Do It Now Foundation was established
in 1968 by a handful of people with a simple mission: to do something about
the explosive increase in the use and abuse of amphetamines by
Founders were members of the
youth culture themselves who had witnessed speed's toxic toll
firsthand, and wanted to spread the word that speed really can
kill -- both dreamers and dreams.
Among its earliest work, the
Foundation developed one of the first drug information hotlines
in the United States, and established a crisis rescue team, street
drug analysis service, and alternative treatment program serving
the Los Angeles area. Eventually, satellite programs were established
in Santa Cruz, San Jose, and other cities.
But a single, early project --
the creation and distribution of credible, street-smart drug
information -- quickly became our central focus and has remained
our organizational objective and overriding concern for 30 years.
Do It Now's unique approach to
information services grew out of the urgent need for realistic,
culturally relevant approaches to substance abuse education and
As drug use surged across the
nation and the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it became
clear that young people simply were no longer paying much attention
to the scare-oriented messages of the "establishment."
New tools were needed. And Do
It Now would play a key role in creating them.
The Foundation put itself on
the map (and proved it could do the undoable with next to nothing)
by enrolling the support of the rock-music industry in a then-unprecedented
idea: production and distribution of a compilation record album,
titled "First Vibration,"
showcasing the words and music of the industry's brightest stars,
organized thematically around the issue of amphetamine abuse.
Containing selections donated
by top solo artists and groups (including The Beatles, Byrds,
Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Jefferson Airplane, and Buffalo Springfield),
songs on "First Vibration" depicted speed-related risks
in both general terms ("Nowhere Man," "Sunshine
Superman") and in nitty-gritty specifics (Hoyt Axton's "The
Pusher," Canned Heat's "Amphetamine Annie").
The album was primarily distributed
via public-service agencies and rock radio stations throughout
the United States and Canada, and staked Do It Now with the initial
resources it needed to establish itself as a credible, alternative
youth-oriented information project.
Do It Now gained further attention in the '70s by producing public
service announcements for radio which carried the message of
the Foundation to rock music fans everywhere.
Featuring such rock legends as
Frank Zappa, Steve Stills, Eric Burdon, Grace Slick, and John
Sebastian, the PSA's promoted the message that speed and other
hard drugs could be deadly, typically concluding with the tag
The message achieved saturation coverage and, at the campaign's
height, was aired by some 1,500 radio stations around the world.
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Do It Now's early publications
were purposely designed to mirror the cultural foment and energy
and idealism of the emerging youth culture of the late 1960s
and early '70s.
Early materials included words
and images from such countercultural icons as Allen Ginsberg
and cartoonist R. Crumb. Early titles included:
.A 19-Year-Old Girl and Poet Allen Ginsberg
Talk About Speed
.Hard Drugs & The Movement
.Heroin: The Strongest Thing You Can
Buy Without a Prescription
Like a look at some of our early work? Click the button at right
or the titles above.
(Or visit our Archives section later.)
In 1972, the Foundation relocated
from Hollywood to Phoenix, and a second organization (the Do
It Now Foundation of Southern California) was launched to separate
treatment and other services from educational activities and
insure adequate attention to the quality of each.
Following the move, both the
quantity and quality of Do It Now educational materials increased
Throughout the 1970s and '80s,
Do It Now collaborated with both public- and private-sector groups
to develop innovative information campaigns highlighting the
hazards of nearly every public-health issue that reared its head
in our direction -- from "lookalike" drugs and "T's
& Blues" to AIDS and the resurrection of our old nemesis,
Today, Do It Now distributes
millions of publications and other materials each year and works
closely with state and provincial agencies throughout the United
States and Canada, as well as with corporations, schools, and
community groups, to develop innovative, high-impact public information
Although our main focus in our
early years was the prevention of youthful amphetamine abuse
-- a role which quickly grew to encompass other drugs of abuse
-- our interests have expanded over the years to include other
topics affecting other groups.
