About Us


ADAPAO was founded over 30 years ago by Ohioans who supported alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention. Members ranged from prevention practitioners and professionals in other fields to community members and volunteers who saw the need for an association to advocate for prevention.

Led by a volunteer board of directors, ADAPAO hit the ground running, creating a monthly newsletter for its membership, developing position papers on prevention topics, and providing networking opportunities for members. The founders viewed the association’s primarily role as one of advocacy: creating change by influencing decision-makers through the power of a unified voice for prevention. That advocacy has taken the form of testifying before legislative bodies, educating professionals and the general public about prevention, and convening stakeholders to address issues relevant to prevention.

One of the association’s early successes in the late 1980s was bringing together two state departments to cosponsor a new educational offering for community- and school-based prevention practitioners and advocates. That conference - originally known as the Ohio Prevention and Education Conference (more commonly known as OPEC) - remains a key education and training opportunity for Ohio's prevention community. 

ADAPAO has also been a leading provider of critical education, training and dialogue on prevention issues within our state. In the early 1990s, ADAPAO developed and instituted the New Prevention Professionals conferences, created to give novice prevention practitioners a solid background in prevention theory, models, and practice. ADAPAO revisited that concept in 2001 by creating the Effective Prevention Practitioner Conference. More recently, we have implemented the Ohio Prevention Academy, an innovative and immersive conference environment featuring a Foundations Track for new prevention professionals and advocates, as well as an Advanced Track for established prevention professionals who achieved their Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist I or II credential.

We are currently training and mentoring 15 of Ohio's most promising prevention professionals in advanced skill development through the ADAPAO Prevention Mentoring Project, a nine-month project that will culminate in May, 2015.

ADAPAO also hosts its Annual Conference, one of the premier dialogue-based prevention education opportunities within Ohio, in May of each year. The Annual Conference focuses on a specific topic – alcohol abuse across the lifespan, technology and prevention, and the role of prevention in the overall health care picture, have been among the foci in recent years – and provides an in-depth educational environment for prevention professionals and advocates to learn, engage with expert presenters, and dialogue with their peers on these key prevention issues.

ADAPAO has been the consistent voice for prevention at the state level since its origins. Throughout its history, ADAPAO has provided prevention representation to a host of state level committees, councils, work groups, and task forces. ADAPAO currently provides prevention representation to more than 20 of these key decision-making entities that influence the health and well-being of every Ohioan.

Since its inception, ADAPAO has maintained a reputation as an independent, unapologetic voice for prevention. As a membership organization, the association’s mission, activities and funding have been driven by its members, who recognize ADAPAO as their voice and mechanism to constantly strive for the advancement of prevention for all Ohioans. That motivation has fueled ADAPAO’s work for more than three decades and is the foundation of our work.