About Us

Supported by generous donations on behalf of:

The Ryan Whitney Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital
John Brooke Family Foundation
David Rosenbery of Prime Motor Group
The Copeland Family Foundation Inc. of Milton, MA

Brief History

In 1998, 19-year old, Ryan Whitney, passed away in an alcohol-related drowning. Dr. Knight had watched Ryan grow up in his neighborhood and was deeply moved. As a result, he decided to devote his career to adolescent substance abuse prevention and treatment, a field that was not adequately served at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2009, he founded the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, an outpatient clinic that stresses a multidisciplinary, family-centered approach to substance use treatment. Dr. Knight also founded the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research (CeASAR). ASAP and CeASAR were the first programs of their kind to be located at a children’s hospital anywhere. Knight and his colleagues at Boston Children’s Hospital are now world leaders in the field of substance abuse prevention, screening, early intervention and treatment.

In an attempt to make materials about teen substance use available to families, educators and healthcare professionals, CeASAR, in conjunction with Ryan Whitney’s family, produced Teen-Safe, an Internet-based educational intervention for parents of high school students. This site explains the effects of alcohol and drugs on the developing teen brain, and gives science-based strategies for protecting adolescents during the high-risk season of proms, graduation, and summer vacation. Nationally, greater than 30% of parents provide alcohol to their teenaged children in the mistaken belief that they can protect them. Teen-Safe provides the science and stories that show this to be a very dangerous, ill-informed strategy.

In 2010, Teen-Safe was piloted in Ryan’s hometown of Milton, Massachusetts in partnership with Principal Dr. John Drodder, Supt. Mary Gormley and other educators at Milton High School. Nearly all parents of graduating seniors completed the course. That year, there were no substance-related incidents at the high school’s prom or graduation. The previous year, there had been five. Teen-Safe shows promise as an efficient and effective way to improve parent knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, resulting in decreased teen substance use.

Mission Statement

Our goal is to provide the latest science and true-life stories as educational materials to parents, and also to teens and pre-teens, to foster better family communications, promote resilience and healthy activities and reduce risky teen behaviors; to ultimately change young lives, preserve futures, and strengthen families.


Dr. John Knight, Co-Director of CeASAR, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Sion Harris, Co-Director of CeASAR, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children’s Hospital
Lon Sherritt: Director of Research Technology, CeASAR, Boston Children’s Hospital

Contact Us





Mailing Address:

The Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research
Boston Children’s Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


CeASAR website