CAD was set up in 1983 and played a significant role in mobilising an educated community response to an escalating drug problem, a role it continues to fulfil today.

Community Awareness of Drugs was formed to respond to drug issues across Dublin in the 1980s. Through local community action the National Federation of Community Action on Drugs (NFCAD) was formed in 1983 as a federation of organised community groups that trained and supported communities and families. Local NFCAD groups began to gather information on drugs and the signs and symptoms of drug use.  The formation of local groups occurred across Dublin yet the problems associated with drug use and the solutions individual groups devised to deal with these problems were particular to each community.

During the 1980s early work consisted of providing drug awareness training in communities. A handbook was prepared by NFCAD to help affiliated groups develop a drug prevention strategy for their community. Weekend courses were organised to provide parents and community workers with information on drugs, training in public speaking and presentation skills, so they in turn could educate other parents and voluntary community workers.

In 1983 Bernie joined CAD as a voluntary community worker and in 1992 was appointed the Co-ordinator of CAD (now Chief Executive Officer). In 1993 Community Awareness of Drugs was approved as a registered charity. At this time, CAD developed the Family Focus programme, a six session drug education programme for parents and other adults.

Since its formation Community Awareness of Drugs has continued to grow and its research and workshops provide parents and community workers with support and information on drug and alcohol misuse. Professor Des Corrigan, Government and EU Drugs Advisor continues to play an invaluable role as a mentor to CAD and participates in our Education Day workshops on a regular basis. In addition to our training and services, CAD has launched the Family Focus Tutor Training Programme in collaboration with the North East Regional Drug Task Force (Cavan, Monaghan, Louth & Meath).