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Informed Families Blog

How Stewart-Marchman-Act Treatment Centers & IF Work Together To Deliver Affordable Prevention

Posted by Informed Families on April 26, 2017 at 12:37 PM

Vicki Kress, this month's Star Ambassador, discovered Informed Families' Ambassador Program one day while searching for Lock Your Meds campaign resources. Familiar with the work of Informed Families, she was delighted to learn that the organization offers free year-round campaign materials provided to schools and organizations across Florida. She wasted no time and signed up right away to bring the four campaigns to Volusia and Flagler Counties.

“Environmental strategies, like the four universal campaigns, are extremely effective, as long as they are consistent, informative, eye catching and the whole community takes them on and makes them a priority,” says Kress. “Informed Families helps to provide the consistency that’s required – and we at Stewart-Marchman-Act Beahvioral Healthcare (SMA) have the capacity and drive to get everyone on the same page in our community.”

Kress serves as the Regional Prevention Director at SMA, which provides behavioral health care services to approximately 25,000 individuals each year, who are living with addiction, mental illness or both in Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns and Putnam Counties. SMA offers residential treatment for substance abuse and mental health in each of those counties. In her role, Kress focuses on the organization’s prevention services to families and schools throughout Volusia and Flagler County.

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Topics: ambassadors, campaigns, lock your meds, drug prevention, alcohol

President's Message - April 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 25, 2017 at 5:44 PM

Listen Up: Teen Mistakes & Their Unintended, Permanent Consequences

4,300 children die each year due to underage drinking-related causes. Springtime is a peak time for celebrations - and that's why parents need to take steps to ensure parties held in their home and in the community are Safe Homes, Smart Parties. Sure, there’s a chance your kids will make it out unscathed, but is it really worth the risk? 

US District Court Judge Beth Bloom and her son Jacob Stern, a high school student then attending Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, developed a presentation called "Listen Up: Teen Mistakes & Their Unintended, Permanent Consequences." For a busy parent of a teenager, Jacob's presentation is concise, eye-opening and should be mandatory viewing for both kids and parents! I ask you to please watch our 30-minute video and share it with your friends who are raising teenagers. Get the family together and spend 30 minutes to save yourselves a lot of time, money and hassle. The beauty of online viewing is you can stop and restart at your convenience.

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Topics: President's Message, parents, safe homes smart parties, alcohol, safe parties

President's Message - March 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 31, 2017 at 9:29 AM

Two Things I've Learned About Prom & Graduation Season

It’s Party Time! Prom, Spring Break, Graduation... We want our kids to have fun and create memories – but we want them to be safe. Both can be achieved by serving the best thing parents can serve their children: common sense. Kids who start drinking before age 15 are 6 times more likely to develop alcohol problems as adults. And with 4,300 children dying each year due to underage drinking-related causes, we all need to help our kids celebrate safely.

The two things I’ve learned about Prom & Graduation Season are:

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Topics: President's Message, parents, safe homes smart parties, alcohol, safe parties

The Super Bowl: A Teachable Moment

Posted by Informed Families on January 24, 2017 at 6:01 PM

Super Bowl Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your children and celebrate one of America's greatest treasures: football.

However, even before kick-off, kids are exposed to harmful alcohol advertising. Did you know that the alcohol industry spends over $5 billion a year on advertising? Why do they do it?

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Topics: healthy kids, underage drinking, alcohol, alcohol use

Parent Resource Center: Alcohol Facts You Need to Know

Posted by Informed Families on October 11, 2016 at 6:32 AM

 

Here’s one alcohol fact we are happy to see: Florida teens are drinking less. According to the 2014 Youth Substance Abuse Survey, past-month alcohol use decreased 10.2 percentage points in middle schoolers and 13.6 percentage points among high schoolers since 2004.

This good news is that there is solid evidence that the efforts of parents, schools and communities to prevent underage drinking are helping kids be safer and make wiser choices. However, this finding doesn’t mean we can back off those efforts. The same survey found that 1 in 5 high schoolers had reported blacking out from drinking, and another 20 percent had been in the car with an impaired driver. Here are more alcohol facts that parents should know:

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Topics: alcohol, teens

Signs That Your Child May Be Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on May 16, 2016 at 12:00 AM

AAP Warns of the Dangers of Binge Drinking in Adolescents

8/31/2015

Despite recent declines, two out of every three students (66 percent) have consumed more than just a few sips of alcohol by the end of high school, and over a quarter have done so by eighth grade. In 2014, half of twelfth graders and one in nine eighth graders reported having been drunk at least once in their life.

In a new clinical report, " Binge Drinking," in the September 2015 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 31), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges pediatricians and parents to discuss the dangers of alcohol use with children before they take their first sip.

Alcohol is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents in the United States, and its use is associated with the leading causes of death and serious injury at this age, including motor vehicle accidents, homicides, and suicides. Eighty percent of adolescents say their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink or not.

