Mission Statement

Raise, manage and distribute funds for the development and support of facilities, community education, and advocacy programs for adolescents and their families in Western New York suffering from alcohol and drug dependency/addiction.

History of the Organization

Kids Escaping Drugs was founded in 1987 in response to the need to provide a treatment facility for chemically dependent adolescents. Prior to the building of the Renaissance Campus (the residential facility supported by KED), there were no treatment facilities for adolescents in Western New York. Adolescents who suffered from chemical dependency were treated in an adult facility or, worse, not treated at all. The original residential building, Renaissance House, was built in 1990 and currently houses 30 boys ages 12-17. In 1995 a second building was added, Stepping Stones, which now houses 16 girls ages 12-21. Promise House was added in 2002 to specifically house older boys (ages 18-21) and has a capacity of 16. While in treatment, those residing on campus continue their education through traditional schooling, equivalency preparation, college preparation or vocational education. They also participate in art, music and recreational therapy. The five building campus (three residences, recreational facility and administrative/educational center) provide for a comfortable "home-like" residence that is safe and supportive. In 2008, KED decided to take its mission a step further and began to pilot the Face 2 Face program; a proactive approach to adolescent sobriety. Through this effort, more than 20,000 children, school personnel, parents and community members are educated on the dangers of experimentation each year. After a successful pilot, the Face 2 Face program was launched and the no-fee intervention program was added to aide in the growing need to combat adolescent addiction at the early stages of experimentation. This addition is designed to catch experimentation early in the hope to combat further use. After several years of success, it became clear that parents and caregivers need the similar knowledge on experimentation and how to recognize it as well as when to seek help.  Therefore, we launched a sister program called Face to Face in the Workplace. Designed to bring this program directly into the workplace and provide parents and caregivers the knowledge and tools to help battle the current drug epidemic. The Campus Design houses the following:
  • Renaissance House – 30 Residential rehabilitation beds for adolescent boys ages 12-17
  • Stepping Stones – 16 Residential rehabilitation beds for adolescent and young women ages 12-20
  • Promise House – 16 Residential rehabilitation beds for young men ages 18-20
  • Academic Center – Classroom and Gymnasium
  • Resource Center – KED offices, classroom, and the campus support programs

The Need

Underage alcohol and drug use remain one of the most serious public health threats facing adolescents in the Western New York region. According to the Center for Disease Control, accidental overdose has become the leading cause of death in the last decade for people ages 18-25. Underage drug and alcohol use often result in perilous outcomes for youth, as the consequences have longer term and far reaching implications. The Center for Addiction reports that 9 out of 10 people with addiction started using substances before they turned 18. Young adults continue to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana recreationally without realizing or facing severe consequences for this behavior. According to a recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over half of high school seniors have consumed alcohol in the last year and a third of seniors have used marijuana or hashish in the past year. Our own survey of area school children has shown that accessibility to substances is not difficult for children in our city, suburban, or rural school districts. In fact, these substances are likely readily available in their own homes, including prescription pain medications. The opioid crisis alone has truly transformed into an epidemic that is ravaging communities across the Western New York region. According to the Erie County Health Department, 256 people died in Erie County in 2015 from opioid overdose, which was a 102% increase from 2014. The death toll in 2016 has already exceeded this number, and it is expected that there will be between 400 and 500 opioid overdose-related deaths in Erie County by the end of the year. Unfortunately, the need for prevention and education about the dangers of experimentation and consequences of substance abuse and addiction is needed now more than ever.