Informed Families Blog

Family Focus: Ginger Katz of the Courage To Speak Foundation

Posted by Informed Families on July 11, 2018 at 11:57 AM

When Ginger Katz’s 20-year-old son Ian died of a drug overdose, the doctors suggested she tell people that he died of a heart attack or brain aneurysm. Katz said that the night before the funeral, she couldn’t sleep, feeling “physically, spiritually and intellectually” unable to attend the next day’s events.

“I felt that [for me to attend the funeral] they’d have to carry me,” said Katz. “Then, I’m not sure where it came from but at some point that night, I visualized speaking out. I was not one for public speaking but I woke my husband up and told him that I wanted to speak out. I said, ‘if this is happening to us, it’s happening to other families and no one is talking about it.’”

Twenty-two years later, Ginger and her husband Larry Katz are still talking about their experience through the non-profit organization they ultimately founded: the Courage to Speak Foundation. They make presentations to children, parents, educators, clergy, professionals and others in 40 states. Knowing that their story alone could only take families so far, Ginger and Larry worked with a team of experts to develop curriculum evaluated and recommended by the Yale School of Medicine. Their elementary, middle and high school curriculum is implemented across the country. Additionally, they offer a multi-session program for parents called Courage to Speak -Courageous Parenting 101®.

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Topics: overdose, drug prevention, opioids, parents

Webinar: Strategies To Prevent Underage Drinking

Posted by Informed Families on January 18, 2018 at 11:03 AM

The-Next-Step-College-Students.jpgAlcohol is the most widely used drug by both adults and youth. Underage drinking is associated with academic challenges, health issues, negative social consequences, emergency room visits and roughly 4,300 tragic deaths per year.

Luckily, there are effective ways to keep our kids safe.

Learn about underage drinking in Florida and proven ways to prevent it by joining us at a webinar hosted by the Florida Alcohol & Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) on Wednesday, January 24 from 1pm-3pm (ET).

The webinar will feature Dr. David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) and Associate Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Register Now

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Topics: Webinars, underage drinking, drug prevention

Opioids In Florida: The Latest Stats

Posted by Informed Families on January 3, 2018 at 12:30 PM

How Large Is The Opioid Problem In Florida?

With the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation, Florida is certainly not immune. And apparently, the problem is getting worse. According to a recent report from Florida's medical examiners, there has been a dramatic 22% increase (2,126 more deaths) of in drug-related deaths from the prior year. The report also showed a 35% increase in opioid-related deaths (1,483 over the previous year for a total of 5,725).

Not suprisingly, more deaths were caused by prescription drugs than illicit drugs, accounting for 61% of all drug occurrences in the report. After all, availability and a low perception of harm lead to increased use and abuse.

The drugs that caused the most deaths were cocaine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, morphine, heroin, alcohol, oxycodone, methadone and methamphetamine.

“Clearly, those are shocking numbers and we have got to do something about it,” said Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa to The News Service of Florida.

Here are additional highlights from the report: 

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Topics: prescription, prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prescription drugs, drug abuse, drug prevention, opioids

Informed Families Partners With The National Institute On Drug Abuse

Posted by Informed Families on December 8, 2017 at 12:38 PM

National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week To Be Celebrated In Schools Across Florida

Once again, Informed Families is partnering with NIDA to implement National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week in schools and communities across Florida. Specifically, Informed Families will provide science-based prevention materials to hundreds of schools as part of the 2018 Lock Your Meds Campaign.

Additionally, Informed Families will share NIDA's National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz (Test Your Knowledge Now) during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which helps teens test their knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse with an interactive quiz.

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Topics: drug abuse, nida, drug prevention

Announcing The FL Red Ribbon Photo Contest Winner

Posted by Informed Families on December 1, 2017 at 12:15 PM

East Lake Elementary School & Sims Family Win 2017 National & Florida Red Ribbon Week Photo Contests

$2,500 Earned for Drug Prevention from NFP, Informed Families & DEA

‘Tis the season for giving! East Lake Elementary School and the Sims family are the proud winners of the much-anticipated 2017 National Red Ribbon Week and Informed Families’ Florida Red Ribbon Week Photo Contests. Students, faculty and staff were fearlessly led by Teacher Jean Jupa in decorating the campus with this year’s theme, “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free®”. At the same time, the Sims family honored the tradition of the nation’s oldest drug prevention campaign by decorating the front of their home to promote their commitment to living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle during Red Ribbon Week ® (Oct. 23-31).

