We wish you and your loved ones a beautiful holiday season. If this time of year is hard for you, or if you are grieving a loss, this letter is a hopeful one. SafeLaunch offers a unique path forward.
You’ve heard the famous quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. When we started SafeLaunch in 2010, we knew that despite the hundreds of billions of dollars spent to treat and incarcerate people with the brain disease of addiction, the drug epidemic was worsening. It was obvious that many well-meaning prevention programs weren’t having lasting effects, and that "intervention" often became synonymous with prevention. The founders of SafeLaunch vowed to protect our prevention first mission based on the following facts:
- Nine out of ten adults suffering from substance use disorder first used an addictive substance before age 18, making it a preventable, pediatric-onset disease. Read more...
- When youth use any one substance - alcohol, nicotine or marijuana - they are significantly more likely to use the other two, and to use other drugs. Read more...
- Criminal activity and homelessness are closely associated with the demand for drugs and substance use disorder.
During its first 5 years, SafeLaunch broadcast a new brain-focused, prevention approach to thousands of parents and teens through entertaining, in-person parent education events and creative, youth media contests.
In 2014, we launched the popular interactive aviation and art program, Flights Above Addiction. Flying an airplane to aviation events and letting youth paint it is something no one had done before, and learning about the risk of addiction with a paintbrush in hand is a memorable activity for youth and their parents. A companion program to Flights Above Addiction is Wind Beneath Our Wings, a flying memorial dedicated to over 500 young people who died from drug use. Serving as a tender reminder of loved ones lost, the names and ages displayed under the wings and in the windows of the aircraft illustrate that substance use disorder can happen to anyone.
As of last month, we have completed 54 flights nationwide, and “DJ”, the Prevention Plane, has brought much attention to our mission. Last month, SafeLaunch was featured in a three page article that appeared in the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association magazine reaching over 300,000 members.
This year, we launched the SafeLaunch Parent Alliance, a national member organization to advance the health standard: No use of alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, or any other drug before age 21. The Alliance communicates with elected officials advocating for public policy initiatives that protect youth.
In 2022, we will be fundraising to support vocational training awarded to promising high school seniors who have overcome drug-impacted family adversity. We will also be publicly recognizing individuals, youth clubs, schools, cities, and counties that have demonstrated excellence in preventing youth substance use.
Our vision is a country whose population understands the vulnerability of the developing brain and takes action to protect youth from substance use. To this end, we are offering to mail 25 new Parent Alliance members a complimentary copy of Dr. Robert DuPont’s definitive book, Chemical Slavery.
An esteemed authority on the disease of addiction, Dr. DuPont served as the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), has published over 400 professional articles, and 15 books and monographs on a variety of health-related subjects. He continues his private practice today. We were honored when Dr. DuPont joined the SafeLaunch Board of Directors last year and we know that you will enjoy his book.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to SafeLaunch as a year-end gift, we would be grateful.
We believe that the best path forward is to prevent this deadly disease before it begins and we thank you for sharing our belief that all children have a right to grow up drug free.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!