"We must approach drinking in children, particularly binge drinking, differently than we do in adults," said pediatrician Lorena Siqueira, MD, MSPH, FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and co-author of the clinical report.

"Given their lack of experience with alcohol and smaller bodies, children and adolescents can have serious consequences -- including death -- with their first episode of binge drinking," Dr. Siqueira said. "Studies have indicated that continued alcohol use during this growth period can interfere with important aspects of brain development that can lead to cognitive impairment, alcohol-induced brain damage and substance use disorders later in life. Because alcohol use is so common, it is necessary for pediatricians to screen every adolescent for alcohol use during office visits, and along with preventive messages, to help identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems."

Drinking alcohol is associated with numerous adverse outcomes in underage drinkers, and binge drinking significantly increases these risks.

In adults, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period by men, or four or more drinks by women. Because teens typically weigh less than adults, they are likely to reach an unsafe blood alcohol concentration more quickly, and lower cutoff points have been proposed. For girls ages 9 to 17, three or more drinks in a two-hour period is considered binge drinking. For boys ages 9 to 13, the cutoff is three or more drinks; for boys ages 14 to 15 it's four or more drinks; and for boys ages 16 to 17, it's five or more drinks.

During high school, drinking rates increase dramatically among teens. Between 36 percent and 50 percent of high school students drink alcohol, and 28 percent to 60 percent report binge drinking. Among high school students, boys are more likely than girls to participate in binge drinking, and is far more common among white boys than among blacks or Hispanics.

The new 2015 clinical report also found:

  • Among youth who drink, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adult drinkers.
  • Children start to think positively about alcohol between 9 and 13 years of age.
  • Binge drinking can be associated with early sexual activity and higher rates of teen pregnancy.
  • A third of all fatal auto crashes involving alcohol happen among 15- to 20-year-olds.
  • Encouraging parents to talk with their children about alcohol use early is very important.
  • Programs and resources are available on how to use teachable moments to discuss alcohol use with children.
"Teenagers and young adults who are curious and trying to fit in can easily be influenced by their peers,” said Dr. Siqueira. “Teens who binge drink are more likely to exhibit impaired judgment and engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, ride in a car with an impaired driver and have higher rates of suicide. As with most high-risk behaviors, early prevention proves to be more effective than later intervention"
- See more at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Warns-of-the-Dangers-of-Binge-Drinking-in-Adolescents.aspx#sthash.cLHHNOj1.dpuf

According to the most recent Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 9.4% of middle school students and 27.1% of Florida high school students reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. While these numbers have decreased significantly since 2004, 12 percentage points to be exact, it’s important for parents and educators to be aware of the signs of alcohol use and abuse.

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), underage drinking is harmful in the following key ways:

  • It can result in death and disability, poor academic performance, high risk behaviors and more.
  • It adversely affects the adolescent developing brain.
  • It increased the likelihood of chronic alcohol problems

Did you know that kids who start drinking by age 15 are 5 times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults?

So how do you know if your child is drinking? Look out for the following signs of alcohol use and abuse:

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Topics: addiction, underage drinking, alcohol, samhsa, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, signs of abuse

6 Tactful Tips To Resist Peer Pressure

Posted by Informed Families on November 1, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Want to equip your child with the best way to respond to negative peer pressure? Share these tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and practice using them together.

Even when your child is confident in his/her decision not to use drugs or alcohol, it can be hard when it’s a friend who is offering.

A lot of times, a simple “no thanks” may be enough. But sometimes it’s not. It can get intense, especially if the people who want your child to join in on a bad idea feel judged. If everyone is being “stupid” together, then they feel less self-conscious and don’t need to take all the responsibility.

But knowing they are just trying to save face doesn’t end the pressure, so here are a few tips that may come in handy.

1. Have your child offer to be the designated driver. Get their friends home safely, and everyone will be glad your child didn’t drink or take drugs.

2. If on a sports team, ask your child to say he/she is staying healthy to maximize his/her athletic performance—besides, no one would argue that a hangover would help someone play their best.

3. “I have to [study for a big test / go to a concert / visit my grandmother / babysit / march in a parade, etc.]. I can’t do that after a night of drinking/drugs.”

4. Have your child keep a bottled drink like a soda or iced tea with you to drink at parties. People will be less likely to pressure him/her to drink alcohol if he/she is already drinking something. If they still offer something, have your child just say “I’m covered.”

5. Have your child find something to do so he/she stays busy. Get up and dance. Offer to DJ.

6. When all else fails…have your child blame his/her parents. You certainly won’t mind! Ask your child to explain that his/her parents are really strict, or that they will check up on him/her upon arriving at home.

If your child's friends aren’t having it—then it’s a good time to find the door. Nobody wants to leave the party or their friends, but if your child's friends won’t let him/her party without drugs, then it’s not going to be fun for him/her.

