About Past Projects


Since its founding in 1977, National Families in Action has worked to protect children from addictive drugs based on science, not spin. NFIA has carried out its mission with several important projects and programs.

National Parent Movement

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, NFIA helped lead a national Parent Movement to encourage parents to protect their kids from a drug culture that glamorized drug use to them. This movement is credited by the first two directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse with reducing past-month illicit drug use among adolescents and young adults by two-thirds and daily marijauna use among high school seniors by 500 percent between 1979 and 1992. No one has done that before or since.

Parent Corps

Between 2003 and 2007, National Families in Action implemented a $4.2 million grant from Congress through the Corporation for National and Community Service to create and conduct a pilot program of the Parent Corps at 19 schools in 9 states. From each school, NFIA recruited, trained, and employed a Parent Leader whose job was to educate and mobilize the school’s parents into drug prevention. Principals report these results: positive communications with parents doubled and student attendance and grades increased, while discipline problems and drop-out rates decreased.

The pilot program ended in 2007 but continued in Georgia with funding from the Imlay Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, the Sembler Company, and others for three additional years. Congressman John Lewis introduced The National Parents Corps Act to make the Parent Corps a permanent institution in Congress.

Inner-City Families in Action & Club HERO

With two grants from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in the 1990s, NFIA took the parent movement to parents living in Atlanta public-housing communities via Inner-City Families in Action and to their middle-school children via Club HERO (Helping Everyone Reach Out).

But What about the Children?

In 2010, with support from Newman’s Own Foundation, the organization began But What about the Children? This educational effort seeks to help policymakers find ways to protect children from a legal, commercial marijuana industry that will market the drug to them, like the alcohol and tobacco industries do. NFIA anticipated what actually happened in 2012 when Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. In May 2013, with a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NFIA hosted a marijuana workshop for leaders from Colorado, Washington State, and other states facing legalization. The workshop, keynoted by President Jimmy Carter, sought to help legalization states develop regulations to protect children from commercial marijuana and other states to seek marijuana policies that chart a middle road between incarceration and legalization.

Addiction Studies Programs

From 1999 to 2011, NFIA partnered with Wake Forest University School of Medicine to conduct the Addiction Studies Program for Journalists. The program’s goal was to provide those who shape public opinion with an understanding of the science that underlies drug use, abuse, and addiction to help journalists report the drug story with scientific accuracy. This program trained more than 500 print, broadcast, and electronic journalists. In 2005, the founders added two additional partners, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Treatment Research Institute, to create the Addiction Studies Program for the States. This program helped state governments improve their drug policies based on science. By the time it concluded in 2014, the program had trained teams from nearly all states. Both programs were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Drug Information Collection

Throughout the course of its work, NFIA has amassed a Drug Information Collection containing several hundred thousand documents that trace the evolution of the drug legalization and drug prevention movements in the United States from the 1970s to the present. We hope to locate the collection at an academic library so that it can be digitized and made available for scholars to study the history of drug use, abuse, and addiction in America since the 1970s.

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