Informed Families Blog

President's Message - July 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on July 19, 2017 at 5:03 PM

Visible & Invisible "Human Chains" Save Lives

To save a desperate, drowning family, 80 Florida citizens made a human chain on Panama City Beach in early July. What a beautiful reminder that by working together, we all have the power to keep children and families safe. News reports spoke of the dozens of beachgoers lining up in response to the desperate mother’s cries, organizing themselves by skill level, with the stronger swimmers in the deeper water and others standing closer to the shore.

A tragedy was prevented and the story spread like wildfire. Why? Because the story warmed our hearts. Who doesn’t love a story about a large group of complete strangers coming together to save children in danger?

That’s what Informed Families’ supporters do each year…they build a network of people to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.  Donors, volunteer Ambassadors, educators, counselors, parents, schools, law enforcement and community organizations form networks to take our four campaigns and prevention messages to schools, building safety nets for children across Florida.

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Topics: President's Message, drug abuse, drug prevention, parents, summer

Why Do Kids Use Drugs?

Posted by Informed Families on June 7, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Anti-drug messages aimed at kids are nothing new—most of today’s parents were children themselves when the first wave of “Just Say No” campaigns were launched in the 1980s. And in the last three decades or so, the efforts of parents, educators, communities and organizations such as Informed Families have made a noticeable and welcome dent in the problem of teen drug use. 

Still, much work still needs to be done to keep our kids safe and inspire them to make smart choices. The fact that teen drug use remains a problem might lead many to ask why, after all the campaigns, warnings and anti-drug efforts, do kids still choose to use drugs. The tempting answer might be, “They’re teens and don’t know better.” However, it’s not that simple. Below, we detail a variety of reasons why some kids use drugs in 2017.

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Topics: drug abuse, drug prevention

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, lock your meds, campaigns, alcohol, drug prevention

Florida High Schools: How to Keep Your Prom Drug-Free

Posted by Informed Families on March 29, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Prom creates a wonderful memory for many students at Florida high schools. Teens plan, both individually and at school, to make prom a special night. Yet, drugs and alcohol can sometimes ruin that special night. In the worst-case scenario, the night can become tragic.

According to a AAA survey, 31 percent of high schoolers say they or someone they know plan to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol sometime during prom/graduation season. This statistic is troubling—students go through the effort of creating that special prom memory (not to mention the money their parents spend on gowns, tuxes and so on), then might get impaired enough to not remember the night.

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Topics: high school, drug free, drug prevention

Publix Pharmacy Shares Important New Years Message

Posted by Informed Families on December 13, 2016 at 5:14 PM

When you walk into your local Publix Pharmacy in January, please thank the pharmacist and store manager for helping to prevent prescription drug abuse!

Once again, Publix is partnering with Informed Families to promote an important new years message: Lock Your Meds. The Lock Your Meds campaign, created by the National Family Partnership and sponsored by Informed Families in Florida, educates adults about the importance of securing medication to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Lock Your Meds asks individuals to secure their medication, take regular inventory to ensure nothing is missing, safely dispose of unused or expired medication and share the message with friends and family.

The campaign will be featured in 1,022 Publix Pharmacy stores across Southeastern United States. Each Publix Pharmacy store will have in-store counter signage and printed pharmacy receipts with a Lock Your Meds Message. This is the fifth year in a row that Publix, the fastest growing grocery chain in America, is collaborating with Informed Families to reduce prescription drug abuse in Florida's communities. 

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prevention, publix, drug prevention

President's Message - August 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 20, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Building A Drug Prevention Network Across Florida

Today, there is a Heroin Epidemic sweeping across America. All of our plans, dreams, and hopes for educating children can be swept away by this Epidemic. How do we face and fight this heroin Epidemic to assure the future of Florida’s children?

No one wants their child to become a drug addict, yet we are all overwhelmed with many demands and problems. There is little time to work on one of our most important goals: Defeating the drug problem.

We must join TOGETHER, creating CRITICAL MASS and a NETWORK to deliver consistent messages across Florida and across America to turn the tide of this epidemic.

Joining together sounds easy but it is not easy. Working together can be complicated and time consuming, thus we frequently avoid it.

