Community Spotlight: Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP)

Community Spotlight: Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP)

September 16, 2022

AADAP, the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality, affordable drug and alcohol treatment services in the Los Angeles area. Their mission is to change the lives of people greatly affected by substance use through a “whole person” approach. They’ve adopted the concept of “Ohana,” meaning “family” in Hawaiian, emphasizing how each individual at AADAP is joining a family of compassion, responsibility, and respect.

AADAP’s History

AADAP was founded in 1972 in response to the combination of the growth of the drug industry and the increasing number of drug-related deaths as many people, especially young people, were struggling with substance abuse. Although the program’s name is Asian-focused, they do not solely serve the Asian community, but exist to serve anyone dealing with the abuse of different substances.

AADAP’s commitment to working closely with other programs has enabled the organization to better serve the community. Additionally, AADAP has served as an incubator for other AAPI organizations to get their footing, grow, and become successful.  This foresight from their leaders helped launch the careers of many successful AAPI community leaders. 

Recent challenges the organization has faced have surfaced from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with the deterioration of mental health and the increase in homelessness. With these issues, people have felt more tired and stressed causing them to turn to drugs as an outlet. The new fentanyl and opioid crises have also brought more challenges to the organization; however, they remain committed to continuing to adapt and introduce programming to ensure those in need receive help.  AADAP is proud to be one of the major drug prevention leaders in the Los Angeles area.

Finding Success in Caring for the Community

Despite the constant changes going on throughout the world, AADAP has stayed true to its original philosophy of serving its people. The organization’s culture and service have allowed people to feel seen, and give people an opportunity to be a part of a greater community. From the beginning, AADAP’s leaders were organized enough to come together to secure funding and establish individual programs in order to serve an immense need in their community.  Since then, AADAP has established various treatment programs and even expanded to include HIV/AIDS outreach, Drug Court Services for the Inglewood Municipal Courts, tobacco education, and a for-profit business venture, MTC Construction.

Although all of AADAP’s programs have been successful in their own way, AADAP’s creation of the Employment Access Unit has opened many unique doors, specializing in job training and placement. This program has allowed AADAP to be recognized as a City of LA Work Source Center and has given thousands of people a chance to change their life for the better. In addition, their WORKS program is a program specifically designed for those convicted of a felony.  This program is a partnership between AADAP, Homemade LA, and a local construction company that trains and gives clients an opportunity to get into the workforce and learn valuable skills.

Celebrating 50 Years

As AADAP celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, they are looking forward to the next 50 years in hopes of being a one-stop-shop where individuals can receive all the help and support that they need.  Their 50th anniversary gala on Saturday, September 17th in Downtown Los Angeles will serve as a long-awaited reunion as well as a time of gratitude, giving thanks to those who have served the community and helped get the organization where they are today. Community and diversity will be highlighted as everyone will be given a chance to come together despite having different backgrounds and experiences.

The J. Morey Company, is proud to be the booklet sponsor this year which has helped provide the opportunity to publish a program booklet encapsulating the history and showcasing the story of how this amazing organization came to be.  Thank you to Paulina Hong, Director of Development at AADAP, for sharing all of this information with us to help tell AADAP’s story.  To learn more about AADAP, visit their website here.