Stopping the disease of addiction before it starts to ensure healthy futures for America's teens

Flights Above Addiction

Flights Above Addiction is a traveling teen art and aviation program that informs communities that addiction is a preventable chronic brain disease contracted in adolescence 90% of the time.

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Media $500 Contests

Media $500 Contests invite secondary students to produce compelling art and media illuminating the risk of early alcohol, tobacco, and other drug exposure.

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Science of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

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The Brain Your Child Needs To Succeed

SafeLaunch and the Santa Barbara Unified School District present renowned brain researcher and author D.C. McGuire

All parentsdc-mcguire-headshot will have the chance to win $25,000 and other great door prizes at this informative, entertaining talk. Why? Because parenting can and should be fun!

D.C. (Donna-Christine) McGuire, will inspire parents with insights from her research on cognition, behavior and decision making. She will demystify the complexity of brain science.

Ms. McGuire has been engaged in research and clinical practice for over 10 years with a particular focus on the effects of dopamine on the human brain. She has worked with individuals and businesses, as well as numerous public and private organizations applying neuroscience-based solutions to challenging issues. Her presentations have inspired thousands of people to be healthier, happier and more successful. She currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists and is actively engaged with Human Rights Watch.

Community resource tables will open at 5:30. Early bird dinner from El Zarape Restaurant will be provided from 5:30-6pm for $5 per person. This presentation is made possible through a partnership of SafeLaunch and the Santa Barbara Unified School District, and sponsored by Marborg, DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara and Paradise Cafe. For more information contact or 805-283-7233.

Location: Santa Barbara Junior High School, Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara

SafeLaunch Presents D.C. McGuire’s “The Brain Your Child Needs to Succeed” on October 17

Crazy Pilot Coming to AOPA’s Prescott, AZ Fly In

Hundreds of pilots will be coming to the AOPA Prescott Fly-In this Saturday, but only one will be letting young artists paint on his plane

Retired Navy Commander Ron Cuff is looking forward to his fellow AOPA pilot’s questions and comments, like: “Does that paint wash off?” and, “I sure hope that paint washes off!” Of course, the big question is why would a guy allow young people to do this to his plane not just once, but 23 times?

Ron Cuff and Janet Rowse are the co-founders of the Santa Barbara based nonprofit SafeLaunch, the name derived from Ron’s experience as a Navy carrier pilot, including 120 safe launches from 7 different aircraft carriers.

SafeLaunch invites parents to take the SafeLaunch Parent Pledge, and shares three key messages:

1) Know that 90% of addiction is contracted before age 18.
2) Preventing teen exposure to alcohol and drugs is not only important, it’s achievable.
3) Addiction isn’t a moral failure, it’s a brain disease.

Cuff says, “I tell young people that a good life is like a good flight. You have to chart your course, figure out what your destination is, keep your mind sharp (no drugs or alcohol) and fly direct.”

When asked if Ron is really a crazy pilot, Rowse says, “No, he’s just willing to go to great lengths to protect kids and the culture from addiction,” says Rowse. “If that means inviting kids to paint his plane, then he does it. After many events just like this, I can honestly say that when you combine art and aviation with kids, magic happens.”

The wings of the SafeLaunch plane, a 2000 model Cessna Skylane, also serve as a flying memorial for over 200 young people ages 17-35 who have died from drugs or alcohol. The names beneath the wings speak silently to other parents, giving new meaning to the lives of young people who died too young. Their stories, in the Wind Beneath Our Wings album that flies with them, show that addiction can happen to anyone, and their beautiful young faces demonstrate to the youth artists that addiction happens to people who were “just like them”. Parents who have suffered the ultimate pain of losing a child from drugs or alcohol are invited to submit their child’s story on their website,

2016-aopa-prescottThis SafeLaunch event is co-sponsored by Hope Takes Flight Prescott. Come visit the SafeLaunch plane this Saturday at the AOPA Fly-In. Visitors can write the name of a deceased family member on the plane that will fly with the new colorful paint job back to Santa Barbara on its return. Contact SafeLaunch at or 805-283-7233 for more information.