Since working together is essential; Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership is making it simple to join together and deliver effective messages to our children.

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Topics: President's Message, red ribbon, ambassadors, campaigns, children, teacher tools, drug prevention, parents, ambassador

Lock Your Meds Featured In Publix Pharmacy Stores in January 2016

Posted by Informed Families on December 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM

This January, Informed Families is partnering with Publix Pharmacy to deliver the Lock Your Meds® campaign, which aims to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they are often the unintended suppliers of abused prescription medications.

Lock Your Meds asks individuals to secure their medication, take regular inventory to ensure nothing is missing, safely dispose of unused or expired medication and share the message with friends and family.

The campaign will be featured in 646 Publix Pharmacy stores across Florida through counter displays and printed pharmacy receipts containing a message about Lock Your Meds. This is the fourth year in a row that Publix, the fastest growing grocery chain in America, is collaborating with Informed Families to reduce prescription drug abuse in Florida's communities. 

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prevention, publix, drug prevention

Announcing 2015 Florida Red Ribbon Photo Contest Winners

Posted by Informed Families on December 3, 2015 at 5:25 PM

School Entry Winner - Orlando Science Elementary School, Paola Stauffer


Home Entry Winner - Demarco/Reynolds Family, Pompano Beach Elementary


Informed Families is proud to announce the winners of its 2015 Florida Red Ribbon Photo Contest, which takes place as a part of National Red Ribbon Week ® – the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign. The contest, sponsored by Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership encouraged families and schools to decorate their homes and classrooms with this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme, “Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free™.” All this was done to promote the commitment to living a healthy and drug-free lifestyle. The winners, who received the most votes in each category (home entries and school entries), earned $1,000 for their schools and an iPad for themselves.

The school entry winner is Orlando Science Elementary School, led by Administrator Paola Stauffer, who coordinated the effort to decorate the front of the school with this year’s Red Ribbon theme. Paola wins an iPad for herself and $1,000 to be used for drug prevention efforts at the school.

“I loved engaging the entire school community in the contest: students, parents, teachers and the administration.” said Paola Stauffer. “I believe if you start educating children early about drug prevention and involving parents, there will be a greater impact.’

Orlando Science Elementary School Principal, Michael Singleton, said he is very proud of his school and impressed by Paola’s efforts to rally the school in support of Red Ribbon Week.

“I am proud that our school won,” said Principal Singleton. “We have a special group of parents, students, and staff who do what it takes to be successfully, both academically and socially. There is a lot of hard work that goes into Red Ribbon Week and it’s nice to see a direct reward for this team effort.”

The home entry winner in the Florida Red Ribbon Photo Contest is the Demarco/Reynolds family. Pompano Beach Elementary School students, Drew, Abby and Stephen Reynolds, and their family, decorated their home fence with this year’s Red Ribbon theme and ultimately won an iPad and $1,000 for their school, from Informed Families.

“What I liked most about my kids participating in the contest was the theme: ‘Respect Yourself. Be Drug Free,’” said Tina Demarco, Drew, Abby and Stephen’s mother. “I want my children to know that they can be themselves. They don’t need to do drugs to fit in with other people.”

Pompano Beach Elementary School Principal Stephen P. Larson expressed his excitement about the win and the financial support for his school.

“We were thrilled to learn that one of our parents thought enough about the importance of drug education, our students, and our community to enter the statewide contest,” said Principal Stephen P. Larson. “It is indeed a powerful demonstration showing the influence that one person and one family can have on our community. We are excited about the opportunity to invest in current drug prevention materials and the potential that these funds can have on our school.”

National Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 and was started by the National Family Partnership in response to the abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Since its inception, the campaign has touched millions of lives to promote and celebrate drug free living. Informed Families is the Florida Sponsor of the campaign each year.

“An estimated 80 million people celebrate Red Ribbon Week each year,” said Informed Families President & CEO Peggy Sapp. “We designed the contest to bring the Red Ribbon message home and to give parents a chance to talk about the dangers of drug abuse. By receiving the same message at home, in school and in the community, children are significantly more likely to really hear and benefit from the prevention message.”

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Topics: red ribbon week, respect, photo contest, 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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