Adapting to Change…who likes it? The Answer…no one!
Adapting to the shelter-in-place order forced on us during the COVID-19 crisis is showing some early adapters: the winners are colleges and schools making the switch from sitting in a classroom to having the classroom on your laptop. Hats off to you!
One of my college-age granddaughters sent me a text yesterday, but when I called her back (generational thing) she replied back via text: I’m in class can’t talk right now.
Many schools are requiring the students to show up for their online classes in their school uniforms or in the school’s dress code. Schools are getting on with business, the content is the same, but the delivery is different.
Informed Families was scheduled to be closed for Spring Break this past week, but we canceled it. Why? So we could get our Lock Your Meds curriculum online and ready to use when Miami-Dade County public schools reopened on March 30. Schools, teachers, parents and students rely on Informed Families to provide them the latest information, tips, and resources to keep kids safe, healthy & drug free.
prescription drug abuse,
lock your meds,
lesson plan template,
While the Media Was Focused on Opioids Look What Happened
While the media has been focused on the opioid crisis, the number of alcohol-related deaths more than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to 72,558 in 2017. Women have been impacted the most.
According Dr. George F. Koob, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director, “alcohol is a growing women’s health issue. The rapid increase in deaths involving alcohol among women is troubling and parallels the increases in alcohol consumption among women over the past few decades.”
Trends like Mommy wine culture, which normalizes the idea of drinking alcohol as a way to cope with stress, and sipping while shopping have become commonplace. We should always keep in mind that our kids are watching our behaviors. Do we want them to turn to alcohol as a way to escape from everyday stress or as the only way to relax and unwind?
They are bombarded with images promoting alcohol in that way already. A new report from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs says alcohol ads are leading teens to drink. A study in the Preventive Medicine journal found that social media could be sending out positive messaging about alcohol use as well.
Sign the Safe Homes Smart Parents pledge, and let’s work together to stem the tide of alcohol-related deaths by discouraging underage and binge drinking.
safe homes smart parties,
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.
red ribbon week,
red ribbon theme,
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
red ribbon week,
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.
Back to School Transitions Can Lead to Problems
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.
back to school
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.
prescription drug abuse,