Currently, the Do It Now publication
roster includes pamphlets, booklets, posters, and other materials
that address chemical dependency and recovery, HIV/AIDS prevention
and survival, and other behavioral health and personal growth
The cornerstone of the Foundation's
philosophy has always centered on individual empowerment and
the notion that each of us is uniquely qualified to make decisions
concerning the content and quality of our lives.
To make rational and informed
decisions on such highly personal (and emotionally-charged) issues
as drugs and sexuality, we believe that access to timely, accurate
information is crucial, and we seek to provide relevant, continually-updated
information in all our publications.
In researching and reporting
on drugs and sexuality, we attempt to be as objective and as
reality-based as possible. We don't attempt to slant or distort
information for our readers' "own good" or promote
a covert philosophical agenda.
Why? Because we believe that
truth is not only stranger than fiction; it's also stronger than fiction -- and more impactful in
all our lives.
We believe that any behavioral
change induced by distorted "facts" and scare campaigns
is illusory and short-lived, while changes based on objective
reporting of real-world issues are more likely to be true, lasting
For this reason, we strive to
provide information that's relatively devoid of the moralizing,
stereotyping, and hand-wringing that's still endemic among public-health
We rigorously seek to distinguish
fact from fiction -- even well-intentioned, well-entrenched,
and well-respected fictions -- concerning the critical personal
choices that confront us all.
Recognizing that the use of psychoactive
chemicals is one of humanity's oldest preoccupations, we believe
that no nation and no policy will ever "win" a war
on drugs. Instead, we choose to fight our battles where they
can be won and stay
won: in the hearts and minds of our readers.
To do this, we accept the value
of, and need for, both "primary" and "secondary"
prevention strategies and messages.
We are committed to developing
primary-prevention materials for young people that promote a
"no-use" philosophy. We believe, and advocate in our
primary-prevention materials, that the only
way to avoid drug-related problems is to avoid the use of drugs
themselves. Period. In primary-prevention materials (including
our "FactsFirst" pamphlets
and "All-Star Attitudes,"
"Natural High," and "Save Sex" poster series), we emphasize
drug-free alternatives and proactive choices, rather than "Just
Say No" rhetoric.
Since we also recognize
that ignorance can be as dangerous and destructive as drugs themselves,
we direct many of our publications toward the goal of reducing
risk among already-affected individuals and groups. Our secondary-prevention
materials (examples include our "StreetTalk" and "Sex101"
pamphlet series) focus on reducing risk and self-destructive
behavior. Rationale: You can't get better if you don't stay alive.
In both primary and secondary
prevention materials, we believe that information is most meaningful
when presented in a context of action
choices, rather than as curiosities or disconnected
series of facts. That's why we emphasize actions that readers
can take on their own behalf in the present moment -- in the
here and now -- to avoid problems or reduce risk, whether it
involves chemical use and abuse, sexuality, or other life issues.
We incorporate humor and contemporary
cultural references in our publications because research has
consistently shown that they both increase readability and facilitate
recall of factual information. And because it's more fun -- to
read and write.
Finally, we don't favor or endorse
any specific treatment approach or philosophy, believing instead
that many roads lead to the same destination, the place that
we're all (hopefully) headed for and committed to reaching: full
human potential and self-actualization.
In the years since its inception,
hundreds of dedicated people have worked diligently and well
to create Do It Now Foundation and keep it committed to a continual
process of creating communications that touch both the heart
and the head.
In the process, each has helped
establish and maintain our reputation as one of the most respected
independent publishers of substance abuse prevention and health
education materials in the world.
They did it because it needed
doing, and no one else was doing it -- at least, not the way
we thought it needed doing and think it still needs to be done:
with candor and humor and respect for the intelligence and common
sense of our readers.
It's a rare privilege -- and
a perpetually daunting and humbling task: helping to shape opinion
and behavior through the power of our individual and collective
We appreciate both the opportunity
and the responsibility.
And with your continued interest
and support -- and you wouldn't have stayed with us this long
without some measure of both -- we plan to keep on doing it now
for a long time to come.