Prevention Through Arts

Every year, thousands of families travel across the county to see some of America’s most amazing aircrafts at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) events. There is one plane in particular that flies in to the events on an important mission to raise awareness about the adolescent brain’s high vulnerability to Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

SafeLaunch Flights About Addiction’s all-white Cessna 182, “DJ”, is the only plane in the world that welcomes kids to paint its exterior to help prevent adolescent substance use. DJ recently had its 43rd mission at the AOPA Fly-In in Livermore, California, where children painted colorful artwork on the plane after pledging not use any alcohol, tobacco or any other drug until they are at least 21.

SafeLaunch’s painting activity allows kids to have fun while also learning about the dangers of adolescent substance use. Research shows that creative arts are helpful tools for substance use prevention and treatment, which is why PDFNJ offers a variety of free artistic school-based programs for students in third grade through high school.

Our Fourth Grade Folder Contest is currently underway, and we will be accepting artwork submissions until Saturday, December 7th. The Fourth Grade Folder Contest challenges fourth grade students in New Jersey to create anti-drug artwork relating to the theme "Fun Things to do Instead of Doing Drugs." The winning entries will have their artwork reproduced on more than 40,000 folders distributed to every school in New Jersey in 2020!

Middle school students in New Jersey are invited to compete in this year’s PSA contest called the Middle School PSA challenge. Students are asked to form a team of 2-12 classmates and create a 30-second substance use prevention script for their peers. Once completed, teachers can submit their students’ scripts and the winning team will have their PSA filmed professionally. Teachers have until March 20, 2020 to enter their students into the competition!

Another exciting program coming up is the 2020 New Jersey Shout Down Drugs (NJSDD) music competition, which challenges New Jersey high school students to create original music with a substance use prevention message. Finalists will be chosen by peer judges to perform at the annual statewide concert on Friday, April 3rd at the Two River Rechnitz Theater in Red Bank for a chance to win over $10,000 in prizes! The deadline to enter the competition is Friday, January 10th.

For more information about our school-based programs, click here. To learn more about the Fourth Grade Folder Contest and to submit artwork, click here. For rules on how to submit a script for the Middle School PSA challenge or to see videos from past winners, click here. To get involved in NJSDD, click here.

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