Informed Families welcomed more than 300 Youth Ambassadors to the fold this fall.
Informed Families Blog
Until recently, most parents were not as concerned about their teenager vaping as they would be if their child experimented with other drugs.
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.
Three new trustees represent organizations with a long-standing commitment to prevention.
Jessi Berrin serves as Director of Development for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in the South Florida region spanning Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. She is responsible for a comprehensive and robust development program with an emphasis on donor-driven philanthropy to support South Florida’s brand new, state-of-the-art Miami Cancer Institute. Jessi graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Florida in May 2007, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunications and an outside concentration in Business Administration. Shortly after graduating, Jessi landed a position as an Associate Producer at WPLG, Local 10 News in Miami, Florida where she wrote and produced the morning news program. In 2012, Jessi officially became a “Double Gator” by receiving a Master’s in Business Administration from The University of Florida. Berrin joined the IF Board of Trustees in January.
Red Ribbon Certified Schools, an Informed Families program, recognizes schools that improve academic performance by keeping kids drug and alcohol free, while engaging parents and the community. When families are looking for a safe school with a healthy environment, Red Ribbon Certified Schools are a good place to start. It's like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for prevention.
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.
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.
Common Myths Masquerading As Common Sense
“Underage drinking is a harmless rite of passage.”
Really? Is that so?
“Teaching my child to drink will lead to moderation in the future.”
Ever heard one of these?
“I drank and smoked pot in my youth and lived to tell the tale. My child will too.”
Ever believed it?
“If it’s prescribed by a doctor, it’s harmless.”
Are common myths masquerading themselves as common sense? If enough people around you are saying the same thing, whether it’s true or false, do you start to question your own judgment, knowledge?
“If my child 'parties' and still gets good grades, he/she doesn’t have a problem.”
Our Safe Homes Smart Parties campaign aims to inform and empower parents of underage youth to set guidelines around springtime parties to ensure that drugs and alcohol are not present or tolerated. We know that underage drinking is responsible for 4,300 deaths and 189,000 emergency room visits each year. This isn’t make believe.
“Marijuana is a plant so it’s not harmful or addictive. It’s natural.”
According to extensive research (22 studies) published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, “parental provision was generally associated with increased adolescent alcohol use and, in some instances, increased heavy episodic drinking as well as higher rates of alcohol-related problems.”
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.