SADD helps students make informed decisions

RBC I Originally, the mission of the SADD chapter was to help young people say “no” to drinking and driving. Today, the mission is expanded. Students have told us that positive peer pressure, role models and other strategies can help them refuse more than drinking and driving. That is why SADD has become a peer leadership organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, impaired and risky driving, and teen violence and suicide.
SADD’s mission simply stated is to provide students with the best prevention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving and other destructive decisions.
For 30 years, SADD has been committed to empowering young people to lead education and prevention initiatives within their schools and communities. Founded as Students Against Driving Drunk in 1981 in Wayland, Mass., SADD has grown to become the nation’s dominant peer-to-peer youth education, prevention and activism organization with thousands of chapters in middle schools, high schools and colleges.
In 1997, in response to requests from SADD students themselves, SADD expanded its mission and name and now chapters are called Students Against Destructive Decisions. SADD continues to endorse a firm “no use” message related to use of alcohol and other drugs. With its expanded focus, SADD now highlights prevention of many destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people including underage drinking, substance abuse, impaired driving and teen violence and suicide.
SADD’s unique approach involves young people delivering education and prevention messages to their peers through school- and community-wide activities and campaigns responsive to the needs of their particular locations. Projects may include peer-led classes and theme-focused forums, teen workshops, conferences and rallies, prevention education and leadership training, and awareness-raising activities and legislative work. Independent studies have shown that students in schools with an established SADD chapter are more aware and informed about the risks of underage drinking, other drug use and impaired driving. Students in schools with a SADD chapter are also more likely to hold attitudes reflecting positive reasons not to use alcohol.
The national office of SADD, Inc. supports the growth and development of SADD chapters across the country and promotes awareness of youth issues. SADD National assists chapters via a network of state coordinators funded through government or charitable organizations to deliver education and prevention materials and programming to youth. SADD National also distributes an electronic newsletter and program information; hosts two websites (sadd.org and parentteenmatters.org); runs an annual national conference; conducts national research on teen attitudes and behaviors, advocates on the national level for teen traffic safety, underage drinking and other drug use, and teen violence, suicide, and mental health; sponsors a Student Leadership Council and Student of the Year; and raises funds for dissemination of information and programming.
SADD National has worked with many federal and state agencies and other nonprofit groups and foundations to maximize the energy and resources of SADD chapters. Through these joint efforts, SADD has built strong leadership among adolescents, mobilized statewide collaborations with community partners, fostered awareness of and support for youth initiatives, and organized the efforts of those beyond the SADD chapters to promote youth health and safety.