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 models and other strategies can help them say "No" to more than drinking and driving. And that is why SADD has become a peer leadership organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving, teen violence and teen depression and suicide.
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.