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Sue Rusche


Co-founder, President, and CEO, National Families In Action


National Families In Action


Sue Rusche knows the power of parents. As co-founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of National Families in Action (NFIA), Sue has helped shape the drug prevention field. Under her direction, NFIA has helped parents form drug-prevention groups throughout the United States, helped lead the parent drug-prevention movement, and helped contribute to the two-thirds reduction in regular drug use among adolescents and young adults and the 500 percent drop in daily marijuana use among high school seniors that occurred between 1979 and 1992.

She is chief architect of the Parent Corps®, which recruits and pays salaries to Parent Leaders to mobilize parents into drug prevention. The Parent Corps® has been one of four prevention goals of President George W. Bush’s National Drug Control Strategy and was funded by Congress in the FY 2003 budget in February, 2003. She is administrator of a $4.2 million grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to implement the Parent Corps® in nine states over three years.

She is web editor and principal writer of National Families in Action’s Internet Website, the Addiction Studies Program for Journalists Internet Website, and the Parent Corps Internet website.

She is co-founder of the Addiction Studies Program for Journalists, collaboratively formed by National Families in Action and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The Program holds intensive, two-day workshops for journalists who cover the drug story and provides an Internet website to connect journalists to scientists who are studying the effects of drugs on the brain. She also co-founded the Addiction Studies Program for State Legislatures with two additional partners, the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Conference of State Legislatures. This program is directed to legislators and legislative staff.

She has been principal investigator of several federal grants, including two five-year demonstration grants from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The first (1990-1995) enabled National Families in Action to help parents in Atlanta public-housing communities prevent drug abuse among their children. The second (1994-1999) enabled the organization to establish an after-school program for children at risk that increased academic performance, increased parental and student bonding to school, and prevented substance use among participants.

Ms. Rusche has served on numerous boards, including the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Advisory Board, the White House Conference for A Drug Free America (Presidential appointment), Surgeon General Koop’s Task Force on Drunk Driving, and the advisory committee for the Congressional Office for Technology Assessment, which conducted a study on the root causes of drug abuse for the United States Congress. She currently serves on the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

From 1984-1990, Ms. Rusche wrote a twice weekly column on drug abuse,which King Features syndicated to more than 100 newspapers throughout the nation. She has written op-eds for journals, newspapers and periodicals, including Science, the New York Review of Books, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and countless other newspapers. She is principal author of the five-day Parent Corps Basic Training and co-author with Paula Kemp of the DARE Parent Program. She is co-author with David Friedman, a neuroscientist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, of False Messengers: How Addictive Drugs Change the Brain, (Harwood Academic Books, October, 1999). She is founding editor of Drug Abuse Update, author of A Guide to the Drug Legalization Movement, principal author of the You Have the Right to Know drug-education series, and author of How to Form A Families in Action Group in Your Community, Crack Update, and The American Prevention Movement. She contributed a chapter to A Handbook on Drug Prevention (Allyn and Bacon, 1995) and wrote several articles for the Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior (Macmillan, 1996). She served as editorial advisor to the revision of Macmillan’s Encyclopedia in 2002 and to Drugs and Controlled Substances, a series published by the Gale Group.

In the course of her work, Ms. Rusche has testified before many Congressional committees, given speeches throughout the world, and made numerous appearances on national television, including the Jim Lehrer Newshour, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN News, CNN and Company, CNN News Stand, Fox Cable Television, MSNBC, and various network evening news shows, as well as on numerous local television and radio shows across the nation.

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