parents against drugs

About Parents Against Drugs

Every youth who stays in school, graduates, and does not get involved with the criminal justice system, gangs, or drugs is a success story in an area where desperate behavior is more the norm than not. Parents Against Drugs (PAD) strives to build a better community by empowering youth to make the right decisions.

PAD is an experienced Chicago-based provider of services to youth who are often labeled as "underachieving" or "oppositional" to their families. Founded in 2007, PAD is dedicated to providing services to youth in communities affected by drugs, crime, violence and poverty. PAD's focus is to provide individual encouragement until each youth's personal "Success Story" is revealed.

Who We Are

Arriel Strong, Executive Director

Executive Director Arriel Strong is the founder of Parents Against Drugs. Since 1982, Mr. Strong has worked in youth diversion and drug rehabilitation programs, including New Day Youth Program, BRASS, and the Garfield Counseling Center. He has worked with youth and adults in counseling, mentoring, and crisis management capacities.

Errick Williams, Counselor and Fundraiser

Fundraiser Errick Williams brings years of experience to Parents Against Drugs, both in financial and counseling areas. Mr. Williams has been certified as an HIV counselor by the Illinois Department of Health, and has conducted educational workshops about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases for at-risk communities. Mr. Williams also brings years of fundraising experience from his affiliations with several community service organizations.

What We Do

Parents Against Drugs gets involved with at-risk youth and their families to ensure that each child is living up to his or her full potential. From preventative youth athletic programs and events to assistance in times of difficulty or crisis, PAD does everything it can to make sure that youth remain focused on key goals: staying in school until graduation and learning to behave honorably and equitably with others.

Some of the things that PAD provides to the community are:

Parents Against Drugs Youth Initiative (PADYI)

related services

Each youth receives a psychosocial assessment that includes all referral data, self-report data, and parental information so a baseline can be established. It is only after this baseline measurement has been established that an individual goal planner is developed. This planner is used for monitoring and reassessment throughout the youth's stay in the program. This initial evaluation also allows for appropriate phase placement. Older youth will be enrolled in leadership development groups and classes which include budgeting, career planning, academic goal setting, life skills, and mentoring and tutoring younger children in the program.

Parents Against Drugs Youth Initiative: Phase Descriptions
Phase I Establishes safe and trusting relationships within the family systems, eventually extending to friends, teachers and professional support systems.
Phase II Begins to define specific, concrete tasks associated with maintaining grades and passing standardized tests while demonstrating self-responsibility in daily functions.
Phase III Focuses on skill development and ability to accept the consequences of actions.
Phase IV Pre-adult stage, with a focus on setting life goals. These goals need not be written in stone, but can give some direction to the future. Youth are responsible members of the community, able to vote, work, and contribute to the larger social interests of the community.

PADYI provides a wide range of activities designed to offer emotional and social support with recreational activities to encourage overal physical and mental wellness.

Some Statistics About PAD's Target Population

NEW: Parents Against Drugs Suburban Heroin Initiative

PAD is responding to the sharp increase in heroin-related deaths among 16-25 year olds, not only in the city of Chicago but in its surrounding communities. In 2013, communities including Naperville, Arlington Heights, and Northbrook experienced terrible upticks in heroin use. Will County suffered 11 heroin-related overdose deaths in this age range alone; DuPage County experienced more than 42 deaths in total; Lake and Suburban Cook Counties are reporting steady increases since 2010; and Illinois on the whole is struggling with this epidemic. Naperville alone suffered more than 38 deaths in 2013.

Deaths and arrests are measurable statistics -- the number of lives of users, their families, and their communities affected by opiate use is harder to measure and vastly larger now than ever before.

In response to these circumstances, Parents Against Drugs is bringing 12-step programs to the suburbs. Read more here about how PAD is working to help at-risk youth stay clean and maintain their recovery together.

General Youth Intervention

PAD's target population is young men and women between the ages of 13 and 20, in the Rogers Park community on the north side of Chicago and more recently in suburban Chicago communities including Naperville, Northbrook, and Arlington Heights. The Rogers Park community is 30% African American and 28% Hispanic. The average family size is 3.83 persons with a median family income of $31,386. Families with a female head of household and children 18 years of age or younger comprise 1.5% of the Rogers Park community. 24% of Rogers Park residents 25 years or older do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, 13% have a high school diploma, 11.3% have some college experience, 12.4% have an undergraduate degree, and 8.32% have a graduate/professional degree.

These statistics reflect the entire Rogers Park community, and don't fully convey the true economic and educational status of the African American and Hispanic communities we serve. PAD's target population lives in a community where role models for higher education are virtually nonexistent, positive employment opportunities are very scarce, and negative influences are overwhelmingly prevalent.

Parents Against Drugs is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.