, to help prevent diversion and misuse of their product. Indeed, if pharma companies were not contributing to independent prevention resources initiatives, they would – and should – be subject to significant public criticism.
The Partnership therefore accepts financial support from some of those pharmaceutical companies whose goal of reducing diversion and misuse of their products aligns with our work to help families prevent and get help for prescription drug abuse by their teen and young adult children. The Partnership’s proprietary research and content, along with the strategic communications and tactics that the Partnership utilizes, are ours alone – they are not dictated or influenced by any financial contributor.
The Partnership currently functions with an operating budget of $7 million with cash expenses covering staffing, educational content and materials, research, public education advertising, presentations, online resources and the parent resource helpline. In addition, the Partnership is mandated by the IRS to report non-cash, voluntary in-kind donations of media time and print advertising space for public service announcements, estimated at $80 million a year from media outlets and publishers.
As disclosed in the audit report for 2014, section of “Notes to the Financial Statements” in the paragraph “Contributed Services, Media time and Space”, the Partnership complies with financial reporting requirements and accounting standards by including donated media as part of its annual revenues and expenses. This larger amount reflects the impact and reach of our content thanks to the generosity of media sponsors. However, this may overstate the level of operating resources that we expend annually to conduct our activities.
For more information, visit drugfree.org.