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President's Message - January 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on January 27, 2017 at 1:30 PM

Ready (But Actually Not), Heroin Is Here

As the government cracks down on “doctor shopping,” or going to multiple doctors to obtain pain medication which by the way is illegal in Florida, and America becomes increasingly aware of the dangers of opioid abuse, people already addicted to opioids looking to satisfy their need/illness are turning to a cheaper and more easily accessible alternative: good ole heroin. 

Like the 1980’s anti-drug commercial says, “no one ever says, ‘I want to be a junkie when I grow up.’” The same is true over 30 years later. People don’t seek out addiction.

Two important predictors of drug use are: availability and a low perception of harm. So what helps create an opioid epidemic? People perceive them to be safe because they are legal – and they are widely prescribed and easy to obtain. In fact, the source of the opioids is typically from friends and family. 67% of all abused pain meds come from someone you know, not a stranger, drug dealer or the internet.  

And people who abuse opioids are 40 times more likely to abuse heroin. Not very good odds, if you ask me.

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Topics: President's Message, prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prescription drugs, parents

Teen Drug Statistics: What Could Amendment 2 Mean for You?

Posted by Informed Families on January 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

On Election Day last November, the presidential race wasn’t the only result to make news in Florida. Voters in our state approved Amendment 2, which expanded the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. The measure, which is now part of the Florida constitution, required a 60 percent vote to pass and received a 71 percent tally—nearly three-quarters of ballots cast. The amendment went into effect Jan. 3, although state health officials are still in the process of cementing rules regulating the cannabis industry.

Confusion remains about what Amendment 2 entails and what it will mean for Florida. Other states have medical marijuana laws, ranging from strict to lenient on how cannabis is prescribed and obtained. One thing is clear from the other states’ leads: Medicinal marijuana, though arguably a benefit to sick patients, negatively impacts teen drug statistics. Although Amendment 2 overwhelmingly passed, how the law will affect Florida families is currently uncertain.

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Topics: marijuana, lock your meds, drugs

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: Teacher Tools

Posted by Informed Families on January 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Here’s a disconcerting fact about teenage substance abuse: About 77 percent of adolescents do not perceive any risk from smoking marijuana once a month. And here’s a more positive fact: Teens who think their parents would disapprove of drug use are less likely to use.

Plenty of information pertaining to teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use is available, but unfortunately, many teachers, parents and kids themselves are unaware of these facts. Furthermore, myths persist, such as the idea that underage drinking and marijuana use in teens isn’t dangerous. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), aims to not just raise awareness, but also provide teachers, students, families and communities with the information they need to keep teens safe.

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Topics: lock your meds, drugs

Adderall Abuse in Florida High Schools

Posted by Informed Families on December 15, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Adderall abuse continues to be a problem with young people. The drug, usually prescribed to counter ADHD in children, is often used by non-ADHD patients to help them study better. And though it is usually associated with college students, Adderall is becoming more of a concern with teenagers, including kids in Florida high schools. According to a 2015 survey, 7.5 percent of 12th-graders reported misusing the drug in the previous year. Of all prescription drugs, Adderall trailed only general amphetamines at 7.7 percent in the survey and came in higher than Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin and steroids.

Unfortunately, many parents aren’t aware of what a serious problem Adderall can be if abused or how prevalent it is in Florida high schools. Here is more information on Adderall abuse:

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Topics: lock your meds, drugs

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

All Star Ambassador Spotlight: Laura Estes of Walton County

Posted by Informed Families on July 20, 2016 at 5:50 PM

Parents at Freeport Middle School generally respond to Informed Families Ambassador and All Star Safe Healthy & Drug Free School winner Laura Estes quite positively. Not to anyone’s surprise, the majority of parents are very appreciative of her dedication to the health and well-being of her students, demonstrated by her delivery of year-round prevention programs.

“One mom told me she was walking by her daughter’s room and heard her daughter say, ‘no, we can never get involved with anything like that because you remember what Ms. Estes said,’” said Laura. “I love to hear stories like that or run into former students who tell me that they never tried drugs after going through my program.”

