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President's Message - November 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on November 16, 2018 at 5:23 PM

THANKSGIVING OR EXCESS?

Thanksgiving used to be a time to gather with family and reflect on all of our blessings. We appreciated things, like a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our back and a country not at war.

Then, Thanksgiving became a time to eat and drink too much, drive ourselves crazy trying to please our guests or get along with our hosts and prepare for the shopper’s high we get from Black Friday

Families of origin aren’t always healthy or easy to spent time with! I saw a comic recently featuring a “Convention of Adult Children of Normal Parents.” There were three people attending. Ha! Many of us have at least one trauma from childhood and complicated relationships with a sibling or another family member. 

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Topics: President's Message, children, thanksgiving, gratitude, family bonding

President's Message - October 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on October 26, 2018 at 10:24 PM

OH THE PLACES RED RIBBON GOES!

Red Ribbon Week Whirlwind.

I started in Washington DC at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. Every year, the Department of Defense presents awards to the outstanding Prevention and Treatment Centers from each branch of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard. What a thrill to hear the story of the Army Garrison Japan and how they affected not just the lives of the members of the military and their families, but the entire base. I was also really moved by the Navy's Drug Education for Youth program in Norfolk, Virginia.  The Military has less than 2% of their population test positive for drugs…We need to learn from the military and duplicate their efforts. 

Then on to discussing HOW the Department of Education’s Safe & Healthy Schools can equip educators across America with the right tools during Red Ribbon Week with Paul Kesner. Informed Families' programs are TIER 1 UNIVERSAL PREVENTION PROGRAMS.

Later, I met with the Drug Czar, James Carroll, at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Director Carroll had been the keynote speaker at the Pentagon and also at DEA Headquaters. He is charged with coordinating drug efforts. What better place to start than discussing the size and scope of Red Ribbon Week. I asked Director Carroll to recognize the work of grassroots efforts as a way to empower a loyal base of Americans opposed to drug use. Since many states are adopting the Lock Your Meds Campaign, it would be nice to have a unified campaign that came from grassroots such as Lock Your Meds to help address the opioid crisis.

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Topics: President's Message, children, red ribbon, red ribbon week, education

How Many Florida Children & Teens Drink Or Use Drugs?

Posted by Informed Families on September 25, 2018 at 2:17 PM

People make a lot of assumptions about what children and teens do or don't do when it comes to substance abuse. This can be based on the person's own experiences, what he or she sees on social media or in movies or what others may have experienced. Luckily, we don't have to assume, thanks to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) report, which was just released for 2018.

The FYSAS was administered to almost 55,000 Florida students in 686 middle and high schools in February of 2018.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Alcohol and cigarette use is declining. Between 2006 and 2018, past-month use of alcohol declined by 16.7 percent (11.7% for middle school students and 20.6% among high school students), binge drinking declined by 10 percent (5.3% for middle school students and 13.4% for high school students) and cigarette use declined by 8.1 percent (4.8% for middle school students and 10.6 percent reduction among high school students).
  • Binge drinking is still an issue. One out of every 10 high school students reported binge drinking in the last 30 days and one out of seven reported blacking out from drinking.
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Topics: drug abuse, teens, children, alcohol use

President's Message - September 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on September 21, 2018 at 10:23 AM

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR CHILDREN'S HEATLH & WELL-BEING? 

For so many issues that we face as a society, and certainly drug addiction, there’s an abundance of denial and blame.

This reminds me of a little riddle about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

(For example, creating a healthy environment for our children.)

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

(We are all so busy, after all!)

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

(“Don’t put it all on me!”)

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Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, family dinner, Family Day, red ribbon, red ribbon week

President's Message - August 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 29, 2018 at 2:49 PM

DOES BACK TO SCHOOL MAKE YOU FRANTIC? 

It’s back to school time. Parents are out there frantically getting their children new clothes, new school supplies, new backpacks, etc.

Why not start with some new habits that will last a life time?! Here are three starters for healthier families:

1. Regular family dinner.

Family Day (September 24) is just around the corner. It’s the day we celebrate family dinners as a way to keep children safe, healthy and drug free. Children who eat dinner with their family five or more times a week are more likely to make healthy decisions around drugs and alcohol.

Thanks to feedback from Ambassador Tracy Bowen of Collier County, we’ll be offering tips for families throughout the month of September to make the most of mealtime and keep the conversation going strong.

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Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, back to school

President's Message - July 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on July 25, 2018 at 11:16 AM

OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. 

Do I have your attention? I’ve noticed that when I use the term “drug prevention,” people sometimes tune out…but when they hear “Opioids,” they appear to perk up. Opioids, they understand.

