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Informed Families Blog

President's Message - November 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on November 16, 2018 at 5:23 PM

THANKSGIVING OR EXCESS?

Thanksgiving used to be a time to gather with family and reflect on all of our blessings. We appreciated things, like a roof over our head, food on the table, clothes on our back and a country not at war.

Then, Thanksgiving became a time to eat and drink too much, drive ourselves crazy trying to please our guests or get along with our hosts and prepare for the shopper’s high we get from Black Friday

Families of origin aren’t always healthy or easy to spent time with! I saw a comic recently featuring a “Convention of Adult Children of Normal Parents.” There were three people attending. Ha! Many of us have at least one trauma from childhood and complicated relationships with a sibling or another family member. 

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Topics: President's Message, children, thanksgiving, gratitude, family bonding

President's Message - October 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on October 26, 2018 at 10:24 PM

OH THE PLACES RED RIBBON GOES!

Red Ribbon Week Whirlwind.

I started in Washington DC at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. Every year, the Department of Defense presents awards to the outstanding Prevention and Treatment Centers from each branch of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard. What a thrill to hear the story of the Army Garrison Japan and how they affected not just the lives of the members of the military and their families, but the entire base. I was also really moved by the Navy's Drug Education for Youth program in Norfolk, Virginia.  The Military has less than 2% of their population test positive for drugs…We need to learn from the military and duplicate their efforts. 

Then on to discussing HOW the Department of Education’s Safe & Healthy Schools can equip educators across America with the right tools during Red Ribbon Week with Paul Kesner. Informed Families' programs are TIER 1 UNIVERSAL PREVENTION PROGRAMS.

Later, I met with the Drug Czar, James Carroll, at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Director Carroll had been the keynote speaker at the Pentagon and also at DEA Headquaters. He is charged with coordinating drug efforts. What better place to start than discussing the size and scope of Red Ribbon Week. I asked Director Carroll to recognize the work of grassroots efforts as a way to empower a loyal base of Americans opposed to drug use. Since many states are adopting the Lock Your Meds Campaign, it would be nice to have a unified campaign that came from grassroots such as Lock Your Meds to help address the opioid crisis.

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Topics: President's Message, children, red ribbon, red ribbon week, education

President's Message - September 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on September 21, 2018 at 10:23 AM

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR CHILDREN'S HEATLH & WELL-BEING? 

For so many issues that we face as a society, and certainly drug addiction, there’s an abundance of denial and blame.

This reminds me of a little riddle about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

(For example, creating a healthy environment for our children.)

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

(We are all so busy, after all!)

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

(“Don’t put it all on me!”)

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Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, family dinner, Family Day, red ribbon, red ribbon week

President's Message - August 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 29, 2018 at 2:49 PM

DOES BACK TO SCHOOL MAKE YOU FRANTIC? 

It’s back to school time. Parents are out there frantically getting their children new clothes, new school supplies, new backpacks, etc.

Why not start with some new habits that will last a life time?! Here are three starters for healthier families:

1. Regular family dinner.

Family Day (September 24) is just around the corner. It’s the day we celebrate family dinners as a way to keep children safe, healthy and drug free. Children who eat dinner with their family five or more times a week are more likely to make healthy decisions around drugs and alcohol.

Thanks to feedback from Ambassador Tracy Bowen of Collier County, we’ll be offering tips for families throughout the month of September to make the most of mealtime and keep the conversation going strong.

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Topics: President's Message, children, drug prevention, back to school

President's Message - July 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on July 25, 2018 at 11:16 AM

OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. OPIOIDS. 

Do I have your attention? I’ve noticed that when I use the term “drug prevention,” people sometimes tune out…but when they hear “Opioids,” they appear to perk up. Opioids, they understand.

Many people, sadly, aren’t entirely sold on the importance or relevance of drug prevention to their daily lives. “Not my child. Not my family.” Even Ginger Katz, a mom who lost her son to a drug overdose and who we feature on our blog this month, shared the same feeling before it happened to her. Ginger’s story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, but if we don’t show stories like Ginger’s, the public is going to continue to sweep the problem under the rug. And as Ginger so aptly said when we interviewed her, “we shove it under the rug until our heads hit the ceiling.”

We understand that drug prevention isn’t a “sexy” hot topic. On top of that, we are all needing a brain vacation and many of us only have enough time and energy to deal with what’s in front of us.

I am coining 2 new mental conditions:

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Topics: President's Message, children, mental health, drug prevention, opioids

President's Message - June 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on June 22, 2018 at 9:04 PM

A VACATION FOR THE BRAIN

A brain vacation. Doesn’t that sound so divine?

Busy, busy, busy. We are all so busy. How did this happen?  Suddenly we feel at least 50% busier than we used to feel.

