About PDAP

Our Mission

PDAP’s mission is to ensure recovery and healing for youth with substance abuse problems, provide support for their families, and prevent substance abuse among youth in high-risk environments.

Our goal is to reduce the number of teenagers in Ventura County who abuse alcohol and drugs; to intervene with youth most at risk of serious health, family and legal problems due to substance abuse; and to collaborate with other agencies in fostering healthy life-style choices by youth and in bringing a broad range of services for youth and families into each community.

We provide a non-residential adolescent prevention/intervention/treatment program in local communities throughout Ventura County. The program consists of group, family and individual youth counseling, a weekly teen 12-step recovery meeting, drug-awareness and intervention groups in high schools, parent education and support groups, family case management (in two of the collaborative grant programs) and school or community presentations on substance abuse among youth. High-risk youth are referred by Juvenile Probation Officers, Juvenile Court Judges, parents, teachers, school counselors, group homes and other community agencies when substance abuse is known or suspected to be a problem. Counselors (Certified Addiction Treatment Specialists) assess the severity of using patterns and related behaviors, and work with the youth primarily in weekly group sessions. These sessions combine peer discussion of personal experiences of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol with clear data about the danger, and a combination of support and pressure to change behaviors. Every effort is made to keep the youth in the program for a minimum of six months, because we have found this to be an essential amount of time to change attitudes and behaviors when the youth are seen only once or twice a week.



The original Palmer Drug Abuse Program was begun in 1971 in Houston, Texas. In 1980, when performer Carol Burnett was searching for effective treatment for her daughter, she took her to PDAP in Texas, and then took steps to bring PDAP to southern California. Very soon after PDAP of Los Angeles was opened, two families began commuting from Ventura County four times a week to attend meetings. The two families grew to twenty, and in 1981 a satellite program was begun in Camarillo. A Board of Directors was formed to develop local financial support and build a stable base from which to keep expanding services to meet the needs of Ventura County families. In 1984, PDAP became a member agency of United Way of Ventura County. During 1988, PDAP of Los Angeles ceased functioning as an independent agency, and PDAP of Ventura County filed for non-profit incorporation, which was completed in February 1989. In 1992, PDAP received Certification from the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs. And in 1995 the program was also certified as a provider of Drug MediCal Outpatient Drug Free services.

Since 1990, we have developed a countywide network of community-based services for troubled youth and their families. We work closely with Ventura County Behavioral Health Department, Ventura County Probation Agency, Interface Children Family Services, Oxnard Drug-Free Communities Project, Ventura Community Partnership for Youth Collaborative of the Ventura Unified School District, other local school districts and other community organizations. Our staff has grown from one counselor assisted by volunteers doing administrative and fundraising tasks to 6.75 FTE counselors, 2 FT case managers/family advocates, 3 PT volunteer counselors, 2 PT intern counselors, 1 PT administrative assistant and 1 FT Executive/Clinical Director.


PDAP’s program staff is currently serving 250 to 300 unduplicated clients per month in the cities of Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks and Camarillo.

Executive/Clinical Director: Ginny Connell, M.S., MFT