Many people, sadly, aren’t entirely sold on the importance or relevance of drug prevention to their daily lives. “Not my child. Not my family.” Even Ginger Katz, a mom who lost her son to a drug overdose and who we feature on our blog this month, shared the same feeling before it happened to her. Ginger’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but if we don’t show stories like Ginger’s, the public is going to continue to sweep the problem under the rug. And as Ginger so aptly said when we interviewed her, “we shove it under the rug until our heads hit the ceiling.”

We understand that drug prevention isn’t a “sexy” hot topic. On top of that, we are all needing a brain vacation and many of us only have enough time and energy to deal with what’s in front of us.

I am coining 2 new mental conditions:

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Topics: President's Message, children, mental health, drug prevention, opioids

President's Message - June 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on June 22, 2018 at 9:04 PM

A VACATION FOR THE BRAIN

A brain vacation. Doesn’t that sound so divine?

Busy, busy, busy. We are all so busy. How did this happen?  Suddenly we feel at least 50% busier than we used to feel.

Moments that used to be prime opportunities for mental breaks, such as stopping at a red light, riding in an elevator, walking down the street, sitting in a waiting room, eating a meal, relaxing on a chair outside or going to the beach, are now perfect opportunities to quickly check your phone, make plans, respond to texts or read the 24/7/365 crazy-making news. No wonder we all feel so busy.

Whether we are legitimately busy or we just feel that way doesn’t matter. Our brains respond the same way to stress. According to the CDC, suicides have increased by over 30% since 1999. This stress is one of the reasons why.

We talk about what screens do to our children, but we need to start thinking about what they are doing to us, too. It’s time for a brain vacation.

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Topics: President's Message, mental health, children, suicide, summer

President's Message - May 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on May 23, 2018 at 3:23 PM

BUILDING MENTAL HEALTH IN A SICKLY SOCIETY

I opened my morning paper and read the headline: “100 men, on road to better futures, are sent back to prison by budget cuts.” The story about Turning Point Bridge, one of 33 Florida program providers to help prevent recidivism, losing its funding and having to send all of these men from their jobs and transitional support back to prison makes me ill. Don’t forget to pack a suitcase full of Naltrexone or Narcan, so if they overdose, they won’t die.  The State Budget included 1.4 million dollars per year for 5 years to buy those products.

The public demands quick fix answers and our elected officials try to please the public.  The public and many of our elected leaders lack the knowledge to connect the dots. Taking away funding from programs like Turning Point Bridge and other substance abuse prevention and treatment programs to pay for more police and metal detectors in schools isn’t going to solve school safety problems.

As Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kai Koerber put so eloquently in a Miami Herald op-ed, “We have to engage in a national shift in consciousness in order to pick ourselves back up from the depths of inequity and madness; because the circumstances under which we find ourselves, today, are so dire that the only option we have to stop gun violence, and the birthing of domestic terrorists, is to look within, and provide the mind of every child, in every school, with mental health training that will carry them, peacefully, into adulthood.”

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Topics: President's Message, mental health, children

Children of Alcoholics Week Offers Hope

Posted by Informed Families on February 17, 2017 at 5:33 PM

Imagine the life of a child of an alcoholic or drug addict. The lack of stability, nurturing, support and the presence of trauma and stress can cause great harm to children's development and future. While the issue is very real, given the right support, research shows that these children can change the trajectory of their lives and achieve great success. That's what National Children of Alcohol's Awareness Week is all about.

The annual observance of Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week 2017 took place in February and was led by Sis Wenger, President and CEO of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. Sis also serves on the board of the National Family Partnership. This international awareness campaign was honored by NACoA affiliate organizations, child supporting agencies, faith communities, treatment programs, schools and local communities across the country.

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Topics: children, alcohol abuse

President's Message - December 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on December 23, 2016 at 2:10 PM

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Kids Is Not A Hatchimal

Every year, the toy craze du jour sends parents frantically using their FBI skills to track down the “perfect” gift for their child. The coveted gift is likely no longer in stores and can only be purchased on ebay for three times its original price. These parents dedicate a great deal of time trying to give kids want they want. “Oh, won’t they be so happy,” the parents say. “My child is so special to me and I just want to make him/her happy.”

This year’s top toy, the Hatchimal, is very impressive! It’s a plush robot inside of an egg that hatches when you take care of it and once hatched, responds to commands. Boy have we come a long way from the cabbage patch doll!

Those of us who haven’t found lasting happiness through material goods can agree that having the coolest toy doesn’t always make us happy. Meaningful relationships can be the gifts that truly keep on giving. It may not seem like it, but your kids will likely agree.

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Topics: President's Message, children, parents, holidays

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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