Jean Jupa and the Sims Family will each receive an iPad from NFP, the school will receive $500 from Informed Families for winning the Florida Red Ribbon Photo Contest and a $2,000 prize from National Red Ribbon Photo Contest co-sponsors, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to be used toward drug prevention.

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Topics: red ribbon, red ribbon week, red ribbon photo contest, drug prevention

President's Message - November 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on November 28, 2017 at 10:01 PM

A Time To Give Thanks

November signifies a time of gratitude for all things. As we gather with our families for delicious dinners prepared with the best trimmings, we reflect deeply on what truly means the most to us and express gratitude for those things.

After 35 years of providing families with the tools to help kids make healthy choices, I am extremely thankful for the success of Informed Families. This year, I have plenty to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the hard-working staff of Informed Families for working diligently to ensure that families and children are united to combat the social pressures of underage drinking and illegal drug use.

I am thankful for an active Board of Trustees, who altruistically dedicates their time to supporting our mission and achieving our vision.  

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Topics: Family Day, President's Message, red ribbon, red ribbon week, drug abuse, drug prevention

Red Hot! Schools & Communities Across Florida Celebrate 2017 Red Ribbon Week

Posted by Informed Families on November 3, 2017 at 2:30 PM

In it's 29th year, National Red Ribbon Week® is alive and thriving. The State of Florida, which has always been a leading state in Red Ribbon Week participation, led by Statewide Sponsor Informed Families, is a wonderful example of the power of grassroots to create lasting change. With the current opioid epidemic, Red Ribbon Week is more important than ever.

Families, schools and communities across Florida demonstrated their commitment to a Drug-Free America during 2017 Red Ribbon Week® (October 23-31). Informed Families partnered with volunteer Ambassadors, agencies, organizations and businesses, leveraging resources and reaching more children and families with prevention messages.

Red Ribbon Week, the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, was created after the death of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. In 1988, the inaugural National Red Ribbon Week®, sponsored by the National Family Partnership, was created. An estimated 80 million people celebrating each year.

Here are some highlights from 2017 Red Ribbon Week:

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Topics: red ribbon, red ribbon week, red ribbon photo contest, drug prevention

President's Message - October 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on October 26, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Why Simple Things Really Do Make A Difference

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Conference of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School. What’s the latest?  We are all stressed, the world is spinning faster and we feel a loss of control, which is creating more anxiety. We live in a VUCA world…VUCA is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. 

Some simple things to know are: 

1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. EVERYONE IS EXPERIENCING this rapid rate of change and uncertainty.

2. Don’t try to keep up or get ahead of the curve. Learn how to live effectively. 

3. Put down and turn off the screens. We are driving OURSELVES CRAZY. Who said you had to respond to every email, tweet, and message?

4. Do Mindful meditation for yourself and with your family…there are proven health results.

We are a society addicted to experts, silver bullets and having the right answer, but the new research is showing that the expert is YOU.  Being in Community with others is critical for health and wellness – and the first community we have is our family. We have an immunity to change; we tell ourselves something, but do something else. Yet, by spending time with ourselves and our families, we start to find meaningful answers.

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Topics: Family Day, President's Message, red ribbon, red ribbon week, drug abuse, drug prevention

President's Message - September 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on September 26, 2017 at 3:20 PM

Normal Day, Let Me Be Aware Of The Treasure You Are

If nothing else, Hurricane Irma helps us to greatly appreciate uneventful times and the normalcy of our regular routines.

We take normal routines for granted; we don’t think about electricity, cable, phones, etc. until they are not functioning.  Then, we get anxious and angry…someone let us down!  Who? FPL, the cable company, the city, surely there is someone to blame for inconveniencing my routine. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t care about inconvenience to my little routine.

Hurricanes get our attention and force us to reexamine our place in the universe. I love the line, “Do you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.”  We witness resilience from people whose house and cars are destroyed. Most say the same thing, “we still have our lives.” 

Normal Day, Let Me Be Aware Of The Treasure You Are for someday I will want to hold you and you will be gone. As our routines return to normal, let’s treasure each routine and normal day.

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Topics: President's Message, lock your meds, drug abuse, drug prevention

President's Message - August 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 24, 2017 at 3:32 PM

Let's Hold The Media, Our Systems & Ourselves Accountable By Asking "WHY," Not Just WHAT"

A recent People magazine cover story focused on 135 faces of opioid epidemic victims. We appreciate the magazine’s coverage of this national crisis.

However, have you noticed the news is always reporting WHAT, WHAT, WHAT AND rarely WHY, WHY, WHY?

Why is the opioid crisis happening?

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Topics: President's Message, lock your meds, drug abuse, drug prevention

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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