SADD refers to the youth group Students against Drunk Driving which was organized in 1981 by Robert Anastas at Wayland High School in Massachusetts. There, he and 15 students decided to form the group in response to rising road fatalities among youth as a result of drunkenness. From this root, the “flesh” of the idea for the group was built and formalized.
In the next year the group launched chapters across the United States and later in 1983, SADD received major media promotion via public service announcements in all markets. Just 6 year since its existence SADD begins circulating its message to the continents of Africa, Australia, and countries like France, Iran Japan, Israel Jamaica and the Netherlands. No doubt with the influence of the group now growing, road fatalities fell to less than 50% in 1997, 16 years after the groups inception. This may be attributed to the assiduous efforts of the campaign against drunk driving.
Since its inception, SADD has established itself as the foremost youth group spreading its message through peer to peer interaction. In order to maximize the gains from previous years SADD expanded its mandate which resulted in a name change to Students Against Destructive Decisions. This message seeks to solidify the group’s commitment to stopping all types of risky behaviors and habits in young people.
It is SADD’s ability to appeal to the youth and its consideration of the needs of their target group that has helped it to reap the rewards it has had thus far. The activities undertaken by the group include pushing the education of youth on prevention messages through schools and communities and tailoring activities to areas with special needs. The bonus is all efforts are mobilized by youth thereby providing an exemplary contrast to reality and examples of what difference change can bring.
Special activities are also organized such as youth forums, workshops, conferences/ classes, rallies, education on prevention, leadership training and building awareness and legislative framework to support the group’s cause. Empirical data has also suggested that SADD’S impact is not only perceived but can be measured scientifically. Schools with SADD chapters have proven to be more aware of risky habits and behaviour and such students tend to therefore use this knowledge to make positive choices as it relates to these behaviours. The key factor being that with the knowledge of not only the risky behaviour, they also are educated on ways to make the right choices when faced with the decision of choosing.
SADD has also partnered with non-profit organizations, federal and state-run agencies to make its presence felt, providing a collaborative stance to promote safe choices and behavior for the World’s youth. The group seems poised to rise to the challenge of providing some safe haven for young people who are always in need of stability and direction.