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Blog Post | December 26, 2019

2019 Milestones and Plans for the New Year

As the year comes to an end and we look ahead to 2020, the SAFE team took a moment to highlight our biggest accomplishments of the year and our hopes for 2020. Throughout 2019, the SAFE team took the ground-work accomplished through our six lines of operation and launched new programs and projects under our three key initiatives — SAFE Campuses, SAFE Communities and SAFE Veterans

In 2019, SAFE reached more than 24,000 people across the nation at 60 individual community and national conferences, speaking engagements, training events, and rallies. From Beckley, West Virginia to the White House, SAFE met parents, students, community leaders, local volunteers, churches, organizations, and many others who also want to bring an end to the addiction epidemic.

“Don’t let hope be a strategy. You need to be proactive.” SAFE Co-founder Mary Winnefeld speaking to families in North Carolina


Best of 2018

2019 Milestones

Stopping the Addiction Fatality Epidemic:

  • SAFE Project grew its volunteer network to nearly 400 volunteers, spanning more than 40 states.
  • In March 2019, the Be SAFE campaign kicked off in March 2019, our first national  education campaign focused on the addiction epidemic and prescription medication safety. Since then, Be SAFE has expanded to more than a dozen states and continues to grow. Through generous donation of advertisement space, the Be SAFE campaign reached major markets, like Chicago, New York and Boston through bus stations and malls. Currently, SAFE is putting signage up in the Alabama VA Medical Centers, and developing new school oriented signage, that will debut at Denver University.
  • Just weeks later, the SAFE Treatment Locator was launched to help people find treatment centers best matched to their needs or the needs of their loved ones, as quickly as possible. 

SAFE Campuses:

  • Through our SAFE Campuses initiative, SAFE Project implemented a National Outreach Campaign with the ultimate goal of reaching every campus in the country in order to start a conversation about substance use on campus and the importance of prevention, recovery, and intervention programming. Our SAFE Campus team reached 1,163 campuses in the first phase of our outreach, received responses from 168 schools, and held campus community meetings in six metropolitan cities across the country. 
  • Through our Collegiate Recovery Leadership Academy, SAFE Project empowered students to create campus recovery programs, change campus policies, and raise awareness of substance use disorder and recovery on campuses across the nation. 
  • The Academy equipped 123 students in recovery or whose lives have been impacted by substance use disorder with the skills necessary to enact impactful change on their campuses across the country.

SAFE Communities :

  • Through our SAFE Communities initiative, SAFE Project reached hundreds of people in communities across the country looking to take action. Our SAFE Community Playbook  outreach campaign gave these communities a roadmap for action. We helped Rochester, Indiana combat stigma by holding a showing and community discussion of the PBS NOVA Documentary “Addiction.” 
  • In North Carolina, SAFE held a day-long training targeting faith-based communities, educating them on how they can take action with the Playbook. 
  • In Northern Virginia, we helped a task force on the opioid crisis accelerate their progress through a cross-government strategic planning effort. 
  • In St. Louis Missouri, SAFE is working with the city to improve their response to the ongoing addiction epidemic.
  • The SAFE Community Playbook reached 200 communities through free downloads available on Our training webinars, videos, and in person events reached more than 300 people, connecting communities with tools and resources specific to their needs. 
  • Our SAFE Choices speakers program reached more than 6,500 high school students, sharing the science of addiction, stories of recovery, and the hope that each student can help end the addiction epidemic.
  • SAFE Communities formed a new Recovery Housing Collective of experts to support recovery communities around the country and build a national recovery housing locator.
  • Our free Pre-Arrest Diversion Guide helps law enforcement agencies rapidly adopt a Pre-Arrest Diversion program that will lead more people to treatment and recovery.

SAFE Veterans:

  • Our newest initiative, SAFE Veterans launched in July 2019 to connect veterans, active duty service members and military families to the resources needed to combat substance use disorder.
  • Through the SAFE Veterans initiative, the SAFE team piloted two new programs — the Her/His Ruck Program and Military Culture Training for Peer Recovery Specialists.
  • In New Hampshire, SAFE Veterans presented its first Her/His Ruck Program, in partnership with military spouse Richelle Futch.
  • At Cecil College in Maryland, SAFE conducted Veterans Military Culture Training to give peer recovery specialists an overview of the U.S. military structure, service values, military jargon, and military and veteran substance use.

Where We’re Heading in  2020

As the SAFE team looks ahead to the New Year, we plan to expand our reach and create tangible change for those impacted by the addiction epidemic. Here’s a look at our biggest plans for 2020:

  • Help families find the help they need with new enhancements to our popular  SAFE Treatment Locator, and build a robust collection of resources for families of those with a substance use disorder. 
  • Expand resources for the recovery community with new resources and programming,  building a Recovery Housing Locator to help those in early recovery live in a supportive environment, and new mobile apps to connect and support people in recovery.
  • Help communities bridge the gap between prevention and recovery efforts with new resources and training to build proactive, community efforts, with multiple groups working together.
  • Educate and support communities through our SAFE Choices speakers program and Be SAFE Campaign as we expand to many more new locations around the country.


This is how SAFE Project turns hope into real change. 

With your support, we will continue working until everyone understands the risks of substance misuse; until the stigma around addiction is broken; until all communities have the resources needed to help those impacted by substance use disorder, until all college campuses have prevention, treatment and recovery resources to support their students; and until all veterans are provided with resources to address substance use disorder. 

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2017.

Thanks to your support, we were able to accomplish so much in 2019.  Stay with us in the coming year, and together we’ll make sure the millions of Americans with a substance use disorder, their families and friends impacted by addiction can receive the help and resources they need to thrive.