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President's Message - February 2020

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on February 3, 2020 at 9:54 AM

People Participate in What They Help to Plan  

The 2020 Red Ribbon theme is “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free.” So many of our youth are fascinated by superhero culture from Superman and Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel and Spiderman. It’s only fitting that this year we encourage them to be “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free.” To be an everyday hero.

People sometimes ask why the Red Ribbon theme changes each year.  Understanding the history of Red Ribbon is key to understanding this important feature of the campaign. Red Ribbon has always been a grassroots movement.  After DEA agent Kiki Camarena was murdered in 1985, communities across America began displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. People united and took a visible stand against drugs.

We change the theme each year to give the individuals that help spread the Red Ribbon message an opportunity to shape the campaign in a way that is relevant to our communities. Our mission to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a drug free America remains the same, but we must deliver it in a way that resonates with the youth and culture of 2020 if we want to be heard.

I love to see students “Sock it to Drugs” in wacky socks or wear sunglasses because their future is too bright for drugs during Red Ribbon Week. I encourage you to incorporate the official 2020 Red Ribbon theme “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free.” into your spirit week activities as well. Together we can honor the history of Red Ribbon and present a unified message in support of keeping kids safe, healthy and drug free.  

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, red ribbon, red ribbon week, red ribbon theme, drug free, drug use, Kiki Camarena

President's Message - January 2020

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on January 2, 2020 at 9:00 AM

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!

Peggy

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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

President's Message - December 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on December 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Happy Holidays   

The holiday season is here. It’s a very special time of year, and the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that people are like gifts. We often get confused with the wrapping and fail to look at what’s inside. Sometimes we even forget to look at the gift you are to yourself.

I hope the message below, which I have shared in the past, will once again serve as a reminder of our most precious gifts:

People are gifts sent to me wrapped!
Some are wrapped beautifully;
They are attractive when I first see them.

Some come in very ordinary wrapping paper.
Others have been mishandled in the mail.
Once in a while there is a “Special Delivery.”

Some persons are gifts which come very loosely wrapped;
Others very tightly.

But the wrapping is not the gift!
It is easy to make that mistake…
It is amusing when babies do it.

Sometimes the gifts are very easy to open.
Sometimes I need others to help.
Is it because they are afraid?
Does it hurt?
Maybe they have been opened up before and thrown away~

I am a person.
Therefore, I am a gift to myself first of all.

Have I ever looked inside the wrappings?
Afraid to?
Perhaps I’ve never accepted the gift that I am.
Could it be that there is something else inside the wrappings than what I think there is?
Maybe I’ve never seen the wonderful gift that I am!

Am I a gift to other persons?

Do others have to be content with my wrappings…
Never permitted to enjoy the gift?

Every meeting of persons is an exchange of gifts.

But a gift without a giver is not a gift.

Friendship is the gift of persons to each other,
For each other, and for others.

Happy Holidays!

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message

President's Message - November 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on October 31, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Building Healthy People & Healthy Communities  

Informed Families hosted a celebratory rally and lunch to wrap up 2019 Red Ribbon Week. The event celebrated all those who value prevention as a way to stop destructive behaviors.

I am delighted to announce that Informed Families has been awarded a three-year grant from the Florida Blue Foundation to strengthen schools and communities. To kick off that effort we invited filmmaker Erahm Christopher to speak at the rally.  I first saw Mr. Christopher’s movie, “Listen”, at a Florida School Boards Association meeting and believe it offers a way to address many issues in a holistic manner eliminating the “Cause De Jour” mindset that plagues the media, and thus societal perceptions.

Many destructive behaviors have the same root causes. This is a first step toward educating the public about these behaviors, while reducing the stigmas that keep people from speaking up and asking for help.

“Listen” highlights the need for parents, teachers, everyone to really learn to listen to youth. Informed Families will host a screening of the film and a post-film workshop led by Mr. Christopher in February 2020. He has successfully executed these screenings and workshops in other cities across the nation.

While the media focuses on opioid use, school shootings and tragedies, Informed Families focuses on how to prevent opioid use, school shootings and promote good mental health. More and more people are turning off the news because they are tired of wringing their hands, feeling impotent and lamenting one tragedy after another.

I invite all of our Informed Families friends, supporters and Ambassadors to join us in being part of the solution in promoting good mental health.  Stop whining about the problems, come and learn how to get involved and be part of the solution; it is healthy for you! Email us if you would like to get involved.

Peggy 

 

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Topics: President's Message, red ribbon, media, mental health, Erahm Christopher

President's Message - October 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on October 1, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Celebrating Red Ribbon Week   

I’m excited to head to the DEA's headquarters for this year's National Red Ribbon Rally. I invite everyone to watch the live webcast of this kickoff event at www.dea.gov on Oct. 7th at 11 a.m.

During Red Ribbon Week (Oct 23 – 31), youth in schools and communities across the nation pledge to live drug-free by wearing red ribbons and participating in anti-drug events.

This year’s Red Ribbon theme “Send A Message. Stay Drug Free™” really resonates with today’s youth. With the rise of smart phones and social media, sending messages has become a favorite past time for many.  But what kinds of messages are we sending? Are they empowering? Do they encourage those around us?  This year’s Red Ribbon theme certainly fits the bill.  It is a call to action to speak out in support of healthy choices. The theme is also a reminder that by staying drug free, you are sending a message to yourself and others about how much you value yourself, your overall health, your community and your future.

