Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) is the nation’s largest peer-organization. Founded in 1981 as Students Against Drunk Driving, the group has expanded its mission to include providing students “with the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving, and other destructive decisions.”

SADD functions on a philosophy of teamwork. The organization gets students to support and assist their peers in making intelligent, healthy decisions. Spreading the word about the dangers and consequences of drinking and drunk driving, among other bad decisions, SADD has built a network in schools and communities nationwide.

The organization has over 350,000 active student members and is managed by the constantly growing number of chapters in middle schools, high schools, and colleges. School chapter projects include:

  • Peer-led classes.
  • Student-focused forums.
  • Special workshops with themes.
  • Fundraising events.
  • Leadership training sessions.
  • Media outreach.

According to SADD, students in schools with a chapter are more aware and informed of the risks of underage drinking and its outcomes. Members are also more likely to have positive attitudes and reasons to abstain from alcohol use.

SADD spreads its message not only through its organized events and projects, but by simple word of mouth. For example, a friend of a SADD member is very likely to hold the same or similar values about alcohol. The organization was founded on the philosophy that young people are the most effective force in prevention of drunk driving, as they are empowered to help one another.

Upon joining SADD, students are required to sign the organization’s “Contract for Life.” This contract must be signed by both the student and an adult and stands as a mutual agreement to facilitate communications and advocate for safety.

Although all schools have different guidelines for beginning clubs or school chapters, the basic premise to get it off the ground is the same. Students are encouraged to recruit a diverse group of friends and students, find a teacher, coach, or administrator to act as the SADD chapter advisor, and organize a schedule for meetings. Then, students are asked to focus on spreading the SADD mission statement and working to address the most pressing issues at their school by:

  • Surveying students to determine concerns.
  • Holding fundraisers.
  • Hosting public awareness events.
  • Organizing school events.
  • Reaching out to media outlets to present local activities.
  • Hanging posters and banners on drunk driving statistics.
  • Planning substance-free parties.

To learn more about SADD’s mission, click here.