On Valentine’s Day, 2021, 19-year-old Logan Rachwal had an argument with his girlfriend and popped what he thought was Percocet, a painkiller that he bought on the social media app Snapchat. Logan fell asleep and never woke up.
Informed Families Blog
Topics: marijuana, brain development, social media, drugs, opioids, myths, fentanyl
These days, it seems marijuana use has become as acceptable as a glass of wine with dinner. In addition, more states have become enamored of the revenue that comes with legalizing and taxing the drug.
Topics: marijuana, brain development, drugs, opioids, myths, fentanyl
The tragedy of fentanyl continues killing Americans: more than 107,000 in 2021, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures.
A New Year and A New Start
Welcome, 2020! Cheers to the start of a new year and a new decade.
We are encouraged by the recent findings from the annual Monitoring the Future survey. In the past year, the use of illicit drugs (other than marijuana) among 12th graders remains low. The misuse of prescription medicines and the use of alcohol and tobacco cigarettes continues to decline as well. However the number of youth vaping marijuana and nicotine is rising.
In the 1980s, we were fighting to keep our kids safe from cocaine, big tobacco and underage drinking. Today we are battling against opioids, vaping and binge drinking. The drug trends may change, but education and simple, clear communication remain key in keeping our youth healthy and drug free.
Informed Families has been fortunate to have such terrific partners help us spread our prevention messages. We are once again partnering with Publix to promote our Lock Your Meds campaign and messaging in all of their pharmacies this month. We are also working with the Florida Blue Foundation to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic and promote good mental health over the next three years.
Informed Families will continue to deliver on our mission to educate, enable and empower students, parents and communities to work together to keep children healthy in 2020. We are off to a great start!
Topics: President's Message, drug trends, underage drinking, binge drinking, publix, drug free, drug prevention, nicotine, tobacco, drug use, opioids, alcohol use, mental health, vaping
Informed Families President & CEO Peggy Sapp was invited to participate in a round table discussion about the opioid epidemic on Saturday, April 20. Organized by Congresswoman Donna Shalala, the panel was moderated by Rodrigo Lozano, LCSW, from the National Association of Social Workers and included John W. Newcomer, M.D., president and CEO of South Florida Behavioral Health Network in Miami, FL, Judge Victoria Sigler and Howard Rosen, Esq., head of narcotics in the State Attorney’s Office.
Topics: lock your meds, prescription drugs, overdose, Peggy Sapp, drug prevention, drug use, opioids
How We Pass Down Values To The Next Generation
From the moment our children are born, everything we do, every choice we make and every action we may or may not take communicates our values. Our kids are absorbing our every move, soaking up our interactions with them and with others.
We want them to learn right from wrong, how to be kind to others, how to recognize and manage their emotions and how to be honest, responsible and fair. Not only are our children more pleasant to be around when they learn these things, but they are more likely to be happy, perform well in school and become a productive members of society.
The loss of our great supporter, friend and philanthropist Betty Chapman this past week is a great reminder that we have the ability to not only pass values down to our children and their children, but we can pass down values in a community. Betty’s dedication to her community will continue to influence others to give back to their communities for decades to come.
Topics: President's Message, parenting, lock your meds, children, opioids, parents
“A lot of people look at addicted individuals as people who lie, steal and hurt others,” said Katie Polewski. “This was not the case with my son. He always told me the truth. I knew he was struggling when he avoided me because he couldn’t lie.”
While he started his journey of drug use with marijuana, on the night that he died, Katie’s son Derrek was using heroin. He was ready to get sober and was attempting to wean himself off the drug to reduce withdrawal symptoms. Even though he used a tiny dose that night, the heroin contained fentanyl, which is significantly more potent and often deadly.
Katie Polewski lost her son Derrek on January 16, 2016 after a long battle with addiction.
“I believe that whether or not a child starts using drugs has a lot to do with friends they make, choices they make and not being aware of the dangers,” said Polewski. “I can’t express how important it is for awareness and prevention. All three of my kids were different. They had completely different personalities and they were all raised the same…with unconditional love.”
Topics: drug prevention, drug use, opioids, parents
Written by: Nikki Strunck, mother
The sixth overdose was fatal. My only child Brendan died at the age of 24.
He and some friends started messing around with pot when he was 13. By the age of 14, he got oxycodone pills from a friend, and by 16, he was addicted to heroin.
I grieved for my son for years before he died. As difficult as talking about this is, if I can help one person not die, this is worth it.
I think when Brendan was small, I thought he would try drinking and smoking pot. I was not prepared for opioid abuse.
Topics: drug prevention, drug use, opioids, parents
Brian Mendell was a child who loved the outdoors and had an infectious smile. In elementary school, Brian started to experience difficulties and was diagnosed with ADD. He was also later diagnosed with anxiety, depression and traits of Asperger's.
Brian started smoking marijuana at the age of 13 with some of his friends. He, unlike some of his friends, became addicted to marijuana and ultimately became addicted to opioids. He went through numerous treatment programs, struggled immensely, relapsed frequently and ultimately took his own life after a long battle with addiction in the fall of 2011.
Topics: drug prevention, drug use, opioids, suicide
Drug overdose was responsible for the loss of nearly 72,000 Americans in 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. That’s just under 200 people each day for the entire year - and 8,000 more deaths than the previous year, also a record year. At least 2/3 of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Here are two trends that are contributing to this awful epidemic.
From Pills To Heroin
Patients receiving prescription drugs for pain as a result of an injury or recovering from surgery are often given significantly more than they need. While opioids are effective in managing pain, their addictive properties make them dangerous for long-term use.
Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prescription drugs, drug abuse, opioids