Help us amplify this message. Enter the National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. Encourage others to take the Red Ribbon pledge. Spread the Red Ribbon message on social media by using the hashtags #SendAMessageStayDrugFree, #RedRibbonWeek2019 and #RedRibbonWeek.

We can all play a role in encouraging youth to remain safe, healthy and drug-free.

Peggy 

 

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Topics: President's Message, red ribbon, red ribbon week, drug free, dea, photo contest, drug prevention

President's Message - September 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 30, 2019 at 9:00 AM

An Easy Way to Improve Parent-Child Communication  

Do you want to stop school violence and a host of other dangerous behaviors? Eat dinner with your children.

Did you know if you eat dinner together as a family four times a week that your kids are 50% less likely to use drugs and engage in other risky behaviors?

Many people think they don’t have time to eat dinner with their children – well just imagine how much time you will spend sorting out your child’s problem behaviors?  And guess what, some behaviors become chronic and don’t get sorted out so you will be living with them for a life time.

Eating dinner together provides an opportunity for family members to come together, strengthen ties and build better relationships.  Communicating early and often makes it much easier to tackle conversations around tough topics, like substance use, when the time comes. If your kids aren’t used to talking to you about their day when they are 8 or 10 years old, it's much harder to start at age 12-14.

Our Family Day campaign promotes frequent family dinners as a way to prevent risky behavior in kids. On September 23rd, join millions of families across the U.S. to Stand Up for Sitting down to dinner. Enjoy a meal together with your family and talk to each other, electronics-free.

Peggy

 

 

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Topics: Family Day, President's Message, communication, prevention, family bonding, parents, family dinner

President's Message - August 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on August 1, 2019 at 8:30 AM

Back to School Transitions Can Lead to Problems   

Hi friend,

Summer vacation is coming to an end, and your children will be returning to school soon. Some are preparing to transition into middle or high school; while others are heading off to college.  These transitions will introduce new environments, new friends and new found freedoms. Research shows that dealing with transitions is often a time when kids get into trouble. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to have another talk with your kids about your family rules and boundaries regarding underage drinking and substance abuse

You want to encourage your children’s growing independence, but set appropriate limits. Set clear rules, and then enforce the rules you set. Make sure your children understand what the consequences will be for breaking rules.  But equally important, don’t forget to acknowledge the moments when your kids choose healthy behaviors over underage drinking or experimenting with drugs.

According to a recent report, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) programs continue to yield consistently reduced youth substances use rates. There has been a decline in prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol use among youth. So we know prevention programs and initiatives, like the ones Informed Families offer, work.  We all must continue to play a role in creating communities that care about helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free.

Peggy

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Topics: President's Message, college students, prevention, underage drinking, family rules, teens, peer pressure, drug use, parents, alcohol use, back to school

President's Message - June/July 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on June 28, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Let's End the Stigma Associated With Drugs   

The Surgeon General’s recent call to end the stigma associated with addiction is long overdue. The stigma surrounding alcohol and drug use and addiction often prevents us from talking openly about these issues with friends, family and most importantly our kids.

It’s much easier to avoid talking about tough topics, especially when we think “that could never happen to one of my loved ones.”  No one wants to believe their child is sneaking pills from the medicine cabinet or drinking while out with friends. No one wants to believe their child is experimenting with or using drugs.

The sad truth is that children as young as nine years old already start viewing alcohol in a more positive way, and approximately 3,300 kids, as young as 12 years old, try marijuana each day. Additionally, about five in 10 kids, as young as age 12, obtain prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes.  Furthermore, the research shows that children who first smoke marijuana under the age of 14 are more than five times as likely to abuse drugs as adults than those who first use marijuana at age 18 (NIDA).

It is never too early to talk to your children about the risks of using alcohol and drugs. It may not always seem like it, but kids really do hear their parents say; talk they listen.

Peggy 

 

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Topics: President's Message, addiction, drug trends, marijuana, prescription drug abuse, teens, drug use, parents, alcohol use

President's Message - May 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on May 28, 2019 at 9:00 AM

Summer Is A Good Time to Refocus On Prevention  

Another busy school year is coming to a close and we are all looking forward to having some down time and reconnecting with family. The start of summer is a critical time to talk with your kids about risky behaviors. Teens and college students most often use substances for the first time during June or July, according to SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on adolescents – 2012  and NSDUH data on full-time college students – 2015.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy for parents to recognize that their child might be experimenting with alcohol or drugs. JUUL e-cigarettes that look like USB flash drives, flasks disguised as lotion containers, sunscreen or smart phone cases, and CBD gummies can be hidden in plain sight. These items can all be purchased online. Talk to your kids about the dangers of using drugs or alcohol and arm them with the knowledge they need to make healthy choices. If you need some talking points take a look at these 11 Tips For Talking To Your Kids About Drugs & Alcohol

It might be hard to acknowledge if your child has a substance abuse problem. It’s also difficult to find help. Many parents often ask - what should I do if my child is dealing with an addiction or mental health issue? The good news is a newly proposed Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act 2019 would help provide the infrastructure and community building that is are critical to getting them the care they need.

Peggy

 

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Topics: President's Message, parenting, college students, teens, peer pressure, e-cigarettes, drug use, parents, alcohol use, summer, healthy kids, juul

President's Message - April 2019

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 26, 2019 at 3:00 PM

Communicating Across Generations 

I recently read that some families now have five living generations. Imagine that. Each generation has a totally different world view and processes information in a different way. However simply engaging with others remains the key to communicating effectively.

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Topics: President's Message, parenting, communication, safe homes smart parties, underage drinking, teens, peer pressure, parents, alcohol use, alcohol abuse

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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