Long-time nonprofit’s mission evolves; research demonstrates parents’ increased need for help and support on teen drug and alcohol issues
Actor, Author and Parent Melissa Gilbert Joins as First-Ever Celebrity Champion
NEW YORK, NY – October 7, 2010 – The Partnership for a Drug-Free America announced today that it is changing its name to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The new name reflects the nonprofit’s commitment to serving and supporting parents and families.
The change further reflects how the organization has grown since its founding in 1986 as a prevention-focused, anti-drug advertising campaign to a reliable partner and online community for parents and families seeking guidance and support on teen drug and alcohol use.
By focusing on parents and caregivers, working at the grassroots level and embracing the power of the web to communicate and connect, the organization has evolved to fulfill its important mission to help parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children. Parents will find deep, credible and science-based resources to help them and their families at drugfree.org.
11 million of America’s teens and young adults are struggling with drugs or alcohol, yet unlike most other adolescent health issues or diseases, parents haven’t found a clear path to resources and support for teen addiction.
“When it comes to preventing or helping a child involved with drug use and drinking, already a stigmatized issue, parents are at a loss,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Over the past six years, we have created programs and resources to fill that gap and be a trustworthy, non-judgmental place to get answers and support, whether that’s online via drugfree.org or in their community through our grassroots education programs.”
While both parents and research point to a need for an organization like the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, the nonprofit’s first celebrity champion, Melissa Gilbert, added, “I believe that the most compelling reality is that all parents will move heaven and earth to protect their children’s health because they love their kids.” She applauded the organization’s changes, saying, “Both as a mother and as a person who is living a life in recovery, I know firsthand what a struggle it is for both a teen or young adult in trouble and their parent who feels helpless and utterly alone. the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is here for all parents, myself included, at whatever their stage of need – from prevention to recovery – and most importantly reinforces that we are not alone.”
Embracing “Partnership” and Bringing the Concept to Life
The change is also the culmination of more than a year of parent interviews, analysis and qualitative and quantitative research. New omnibus research from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids also shows that when discovering what the organization does, an overwhelming majority of parents (94 percent) with children ages 10-17 would consider the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids as valuable to parents with kids at risk of using drugs and drinking. Embracing this learning, the 24-year-old nonprofit organization preserved the known strengths and attributes of its name: the concept of a partnership with parents and families. The new name is consistent with its mission, making it more relevant to parents and explicit as to where they can find the important tools and resources that position the organization as a cause leader on this issue.
“Even with a rich history and many widely acclaimed, effective public education campaigns, our name was confusing to parents. Research showed that people assumed we were part of the government or an organization focused on drug policy. These perceptions were limiting our ability to best serve families and meet their individual needs,” added Pasierb. “Parents also thought we focused exclusively on prevention. With resources to also help parents intervene and find treatment, we understand that while most kids don’t use drugs, many do, and far too many suffer problems or need help to overcome an addiction.”
Addiction takes a toll on families and an equally devastating toll on society. 35 million families with children ages 9-17 need help with drug and alcohol prevention. “The economic impact of substance abuse is staggering,” said Patricia Russo, chairman of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. With estimated costs to society from illicit drugs at $280 billion, Russo added, “We can’t reduce the costs in the workplace due to drug and alcohol abuse and improve our global competitiveness as a nation until we better prepare and support parents in raising healthy teens, helping them to be more informed, empowered and better able to help their children.”
Gilbert, who has personally struggled with addiction and is now a parent spokesperson for the organization, added, “The burden and the responsibility for taking action on this issue falls to us, to parents. I hope that, like me, other parents will find the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids as a true partner. Here for us wherever we are and whenever we need help. It is my long-term hope that I will be able to help them achieve their goals, and fewer families will struggle with the pain of addiction. For now, I want families going through the agony and confusion of dealing with addiction to know that they are not alone. We are here. I am here and I understand.”
Redesigned and Expanded Website at Drugfree.org
Debuting with the new name is the organization’s new web portal, making it easy to navigate expanded online resources that provide answers and support at whatever point parents need help. Drugfree.org is a user-friendly gateway to the nonprofit’s programs and resources, focused on prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery and community education. Featuring interactive tools, compelling videos, engaging blogs, comprehensive e-books and burgeoning online communities, the new site aims to be an online ‘public square’ where parents can support, learn from and encourage one another.
About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
The Partnership at Drugfree.org is a nonprofit organization that helps parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children. Bringing together renowned scientists, parent experts and communications professionals, the organization translates current research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand resources at drugfree.org. Through its nationwide PACT360 Community Education Programs, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids educates and mobilizes local community efforts to address drug threats at the grassroots level, including methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse, and also provides parent training and teen programs that help prevent teen substance abuse. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and government; and it thanks SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.
 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (SAMHSA)
 US Census 2000
 Volkow, ND & Li, TK (2005). Drugs and alcohol: Treating and preventing abuse, addiction, and their medical consequences. Pharmacology and Therapeutics 108, pp. 3 – 17.