However, not all responses are immediately positive, especially among parents who are smokers or heavy drinkers.

“One parent who smoked cigarettes said, ‘if I have to hear about the harmful effects of tobacco products one more time, I’m going to strangle you,’” said Estes, with a smile. “Several of my students have inspired their own parents to break out of bad habits. They tell me all the time, ‘my mom hasn’t had a cigarette in three weeks’ or ‘my dad isn’t drinking as much anymore.’”

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Topics: red ribbon week, ambassadors, lock your meds, campaigns, middle school, parents, all star schools, Freeport Middle School, walton county

Ambassador Spotlight: Jacynta House of Miami Gardens

Posted by Informed Families on March 17, 2016 at 4:47 PM

It’s never too early to promote safe, healthy and drug free living for kids. Just ask Ambassador and early childhood specialist Jacynta House, who serves as director of the Beautiful Mindz Preschool in Miami Gardens.

“I think everyone needs prevention education,” said House. “If we educate children when they are young, they will be less likely to do drugs. My goal as an early childhood educator is to give children the best life possible.”

When asked whether she thought that children in preschool are too young to be exposed to drug prevention, Jacynta quickly replied with a definitive “no.”

“They see drug abuse everywhere because our school is in a low income, high crime environment,” said House. “Every morning, I have to clean the playground because there are bags and wrappers everywhere from drug use. I want our children to seek a different, healthier life for themselves.”

Many of the students who attend the preschool have parents who work long hours, some of whom pick up their children as late as 8pm, and many come from insecure home environments. Jacynta dedicates herself to creating a stable and safe learning environment for these young children, ages zero to five, every day.

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Topics: red ribbon week, lock your meds, campaigns, preschool, lock your meds pledge, ambassador, miami gardens

Ambassador Spotlight: Wing Isom of Seminole County

Posted by Informed Families on February 26, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School in Sanford, Florida struck gold when they recruited Wing Isom to join the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) over seven years ago. Now, Isom serves as the school’s PTA President and more recently, she has taken on a new role: Informed Families Ambassador.

Calling Isom “an involved parent” is a vast understatement – and calling her an average Informed Families Ambassador would be equally incorrect. Since the fall of 2015, in her short time as an Informed Families Ambassador, Isom has delivered all three Informed Families campaigns (Family Day™, Red Ribbon Week®, and Lock Your Meds®) with great thought, energy and enthusiasm to the children and families at Goldsboro Elementary.

“We all talk about issues facing our children, but I love doing something about them,” said Wing. “As an Informed Families Ambassador, I connect parents at our school with wonderful prevention resources and I try to do it in a way that works best for our particular school.”

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Topics: red ribbon week, pledges, ambassadors, lock your meds, campaigns, elementary school, seminole county

Partner Spotlight: Jessica Spencer of Drug Free Manatee

Posted by Informed Families on January 20, 2016 at 1:33 PM

Informed Families, as we know it, would not exist without strong, passionate and resourceful partners. One such partner is Dr. Jessica Spencer, project director of The Manatee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, locally known as “Drug Free Manatee.”

A true prevention advocate, Dr. Spencer aims to reach children well before drugs and alcohol enter the picture.

“What I like most about my work is the opportunity to educate and promote overall health and wellness to people in our community and in our State,” said Dr. Spencer. “Educating our communities about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs is so important. We are living in an illness-driven society right now where children are being taught that for every ailment or challenging feeling, there’s a pill to solve the problem. There will be bumps in the road, but you don’t have to reach for a bottle, pill or plant (cannabis) to make you feel better.”

In her eighteen plus years in the field of prevention and addiction, Dr. Spencer has worked in various capacities at the local, regional and statewide level to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free. She is well known in the Florida prevention arena for her work in fight against marijuana legalization, having served as Statewide Coalition Director of the “Vote No on Amendment 2” initiative. In her role as Project Director at Drug Free Manatee, Dr. Spencer plans, implements and evaluates activities and programs that positively impact the health and wellness of all Manatee County citizens.

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Topics: lock your meds, prevention, campaigns, partners, manatee county

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

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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