Partnership for a Drug-Free America

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Partnership for a Drug Free America is a nonprofit organization that helps parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children.

Basic description

Bringing together renowned scientists, parent experts, and communications professionals, the Partnership translates current research on teen behavior, addiction, and treatment into easy to understand resources at For parents who need help talking with their kids about drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors, offers tips and tools promoting parent/child communication. Time To Act is a step-by-step guide for parents who believe or are sure that their teens are drinking or using drugs and need to know what to do.

The Partnership has won numerous advertising and efficacy awards for its PSA campaigns, which over the past two decades, have targeted other illegal drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, Ecstasy and other club drugs. But the current drug landscape has changed drastically as kids have become more savvy than generations before them. Through technology, American youth literally have the world at their fingertips, making it even more important for parents to breakthrough as the prominent influence in their kids’ lives.

Over the past several years, the Partnership has evolved and expanded its mission to include underage drinking and has focused on parents, not only in preventing teen substance abuse, but in getting help for a child who is struggling with drugs or drinking, dedicated the lion’s share of efforts in developing science-based, online resources. The Partnership promotes these to parents and caregivers, utilizing long-standing relationships with advertising agencies, media, government and business.


In the mid-1980s, a small group of advertising professionals discussed how to best use their talents to address the nation’s drug problem. They thought, if advertising could be used to sell products, couldn’t it be used to unsell them as well?

This core team formed the Media-Advertising Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a concept for a non-profit organization born from the American Association Advertising Agencies (AAAA). The idea was to harness the power of the media, coupled with compelling research-based consumer advertising, to turn the tide on drug abuse trends, specifically among teens and youth. At the time, the nation was in the throes of the crack cocaine epidemic and the Partnership focused its efforts to help reduce demand for those drugs through public service advertising (PSA) campaigns.

The organization first entered the wider public consciousness in 1987, with its This is Your Brain on Drugs broadcast and print public service advertisements (PSAs), which used the analogy that if a person's brain is an egg, then using drugs would be like frying it.


Accessed April 2013: [1]

Directors Emeriti]]

Science Advisory Board

Accessed April 2013: [2]

  • Ken Winters - Chair - University of Minnesota Director, Section on Adolescents Treatment Research Institute
  • Amelia Arria - Senior Scientist, Treatment Research Institute
  • Richard Catalano - Director, Social Development Research Group, University of Washington
  • Bonnie Catone - Director of Communications, Treatment Research Institute
  • Doreen Cavanaugh - Research Associate Professor, Health Policy Institute, Georgetown University
  • Mady Chalk - Director of the Center on Performance Based Policy, Treatment Research Institute
  • Richard Clayton - Director, Center for Prevention Research, University of Kentucky
  • Gayle Dakof - Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami
  • Kathy Etz - Director, Program on Human Development in Adolescence and Early Adulthood, National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Michele Kipke - Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California
  • Herbert D. Kleber - Professor of Psychiatry; Director, Division on Substance Abuse, Columbia University/NYSPI
  • John T. Schwarzlose - President & CEO, Betty Ford Center
  • Eric Wagner - Director, Community-Based, Intervention Research Group, Florida International University

Advisory Board

Accessed April 2013: [3]

  • Neil Bernstein - Adolescent Psychologist and Author
  • Lauren Block - Professor of Marketing, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College City, University of New York
  • Gene Bowen - Founder, Road Recovery
  • Timothy Condon - Science Policy Advisor, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • Alain Joffe - Director, Student Health and Wellness Center, Johns Hopkins University
  • Lloyd Johnston - Principal Investigator, Monitoring the Future, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan
  • Alan Leshner - Chief Executive Officer, Executive Publisher, Science American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Libby O'Connell - Senior Vice President, Corporate Outreach, A&E Television Networks
  • Richard Rawson - Associate Director, Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Professor-in-Residence, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Scot Anthony Robinson - President, Vision Warrior
  • Peter Rogers - Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital, Ohio State University


A list of individuals, past and present, who are either paid employees of the organization or who have collaborated with it on an ongoing basis.


The latest Annual Report available from the Partnership website,

Contact information

Partnership For A Drug-Free America
352 Park Avenue South, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 212-922-1560
Fax: 212-922-1570


Charity Navigator Rating
"This is your brain on drugs" page at Wikipedia
Information on EEG's and Alpha waves
"Flatliner" debunking reference

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Partnership for a Drug-Free America Board, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2013.
  2. Partnership for a Drug-Free America Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2013.
  3. Partnership for a Drug-Free America Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2013.