During November, SafeLaunch delivered on its promise to increase prevention advocacy and interact with lawmakers.
While SafeLaunch remains apolitical, the founders made the personal decision to back the election of a new nonpartisan mayor in Santa Barbara over the incumbent. It's true that the incumbent was supported by the local marijuana industry, but this was not the reason they got involved in this political campaign.
The candidate supported by SafeLaunch is Randy Rowse, spouse of SafeLaunch Board President and Executive Director Janet Rowse. Homelessness was the hot button campaign issue, and Randy addressed it frequently by stating that drug prevention is one of the long term solutions to homelessness. He often says, “A community that works for its youth works for everyone”. Rowse won a five year term by a wide margin on November 2, 2021. He will be sworn in on January 11, 2022.
On November 10, Ron Cuff and Janet Rowse spoke with Congressman Salud Carbajal in his Washington D.C. office via zoom. During this meeting, we addressed the advocacy initiative priorities set by our supporters : increasing taxes on addictive products and changing warning labels on those products to emphasize the risk of addiction, particularly for people under age 25. When the Congressman lamented the difficulty of raising taxes, SafeLaunch reminded him that so-called “sin taxes” poll extremely well. Congressman Carbajal promised to have his staff do some research on legislative possibilities and get back to us in 30 days. Tell us what you think by taking the survey here.
An in-person meeting with Paso Robles, California Mayor Steve Martin occurred on November 16. The Mayor heard your SafeLaunch representatives speak of what amounts to a new approach to an old problem: crime. Any police blotter in the country will cite drugs and alcohol in 80% of arrests, for any reason. Janet inquired about the possibility of placing a drug prevention message in the City water bill, and the Mayor did not rule it out. We will follow up with Mayor Martin in December.
Finally, on November 18, Ron Cuff attended a small informal dinner featuring San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow. Drug and alcohol abuse leading to crime and homelessness was a common thread in both the speech and during the question and answer period with Mr. Dow. The key “takeaway” was when Mr. Dow told the group that his office recently prosecuted a 20-year old for murder. The defendant sold a 19-year old a fake OxyContin pill that contained fentanyl, which killed his customer who was, according to Dow, “just experimenting” with drugs. When community leaders dismiss young adult drug use as merely “experimenting”, the importance of the SafeLaunch mission is reinforced. Fentanyl has made this truth abundantly clear: youth should take risks and experiment, but never with drugs.
If you know community leaders in your area willing to speak with SafeLaunch, SafeLaunch is willing to speak with them. Let us know.