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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

Adderall Use vs. Adderall Abuse: Know the Signs

Posted by Informed Families on February 1, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Per 2012 numbers from the CDC, an estimated 6.4 million people in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Within this statistic, about 3.5 million children are taking some sort of medication, including Adderall, for the condition. According to the New York Times, the legal sale of prescription stimulants soared to $9 billion in 2012, more than a four-fold increase in just a decade. ADHD is a big business and more pills are available to patients than ever.

Unfortunately, many of those pills end up in the hands of teenagers who aren’t suffering from ADHD. Adderall abuse, normally associated with college students, is becoming a bigger problem with teens who are misusing the drug in an attempt to help with studying or simply for a recreational high. And because Adderall is so commonly prescribed, many students have learned how to work the system to obtain a script from their doctors.

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Topics: drugs, prescription drugs

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

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

Drugs in Schools: Prevention in 2016-17

Posted by Informed Families on September 16, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Another school year has begun, and with it, the hope that students will thrive over the next nine months and make it to next summer safe and successful. For principals and superintendents concerned about drugs in schools, there is a ray of optimism: Usage rates among teens are generally remaining steady or slightly declining. However, this news shouldn’t be cause for celebration, but rather, a mandate that prevention initiatives are still important and effective. Too many teens are still engaging in risky behaviors, which rightfully concerns educators, parents and communities who want to keep children protected and drug-free.

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Topics: drugs, prescription drugs

President's Message - March 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 18, 2016 at 12:20 PM

There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

First Lady Nancy Reagan, who passed away last week, tirelessly dedicated her time and energy, during her husband’s presidency in the 1980’s, to shine a light on the nation’s drug problem.

Her “Just Say No” message originated during an event in Atlanta where a child asked her what to do if someone offered her drugs. Reagan replied with the now famous response and the media picked it up. While we can all agree that it’s not easy to say “no” and the latest prevention science provides us with more comprehensive and effective ways to educate and inspire children to make healthy choices, the message was clear: our children have a right to grow up safe, healthy and drug free – and we have the responsibility to make that happen.   

At the time, some people heard the message, some people didn’t hear the message and others didn’t like the message. The same is true today. There is nothing new under the sun. Scientists continue to identify dangers of marijuana use, states who have legalized it are seeing a rapid increase in use among youth – and yet, the legalization trend is not slowing down. Prescription drug use and heroin use are epidemics we can no longer ignore.

Below is a formal statement from Informed Families and the National Family Partnership mourning the loss of our friend Nancy Reagan. We appreciate all of her support over the years. We also appreciate and thank each of you, our readers and supporters, for your dedication to helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, prescription drugs, prevention, just say no, nancy reagan

President's Message - February 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 26, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Informed Families Is About Drug Prevention, Not Drug Abuse

Please repeat this 7 times and then ask, “What’s the difference?” “How do I learn Prevention?”

After several phone calls from friends and family telling me to make sure I watched “Chasing Heroin” on Frontline, I tuned in and now I’m asking you to please watch “Chasing Heroin” on Frontline.  It will definitely debunk a lot of myths that society has created about who uses drugs, why they use drugs and how people get out of addiction.

Actually, Informed Families could have written the show; several of the speakers are professional colleagues and good friends. I’ve served on both The White House Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and National Institute of Drug Abuse at NIH.  I have tremendous respect for Dr. Tom McLellan, a great researcher and former head of Demand Reduction at The White House ONDCP.  Tom is great person and parent when he levels and admits that all the researchers still don’t know where to send a kid when he/she has a drug problem. Tom lost a son to drugs.  Hats off to the brilliant Dr. Nora Volkow, head of NIDA, when she says, “no one has all the answers about the brain.”

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Topics: President's Message, heroin, prescription drugs, prevention, nida, ondcp

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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