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Last Year Was The Worst Year In US History For Drug Overdoses

Posted by Informed Families on August 26, 2018 at 5:31 PM

prescription-drug-USDrug 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.

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

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

President's Message - February 2017

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 24, 2017 at 2:27 PM

5 Ways Parents Are Like The "Instant Pot"

(...That's the cooking pot, not marijuana!)

Have you heard of the latest kitchen craze? There’s a new device that can do it all: the 7-in-one version can steam, sauté, slow cook, pressure cook, cook rice, make yogurt (not sure who has time for that) and warm food. It’s called an Instant Pot!  

The Instant Pot has been around for a few years, but recently hit a tipping point and became Amazon’s top selling kitchen device. The device’s developers spent no money on advertising, choosing to strategically send a free Instant Pot to hundreds of cooking bloggers, which led to word of mouth and hitting an all-time high at the end of 2016.  (Remember, this is how behavior changes and why we need you to tell your friends about Informed Families’ Four Campaigns.)

People love The Instant Pot because it saves so much time! A dish that cooks in a slow cooker for 8 hours only takes 25-30 minutes. You can even cook frozen meat – and do it quickly. Talk about a blessing for busy parents. In today’s 24/7/365 technology-crazed life, any opportunity to simplify and reduce time and effort is key to our sanity! (Our prevention tips will also SAVE YOU LOTS OF TIME in the future.)

Parents are a lot like the “Instant Pot” because:

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

Prescription Drug Abuse Facts For Teachers

Posted by Informed Families on February 22, 2017 at 7:30 AM

Another successful Lock Your Meds campaign is coming to a close. This initiative is aimed at providing prescription drugs abuse facts to parents, students and educators, as well as encouraging parents to keep powerful medicine locked up and away from teens who might steal and improperly use the pills.

Yet, the effort to curb prescription drug abuse can’t end simply because our 2017 campaign is ending. Pills remain a big problem in Florida schools and teachers are an important ally in keeping kids safe. Here are several prescription drug abuse facts teachers should know:

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Topics: prescription drugs, drug abuse, prescription drug abuse

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, parents, prescription drugs, prescription drug abuse, lock your meds

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

From The Front Lines: The Latest Drug Trends Of 2016

Posted by David Vittoria, MSW, CAP, CPP, ICADC, NCAC II, Assistant Vice President, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center on September 21, 2016 at 11:19 AM

As an Informed Families board member and the Director of South Miami Hospital’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center (ATRC), I’m grateful to share my experience and observations about drug trends from the “front lines” at Baptist Health South Florida. Boy, we really do see it all. On a regular basis, I see many people at their lowest point, struggling with the disease of addiction. For many who attend our programs, I get to witness a wonderful transformation back into good health. However, I am dedicated to doing whatever I can to prevent children and families from getting into drugs in the first place.  

Leading up to the start of each school year, we focus our energy on preparing kids for a success, whether by purchasing the necessary school supplies, meeting with new teachers and mapping out our fall schedule. One thing we hope to never worry about is our kids falling into the wrong crowd and adopting new negative and dangerous behaviors, such as using drugs. But, hoping isn’t enough sometimes. As parents, we need to educate ourselves and take action to protect our children. By staying involved with our children, contributing to their self-esteem, setting healthy boundaries, monitoring behavior, getting to know their teachers, knowing their friends, despite any pushback we might get from them, we are truly making a difference and reducing the likelihood that they will get into trouble.  

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, David Vittoria, recovery, heroin, prescription drugs, prevention, opioids, fentanyl

From The Front Lines: Rx for Heroin Addiction

Posted by David Vittoria, MSW, CAP, CPP, ICADC, NCAC II, Assistant Vice President, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center on February 24, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Eric, a teenager, started taking Oxycontin from his uncle’s medicine cabinet and using it at parties with his friends.

Harold, a 45-year-old father and construction worker, suffers from chronic back pain and was prescribed Percocet by a primary care physician lacking training in pain management.

Both are now heroin addicts.

How did this happen?

According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2014, unintentional overdoses on Opioid prescription medications, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, have quadrupled. There are a number of reasons for this:

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, David Vittoria, recovery, heroin, prescription drugs, prevention, oxycontin, opioids

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

From The Front Lines: Summer Is A Peak Time For First Time Drug Use

Posted by David Vittoria, MSW, CAP, CPP, ICADC, NCAC II, Assistant Vice President, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center on July 14, 2015 at 7:44 PM

The first time Sarah* used drugs — at age 13 — the experience was pretty unremarkable, she recalls. Now 18 and newly graduated from high school, Sarah does recall that it happened during the summer at a party. Other kids were drinking beer and smoking marijuana, so she tried them. She continued to smoke marijuana off and on during high school, and she occasionally drank alcohol to excess.

“It wasn’t like I needed something to make me feel happy,” she said. “I didn’t personally go seek it out. It was around.” Seated in a loose circle, Sarah is talking with other teenagers, who in one moment are sharing serious insights and life experiences, then joking and teasing in the next. These teens, ages 16 to 18, are participating in a group therapy session for adolescents at South Miami Hospital’s Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center.

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Topics: addiction, prescription drug abuse, David Vittoria, recovery, 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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