Sometimes these situations totally surprise us. But sometimes our children can anticipate when alcohol or drugs will be used, such as at a concert. These are the times when your child should consider alternative plans.

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Topics: tips, prevention, alcohol, peer pressure, drugs

Pediatricans Warn of the Dangers of Binge Drinking in Adolescents

Posted by Informed Families on September 15, 2015 at 3:57 PM

AAP Warns of the Dangers of Binge Drinking in Adolescents

8/31/2015

Despite recent declines, two out of every three students (66 percent) have consumed more than just a few sips of alcohol by the end of high school, and over a quarter have done so by eighth grade. In 2014, half of twelfth graders and one in nine eighth graders reported having been drunk at least once in their life.

In a new clinical report, " Binge Drinking," in the September 2015 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 31), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges pediatricians and parents to discuss the dangers of alcohol use with children before they take their first sip.

Alcohol is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents in the United States, and its use is associated with the leading causes of death and serious injury at this age, including motor vehicle accidents, homicides, and suicides. Eighty percent of adolescents say their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink or not.

"We must approach drinking in children, particularly binge drinking, differently than we do in adults," said pediatrician Lorena Siqueira, MD, MSPH, FAAP, member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and co-author of the clinical report.

"Given their lack of experience with alcohol and smaller bodies, children and adolescents can have serious consequences -- including death -- with their first episode of binge drinking," Dr. Siqueira said. "Studies have indicated that continued alcohol use during this growth period can interfere with important aspects of brain development that can lead to cognitive impairment, alcohol-induced brain damage and substance use disorders later in life. Because alcohol use is so common, it is necessary for pediatricians to screen every adolescent for alcohol use during office visits, and along with preventive messages, to help identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems."

Drinking alcohol is associated with numerous adverse outcomes in underage drinkers, and binge drinking significantly increases these risks.

In adults, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period by men, or four or more drinks by women. Because teens typically weigh less than adults, they are likely to reach an unsafe blood alcohol concentration more quickly, and lower cutoff points have been proposed. For girls ages 9 to 17, three or more drinks in a two-hour period is considered binge drinking. For boys ages 9 to 13, the cutoff is three or more drinks; for boys ages 14 to 15 it's four or more drinks; and for boys ages 16 to 17, it's five or more drinks.

During high school, drinking rates increase dramatically among teens. Between 36 percent and 50 percent of high school students drink alcohol, and 28 percent to 60 percent report binge drinking. Among high school students, boys are more likely than girls to participate in binge drinking, and is far more common among white boys than among blacks or Hispanics.

The new 2015 clinical report also found:

  • Among youth who drink, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adult drinkers.
  • Children start to think positively about alcohol between 9 and 13 years of age.
  • Binge drinking can be associated with early sexual activity and higher rates of teen pregnancy.
  • A third of all fatal auto crashes involving alcohol happen among 15- to 20-year-olds.
  • Encouraging parents to talk with their children about alcohol use early is very important.
  • Programs and resources are available on how to use teachable moments to discuss alcohol use with children.
"Teenagers and young adults who are curious and trying to fit in can easily be influenced by their peers,” said Dr. Siqueira. “Teens who binge drink are more likely to exhibit impaired judgment and engage in risky behaviors such as drunk driving, ride in a car with an impaired driver and have higher rates of suicide. As with most high-risk behaviors, early prevention proves to be more effective than later intervention"
- See more at: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Warns-of-the-Dangers-of-Binge-Drinking-in-Adolescents.aspx#sthash.cLHHNOj1.dpuf

Despite recent declines, two out of every three students (66 percent) have consumed more than just a few sips of alcohol by the end of high school, and over a quarter have done so by eighth grade. In 2014, half of twelfth graders and one in nine eighth graders reported having been drunk at least once in their life.

In a new clinical report, "Binge Drinking," in the September 2015 Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges pediatricians and parents to discuss the dangers of alcohol use with children before they take their first sip.

Alcohol is the substance most frequently abused by children and adolescents in the United States, and its use is associated with the leading causes of death and serious injury at this age, including motor vehicle accidents, homicides, and suicides. Eighty percent of adolescents say their parents are the biggest influence on their decision to drink or not.

Read More

Topics: alcohol, study

How To Tell If Your Child Is Drinking Alcohol

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on July 22, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Do you suspect your child is drinking alcohol? Here's some signs that your child may have a problem and some tips for what to do about it.
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Topics: parenting, underage drinking, alcohol, signs

Adolescents' Drinking Takes Lasting Toll On Memory

Posted by Informed Families on May 20, 2015 at 10:04 AM

A new Duke University study, recently highlighted in The Wall Street Journal, shows that even when adolescents drink in moderation, intermittently, the impact on the brain is potentially long-term. Researchers examined the role of moderate and regular alcohol use on brain circuitry and found that such exposure led to a decrease in functioning of the hippocampus, leading to poorer memory and slower learning. Read the article now.

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Topics: parenting, underage drinking, alcohol

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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