Rap Inc., one of the District's few longstanding treatment programs battling a citywide epidemic of drug abuse, is flirting with oblivion as its leaders scramble to find new headquarters after the program's 15-year lease on a building in Adams-Morgan expired on Friday.

Ron Clark, Rap's executive director, said yesterday that the William T. Brawner real estate firm, the program's landlord at 1731 Willard St. NW, has given the program an informal lease extension of "a couple weeks" until temporary headquarters can be found.

But Rap needs housing for at least three months while program and D.C. officials explore options for a permanent residence for the program, which is treating 53 addicts and has rehabilitated an estimated 800 people since it was started 17 years ago. Efforts to reach city officials yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.

Rap officials, anticipating the expiration of the lease, intensified efforts this spring to find a new location but encountered resistance in several communities to having a drug treatment program in the neighborhood.

Rap's first choice for new quarters is the vacant Anthony Bowen YMCA on 12th Street NW between S and T streets, according to Clark. But other organizations, including art, church and children's groups, also are competing for a lease there. The building, which contains dormitories, a gym and a swimming pool, would require about $400,000 in renovations, he said.

Rap also is considering leasing a building in the 1900 block of 4th Street NE, but a zoning change is required before the program could move to the site and the zoning commission does not meet until next month, according to Clark. The building also would need extensive renovation, he said.

"There's an epidemic going on as far as drugs are concerned," said William Rumsey, former director of the D.C. Department of Recreation and former principal of McKinley High School. "I've worked with city youth all my life and I have never seen a time when a service is so drastically needed as drug treatment is now."

Rap's plight underscores the need for more focus on drug treatment programs throughout the area, according to Clark and community leaders.

"Every drug treatment program in the city and in the metropolitan area is full. There are simply not enough programs in the area," Clark said. "If we had our way, we would put a program right in the middle of each drug-infested community, be it in Southeast, in a project, whatever."

But Clark said that despite widespread lip service paid to combating the problem of drug abuse, D.C. residents are not pressing city officials to expand drug treatment programs or preserve existing ones.

"I don't see families that have drug addicts in them writing to the mayor or the city council saying, 'My son's in trouble, why don't we have any programs?' " Clark said.

"What makes government work is the people, and they should be outraged that there aren't many programs. Their houses are being broken into, their cars are being broken into {for drug money} -- why aren't they . . . demanding that something be done?" Clark said.

The resistance of residents of many communities to locating drug treatment programs in their neighborhoods compounds the problem, Clark said.