SADD's Mission & Policies
Originally, the mission of the SADD chapter was to help young people say "No" to drinking and driving. Today, the mission has expanded. Students have told us that positive peer pressure, role modeling and environmental strategies can prevent other destructive decisions and set a healthier, safer course for their lives. And that is why SADD has become a peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide.
To provide students with the best prevention tools possible to deal with the issues of underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, and other destructive decisions.
Policy Against Use of Alcoholic Beverages by Underage Youth (“No Use” Policy)
SADD does not support or condone the use of alcohol by underage young people. The purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages by anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in all 50 states.
Alcohol alters an individual's vision, reaction times, perception of distance, and judgment of one's abilities. For adolescents, whose brains are still developing in critical ways, alcohol use makes them more vulnerable to learning and memory impairments. The use of alcohol is frequently coupled with risky and potentially destructive behaviors such as physical and emotional violence, rude or thoughtless remarks or actions, sexual mistakes or misjudgments, sexual assaults, and suicide acts and attempts.
SADD believes that young people can have fun, enjoy life and nurture positive personal relationships without the distraction and distortion of alcohol. SADD seeks to demonstrate positive and attractive alternatives to alcohol and other drug-infused activities for teenagers.
SADD does not believe that it is possible to break the law responsibly. SADD and its chapters do not support or condone activities that encourage or enable the use of alcohol by underage young people, including the following activities:
- Designated Driver programs for underage young people
- Safe Rides programs
- Parties where alcohol is served under the supervision of or with the knowledge or consent of parents or other adults
- Drinking subject to passing a Breathalyzer test
SADD is an inclusive, not an exclusive, organization. SADD recognizes that the pressures on young people to drink, use illicit drugs and engage in other unhealthy behaviors are strong. SADD seeks not to punish or alienate those students who make unfortunate choices but rather aims to inform, educate, support and empower young people to make positive decisions in their lives.
Alcohol – SADD supports passage and enforcement of comprehensive drinking age laws that prohibit the purchase, attempt to purchase, or possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. Enforcement efforts should be directed at youth, adult providers, sellers, servers, and others who are in a position to endanger youth. Use of fraudulent identification should be deterred through heightened security measures and through enforcement of the law. Law enforcement officials should join with other members of the community in raising awareness among adults as well as teens of the dangers of underage drinking and the consequences of violating the law.
Responsible Marketing and Advertising – Teens view large amounts of marketing and advertising materials from the alcohol and tobacco industries. SADD supports efforts to encourage responsible marketing and advertising that does not target teens and is mindful of the impact these materials have on youth attitudes and behaviors.
Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws – Studies have shown that young drivers benefit from a gradual introduction to the privileges of driving an automobile. SADD supports graduated driver’s licensing laws that establish three phases for young novice drivers, including a permit phase during which drivers can only operate a vehicle with an adult, a provisional phase during which drivers are subject to certain (e.g., night-time) restrictions, and an unrestricted phase when all conditions have been met. SADD supports additional penalties within these laws for offenses involving impaired driving.
Primary Safety Belt Laws – Studies have shown that states that pass primary safety belt laws realize significant improvement in safety belt use. SADD supports primary safety belt laws that require use of occupant restraints by vehicle occupants and permit enforcement of the law without the need to observe or cite the driver for another offense.
Funding for anti-violence programming in schools – SADD supports funding for anti-violence programming in schools K-12, including programming that addresses issues such as hazing, bullying, relationship abuse, and gang activity.
Comprehensive approach to mental health for adolescents – SADD supports funding for mental health services.