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Our History

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In the mid-1980s, when the nation was in the throes of the crack/cocaine epidemic, a small group of advertising professionals discussed how to best use their talents to turn the tide on this issue. They thought, if advertising could be used to sell products, couldn’t it be used to “unsell” them as well?

With that, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (then known as the Partnership for a Drug-Free America) was born. With deep roots in advertising, we began as an organization solely committed to drug prevention. Through effective public service campaigns, we harnessed the power of the media and educated the public about the risks of illicit drug use.

As attitudes and behavior around drug and alcohol abuse among kids have evolved over the past 28 years, so have our messages, campaigns and programs.

For the past decade, we’ve focused on families as our key leverage point, not only in preventing substance abuse among kids, but in getting help for a teen who is struggling with drugs or drinking. Our programs now include direct service and support to parents, both through our Parents Toll-Free Helpline (1-855-DRUGFREE) and through our engaged and growing online communities.

Our website,, is a go-to resource for families who are dealing with teen substance abuse. It features extensive resources that help families understand the risk factors associated with drug and alcohol abuse and provides them with effective tools based in research and science to prevent or get help for their teen’s substance use.

With a major leadership role in the effort to prevent prescription drug and over-the-counter cough medicine abuse, The Partnership’s Medicine Abuse Project is our award-winning national movement to prevent half a million teens from abusing medicine by 2017.

Finally, we reach kids directly with the acquisition of “Above the Influence,” a proven nationwide prevention campaign empowering teens to “rise above” negative influences in their lives, including drugs and alcohol.

With partners in science, business, education, government, as well as fellow nonprofits and dedicated parents, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is a nonprofit dedicated to reducing teen substance abuse and supporting families impacted by addiction.