Moments that used to be prime opportunities for mental breaks, such as stopping at a red light, riding in an elevator, walking down the street, sitting in a waiting room, eating a meal, relaxing on a chair outside or going to the beach, are now perfect opportunities to quickly check your phone, make plans, respond to texts or read the 24/7/365 crazy-making news. No wonder we all feel so busy.

Whether we are legitimately busy or we just feel that way doesn’t matter. Our brains respond the same way to stress. According to the CDC, suicides have increased by over 30% since 1999. This stress is one of the reasons why.

We talk about what screens do to our children, but we need to start thinking about what they are doing to us, too. It’s time for a brain vacation.

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Topics: President's Message, mental health, children, suicide, summer

President's Message - May 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on May 23, 2018 at 3:23 PM

BUILDING MENTAL HEALTH IN A SICKLY SOCIETY

I opened my morning paper and read the headline: “100 men, on road to better futures, are sent back to prison by budget cuts.” The story about Turning Point Bridge, one of 33 Florida program providers to help prevent recidivism, losing its funding and having to send all of these men from their jobs and transitional support back to prison makes me ill. Don’t forget to pack a suitcase full of Naltrexone or Narcan, so if they overdose, they won’t die.  The State Budget included 1.4 million dollars per year for 5 years to buy those products.

The public demands quick fix answers and our elected officials try to please the public.  The public and many of our elected leaders lack the knowledge to connect the dots. Taking away funding from programs like Turning Point Bridge and other substance abuse prevention and treatment programs to pay for more police and metal detectors in schools isn’t going to solve school safety problems.

As Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Kai Koerber put so eloquently in a Miami Herald op-ed, “We have to engage in a national shift in consciousness in order to pick ourselves back up from the depths of inequity and madness; because the circumstances under which we find ourselves, today, are so dire that the only option we have to stop gun violence, and the birthing of domestic terrorists, is to look within, and provide the mind of every child, in every school, with mental health training that will carry them, peacefully, into adulthood.”

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Topics: President's Message, mental health, children

President's Message - April 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 10, 2018 at 5:16 PM

WHAT IS AMERICA'S ALCOHOL AWARENESS?

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, so let’s talk about alcohol.

Parents are still the number one reason kids give for not using alcohol and drugs.

Parenting is a hard job. You rarely get thanked and pushing back against unhealthy behaviors is hard. We know you want the best for your kids – and when you know better, you do better.

Americans are more into using alcohol – and less into understanding alcohol’s negative effects, considering that:

  •  Alcohol is a carcinogen and is linked to cancer. In fact, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 15 percent of US breast cancer cases (35,000/year) and deaths (6,600/year).
  • Underage drinking causes 4,300 deaths and 189,000 emergency room visit per year and  
  • Alcohol damages our stem cells.
  • People who consume more than one drink a day are more likely to die earlier and have greater health problems.
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Topics: President's Message, safe homes smart parties, safe parties

President's Message - March 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on March 22, 2018 at 12:00 AM

SAFE HOMES SMART PARENTS

Last week, we had an amazing conference call with one of our absolutely favorite Ambassadors, Tracy Bowen, of Collier County Public Schools. Tracy said that our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign should be renamed the Safe Homes Smart Parents campaign because Safe Parties Require Smart Parents. Parents are the key to safe children.

She hit the nail on the head and we are taking her advice very seriously and determining what that change means for our campaign. The best ideas come from boots on the ground and Tracy is a wonderful example of someone using her knowledge, experience and passion to help the children in her community grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

It’s been 36 years since we founded Informed Families and I’m still simultaneously confident that our prevention programs will help students make good choices this Spring Break and fearful that some parents are misinformed about the dangers of underage drinking, thus choosing to host parties and expose children to potentially frightening consequences. Social norms about alcohol are overwhelming to a parent’s better judgment. How can we help each and every parent take a stand for Safe Parties?

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Topics: President's Message, safe homes smart parties, safe parties

President's Message - February 2018

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 26, 2018 at 3:09 PM

Have We All Lost Our Minds?

It certainly seems like it from the news!

School Safety is the topic du jour for good reason: the loss of 17 innocent lives.  We don’t educate our children for 16 years just to have them senselessly gunned down on school property and this is the 25th fatal, active school shooting at an elementary or high school since Columbine.

Have we learned anything?  I don’t think so when I listen to the news. The script is the same with people suggesting half-baked answers (it is like whack-a-mole) rather than holistic answer which recognize the complexities underlying the problem.  Is this because we allow media to set the agenda with blaring headlines, tight deadlines and sound bites? Problems can’t be solved on TV before the close of the show; it requires hard work, time and HONESTY about who we are as a people. What are our beliefs and values? Our true beliefs and values define our Behaviors.

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Topics: President's Message, holidays

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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