Aviation, science and art combine to fight America’s drug and alcohol addiction epidemic
On June 17, SafeLaunch and Signature Flight Support kicked off the “Flights Above Addiction Tour” in four West Coast cities, in the effort to help stem adolescent drug and alcohol exposure and addiction.
During each tour stop, local youth, parents and community leaders are invited to participate in an interactive experience to learn about the science of addiction and how it affects the human brain while it is still under development. At every event, youth have the opportunity to paint their dreams for a healthy, addiction-free future on a Cessna Skylane, the “Flights Above” Tour plane, while SafeLaunch “Wing Parents” (parents who have lost children to addiction) speak to the other parents in attendance.
According to experts, the United States is experiencing an “addiction epidemic,” due to the escalating use of opioids and incidents of alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses, which together led to the deaths of approximately 65,000 Americans in 2016.
“Ninety percent of addiction starts before age 18,” said Janet Rowse, SafeLaunch co-founder. “Addiction is a preventable brain disease that we are aiming to stop. By inspiring teens to set goals, take control of their lives, and imagine the vast possibilities that this beautiful world offers, we actively inspire them to achieve a life above addiction.”
The Tour stops at the regional airports of Scottsdale, Ariz., on June 17; Palm Springs, Calif., on June 24; Fresno, Calif., on July 22; and San Diego on Aug. 5.
Signature Flight Support is a global leader in fixed base operations. “At Signature Flight Support we believe in the importance of being involved, responsible members of our communities where we work and live, and that includes providing a safe environment for our children,” said Eric Hietala, Western Regional Vice President at Signature Flight Support. “Addiction, with its potential to ruin lives, must be stopped at an early age. That’s why we are active proponents of SafeLaunch, which educates parents and vulnerable teens, and helps them imagine a positive path for their futures.”
Recent studies have found:
- Nine out of 10 people who abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs began using these substances before they were 18.
- People who began using addictive substances before age 15 are nearly seven times likelier to develop a substance problem than those who delay first use until age 21 or older.
- Every year that substance use is delayed during the period of adolescent brain development, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decreases.
SafeLaunch is a 501 (c)(3) founded in 2010 in Santa Barbara, Calif., by parents who believe that preventing children’s exposure to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drugs is as important as preventing childhood diabetes, lead poisoning or any other preventable disease. Ron Cuff, the tour pilot and co-founder is fond of telling kids that “a great life is like a great flight, you must train for it and choose a destination, but most of all, you must keep your head clear and your brain healthy.”
Flights Above Addiction, a SafeLaunch program, is a flying, interactive art and aviation program where parents and youth learn about addiction risk, and then paint their dreams of a healthy future on a Cessna airplane at air shows and aviation events across California.
Signature Flight Support Corporation, a BBA Aviation plc company, is the world’s largest FBO and distribution network for business and general aviation services. Signature services include fueling, hangar and office rentals, ground handling, maintenance and a wide range of crew and passenger amenities at strategic domestic and international locations. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Signature currently operates at 205 global locations in the United States, Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. For more information, please visit: www.signatureflight.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/signatureflightsupport. Follow Signature Flight Support on Twitter: @SignatureFBO.
BBA Aviation plc is a leading global aviation support and aftermarket services provider. BBA Aviation’s Flight Support businesses (Signature Flight Support and ASIG) provide specialist on-airport support services, including refuelling and ground handling, to the owners and operators of private, business, military and commercial aircraft. BBA Aviation’s Aftermarket Services businesses (Dallas Airmotive, Premier Turbines, H+S Aviation, International Turbine Service, W. H. Barrett Turbine Engine Company, International Governor Services and Ontic) are focused on the repair and overhaul of gas turbine engines and the service of aerospace components, sub-systems and systems. BBA Aviation group companies operate from more than 220 individual locations on five continents. For more information, please visit: www.bbaaviation.com.