Much has changed since parents of the 1970s mobilized to close crack houses, shut down head shops, reclaim their neighborhoods and help their children choose to say no to drug abuse. There is no longer a "typical" family structure consisting of a mom, a dad and one or more children. Now there are single parent families, blended and mixed families, foster families and a growing number of grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Today's parents and caregivers face many challenges and deal with unique substance abuse issues unknown to earlier generations. But some things remain consistent - - although peer influences can seemingly take priority during the teen years, the majority of high school seniors report the main reason they choose not to use alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs is because of parental or guardian influences. Parents must, therefore, not only have accurate, up-to-date information available to them, they must be given the tools necessary to help their children make healthy, drug-free choices.

Parents Helping Parents: A Guide For Action is designed to be a resource for a parent, group of parents, grandparents or others wishing to help prevent substance abuse. It includes information on (1) models of parent groups, (2) how to work for change in one's community and (3) resources in the areas of substance abuse prevention and parenting. It is the hope of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Centers for Substance Abuse Prevention that this Guide will be a helpful resource in the efforts to once again mobilize parents to actively work for change in their communities.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Parenting IS Prevention Project wish to thank the following for their help in the preparation of this document:

Jackie Butler
African American Parents for Drug Prevention
Judy Cushing
National Family Partnership
Dr. Gary Hill
Conwal, Inc.
Dr. Ford Kuramoto
National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse
Ginna Marston
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Harry Montoya
National Hispanic/Latino Community Prevention Network
Carol Reeves
Greenville Family Partnership
Sue Rusche
National Families in Action
Harold Tarbell, Ernest Sickey
National Association of Native American Children of Alcoholics

Project Directors:
Dr. Bettina Scott
Mary Louise Embrey
Olive M. O'Donnell