1968 a physician, a pharmacist and a police officer came together to respond to a growing substance abuse problem in their community. They gave their time, effort and money and founded an organization that has changed lives for more than 5 decades now. As a result of their commitment and desire to make a difference in the lives of people seeking help, Drug Abuse Foundation was born. The Founding focus of the new organization was prevention, that focus was expanded very shortly there after to include treatment. Today that focus now includes prevention, intervention, crisis stabilization, med/psych and treatment.

1978, during the seventies and through out the early eighties, the Foundation primary focus was still prevention. Though it provided treatment services, it had more programs for prevention than treatment. The Foundation operated several evidence-based prevention programs in public middle schools through out south Palm Beach County. Known as ALPHA, these programs became a state wide model for direct prevention initiative. The Foundation also operated a specialized prevention after school program known as Discovery Club. The program also after a wide variety of community-based prevention programs which it continues to this day.

1988, during the seventies the eighties, the Palm Beach County community saw a drastic increase in cocaine use—leading to the “Cocaine Crisis” of the eighties. This crisis would continue on into the nineties as well. It was during this crisis that the board of directors held one of the most important strategic planning sessions it has ever held. It was at this session where the board deliberated about making a major shift in focus to that of treatment services. They would not abandon prevention services, but they would put all of their efforts in dramatically expanded the agency’s treatment services. It was at this planning session where they committed to developing a Comprehensive Service Campus that would be home to an array of treatment services.

1998, during the late nineties we saw the early development of what would become the “Pill Mill Crisis” in Palm Beach County. During the nineties the Foundation partnered with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to create some of the most innovative programs in the state of Florida to fight the cocaine and other drug problems in the county. These program focused of the criminal justice population and included a wide array of services operated in both an in jail setting and a community based setting. The most prominent of these were the “Drug Farm Program”, a secure residential treatment unit inside of the county jail.

2008, during the early 2000’s the Foundation continued to expand services to address what was then becoming the expansion of the “Pill Mill Crisis.” This was a crisis that involved the pharmaceutical industry colluding with bogus pain clinics and outpatient detox clinics to distribute pharmaceuticals, mostly opioids, to individuals who had a growing addiction to them. By the end of 2009 a task force of Federal, State and county law enforcement had begun to make some inroads into closing down many of the flagrant abuses of this illegal drug distribution system.

2018, during the late 2000’s we saw the closure of many of the illegal Pill Mills, but we also saw a massive reduction in publicly supported treatment resources. Although we saw success with reducing the Pill Mills, we were left with a large population who were addicted to opioids with no obvious way to support their habit. This created a perfect environment for the emergence of the “Opioid Crisis.” By this time, the Palm Beach County community had lost more than half of its publicly supported treatment beds and individuals had to wait for treatment. This crisis further fueled the growth of the “Opioid Crisis.” The Foundation continues to collaborate with public entities to develop programs to target these special needs.

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