In 1979, the County of Orange sponsored a workshop for its five contracted drug abuse prevention providers. This gathering was designed to build relationships and lessen competition among the agencies. Following its success, the participants decided to continue meeting regularly. Their purpose was to share resources and information while strengthening the voice of drug abuse prevention in Orange County and California. Known as the Orange County Drug Abuse Prevention Network, this group included: Center for Creative Alternatives, Fullerton Multipurpose Community Center, Orange County Drug Abuse Services, Straight Talk Clinic, Teen Help, and Turning Point.
In 1983, it became the Orange County Substance Abuse Prevention Network to reflect the addition of alcohol prevention. Membership expanded to include parent groups, gang/violence prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, and others.
As prevention emerged as a cost-effective alternative to treatment programs, the Prevention Network continued to grow and share its expertise with others in the field. In the 1980s, it sponsored many local workshops and conferences to sharpen the skills of the prevention workforce. In 1984, the Prevention Network began co-sponsoring the annual Orange County Student Drug Abuse Prevention Poster Contest. It provided prizes and cash awards for the winners, and continued to do so until the Poster Contest ended its 25-year run in 2009. The Network also acted as an Advisory Committee for the first School-Community Primary Prevention Project called the PAL Program, administered by the Orange County Department of Education to provide school-based prevention services to grades 2-12.
In 1990, school-based prevention expanded rapidly with funding from the Tobacco Surtax (Prop 99), the Safe & Drug Free Schools Program and other sources. The Prevention Network responded by hosting its first Showcase of Community Resources. Its goal was to connect schools with a wide array of Orange County organizations to help them address a variety of adolescent and family issues.
This year, the Orange County Substance Abuse Prevention Network celebrates its 36th anniversary. We are proud to serve Orange County as one of its longest-running and premiere networking organizations.