Heroin is the deadliest and most widely abused illicit opiate in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 3.8 million Americans aged 12 or older reported trying heroin at least once during their lifetimes, representing 1.5% of the total U.S. population aged 12 or older. Heroin is not a “hobbyist” drug: tragically, youthful curiosity often leads to experimentation, addiction and death.
The Sam Vance Foundation was established in 1997 by Sheila Vance in memory of her son Sam, who lost his life to heroin experimentation while a nineteen-year-old college freshman at U.C.L.A. Determined to turn her son’s passing into a positive force for change, The Sam Vance Foundation was the motivation behind Sheila Vance’s return to the optical industry and the inspiration behind Sama Eyewear.
Throughout the years, the Sam Vance Foundation has helped innumerable teens and young adults overcome drug dependency and re-discover life. Sheila Vance’s enthusiasm and tenacity are contagious, and numerous celebrities, including Andy Garcia, William Shatner and Lynda Obst, have served as members of the Sam Vance Foundation’s Board of Directors.
In addition to its anti-drug efforts, the Sam Vance Foundation also contributes to numerous humanitarian institutions and foundations, including: Hetrick-Martin Institute, Friendly House, Candie’s Event to Prevent, The Rainforest Foundation Carnegie Hall Benefit, The Nerine Shatner Friendly House, A New PATH, The Westside Center for Independent Living, The Shanti Foundation, the Lakers Youth Foundation, the Staples Center Foundation, The Vision Awards, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Project Angel Food, The Foundation Fighting Blindness and MusiCares.