Reaching Out to the Youth of America


By Captain Ron Hayward

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There is a new campaign that will help provide sailboats from the donations department of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and other sources, to the Opiate Awareness Institute to be restored & sailed young people, which will help build the sailing base while helping keep kids off of drugs. Opiate Awareness Institute is a new and exciting platform for addressing the youth of America about the extreme dangers associated with the misuse of commonly prescribed opiate based pain relievers.With the hard work and learning associated with vessel restoration & maintenance, along with the formation of crews, and the hierarchy of a ship, these new sailors will get a sense of ownership into a new and exciting world. They will learn seamanship, marine environment conservation, and about the seriousness of abusing prescription opiates.

Just to illustrate our point early on, let us point out that our preliminary study of high school students who were experimenting with these easy to acquire prescription drugs were not even aware that these substances are a synthetic form of heroin. And, those interviewed stated that if they had known that fact alone, they would have stayed away from them.

Growing faster than America’s “crack cocaine” epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s, opiate abuse is swallowing our nation’s youth by the thousands on a daily basis. This dependency leads directly to a cauldron of atrocities from child prostitution, theft and murder amongst children who would still be honor students in school, if they had just known the significance of their decision to just “try it”.

Yet, unlike “crack cocaine”, whose manufacturers hide in third world countries and flood our shores with illegally imported poisons, the opiates that are dominating our streets and schools are manufactured right here in America. They are distributed legally on a wholesale scale, leaving our youth to believe in a level of safety associated with their use. These prescription medicines have become easier to obtain than cigarettes and alcohol, and are making full fledged heroin addicts of our children faster than any other drug in history. And unlike cocaine, a heroin addiction is a life-long battle.

Because these necessary medications are legally manufactured and so widely distributed, there is no conceivable defense against availability. At thousands of new addicts per day, even the hopes of some kind of directive to counteract the spread would allow millions more children to become addicted before enactment. Our only hope is an immediate and whole hearted awareness campaign directed at the youth of our country, presented by the those who our children are most likely to listen to, their peers. With testimonies and information of those who have fallen into the trap and whose lives were so tragically affected by opiate abuse, we will get results.

The activists of Opiate Awareness Institute are those children and young adults battling recovery every day from these highly addictive and deceptive drugs. As part of their recovery, and to help them fight the always present addiction, brave young men and women are preparing to go into schools, institutions, and wherever other youth congregate to share stories so moving and descriptive, they are sure to captivate the hearts and minds of their listeners. They will distribute an array of multimedia materials to be read, viewed, and shared which explain the truths behind these popular drugs.

The “Aquatic Platform for Learning” program will allow for the positive development of life-long skills, discipline, teamwork, environmental conservation, a healthy work ethic, and much more… The program allows for complete individual growth without regard to socio-economic standing or spiritual affiliations, while providing an outstanding platform to address the concern for the unprecedented escalation of opiate based medication abuse… The message is simple: Heroin is an Opiate. By abusing and misusing opiate based prescription medicines the built-in safe-guards are bypassed, increasing the risk of addiction dynamically, and the inevitable results are devastating & life-long. Carried by the lips and hearts of their peers, the message is clear and understood… Don’t do it.

Open to all teens, 13 to 19, at absolutely zero cost to them, this program is totally funded by citizens and businesses who believe in investing into our youth. Those who make a tax deductible contribution will be providing boats, restorations, and maintenance for sailing vessels ranging from 25’ to 30’.

Each vessel appropriation, launching, and especially the multi-vessel excursions will bring enormous positive exposure for the participants. Companies can go beyond supporting this campaign by becoming an official sponsor of  a boat and crew to help get the word out.

The Opiate Awareness Institute is a non-profit and there is never a cost to members or activists, as all funding is provided by the generous support of corporate, commercial & community donations.

If you know someone who might want to help Contact the Opiate Awareness Institute at Or give them a call at 727 614-5066


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