About Us

History

ADAPAO was founded over 35 years ago by Ohioans who supported substance use 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 ADAPAO’s early successes in the late 1980s was bringing together two state departments to co-sponsor 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. In recent years, we have implemented the Ohio Prevention Academy, an innovative and immersive conference experience for both new and veteran prevention professionals; the ADAPAO Advocacy Project, developing legislative, systems, and individual advocacy capacity with a cohort of prevention leaders; and the ADAPAO Prevention Mentoring Project, providing skill development for OCPS-level prevention professionals.

ADAPAO also hosts its Annual Conference, one of the premier prevention education opportunities within Ohio, in May of each year. The Annual Conference provides a dialogue-based, in-depth educational environment within which prevention professionals and advocates can learn, engage with expert presenters, and communicate with their peers on 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 association, ADAPAO'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 efforts for nearly four decades and is the foundation of our work.