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Orlando Schools Earn National Recognition & Red Ribbon Certification

Posted by Informed Families on June 22, 2018 at 3:35 PM

Three Orange County schools, Robinswood Middle, Wedgefield K-8 and Winegard Elementary, will be raising a new flag next year: a Red Ribbon Certified Schools flag, given to them for their outstanding, year-round substance abuse prevention efforts. The schools were among only four across the nation to receive the coveted title of Red Ribbon Certified Schools.

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.

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Topics: red ribbon week, prevention, red ribbon certified schools

Publix Pharmacy Shares Important New Years Message

Posted by Informed Families on December 13, 2016 at 5:14 PM

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. 

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prevention, publix, drug prevention

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

President's Message - April 2016

Posted by Peggy B. Sapp, President & CEO on April 19, 2016 at 8:09 PM

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.”

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Topics: President's Message, marijuana, prevention, underage drinking, myths

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

From The Front Lines: Rx for Heroin Addiction

Posted by David Vittoria, MSW, CAP, CPP, ICADC, NCAC II, Assistant Vice President, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center on February 24, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Eric, a teenager, started taking Oxycontin from his uncle’s medicine cabinet and using it at parties with his friends.

Harold, a 45-year-old father and construction worker, suffers from chronic back pain and was prescribed Percocet by a primary care physician lacking training in pain management.

Both are now heroin addicts.

How did this happen?

According to the CDC, between 1999 and 2014, unintentional overdoses on Opioid prescription medications, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, have quadrupled. There are a number of reasons for this:

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, David Vittoria, recovery, heroin, prescription drugs, prevention, oxycontin, opioids

Partner Spotlight: Jessica Spencer of Drug Free Manatee

Posted by Informed Families on January 20, 2016 at 1:33 PM

Informed Families, as we know it, would not exist without strong, passionate and resourceful partners. One such partner is Dr. Jessica Spencer, project director of The Manatee County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, locally known as “Drug Free Manatee.”

A true prevention advocate, Dr. Spencer aims to reach children well before drugs and alcohol enter the picture.

“What I like most about my work is the opportunity to educate and promote overall health and wellness to people in our community and in our State,” said Dr. Spencer. “Educating our communities about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs is so important. We are living in an illness-driven society right now where children are being taught that for every ailment or challenging feeling, there’s a pill to solve the problem. There will be bumps in the road, but you don’t have to reach for a bottle, pill or plant (cannabis) to make you feel better.”

In her eighteen plus years in the field of prevention and addiction, Dr. Spencer has worked in various capacities at the local, regional and statewide level to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free. She is well known in the Florida prevention arena for her work in fight against marijuana legalization, having served as Statewide Coalition Director of the “Vote No on Amendment 2” initiative. In her role as Project Director at Drug Free Manatee, Dr. Spencer plans, implements and evaluates activities and programs that positively impact the health and wellness of all Manatee County citizens.

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Topics: lock your meds, prevention, campaigns, partners, manatee county

Lock Your Meds Featured In Publix Pharmacy Stores in January 2016

Posted by Informed Families on December 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM

This January, Informed Families is partnering with Publix Pharmacy to deliver the Lock Your Meds® campaign, which aims to reduce prescription drug abuse by making adults aware that they are often the unintended suppliers of abused prescription medications.

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 646 Publix Pharmacy stores across Florida through counter displays and printed pharmacy receipts containing a message about Lock Your Meds. This is the fourth 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. 

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Topics: prescription drug abuse, lock your meds, prevention, publix, drug prevention

From The Front Lines: Signs & Solutions For Childhood Stress

Posted by David Vittoria, MSW, CAP, CPP, ICADC, NCAC II, Assistant Vice President, South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center on November 21, 2015 at 1:22 PM

The holidays are a great time to take a step back, unplug and check in with our children to see how they are navigating life’s challenges and managing stress. Stress is a normal human condition. It’s our body’s way of dealing with any kind of demand that is placed on us – big or small, positive or negative, real or perceived. For many of us adults, we have adapted to things like workplace stress and the demands that come with balancing our family, occupational and social lives.

What most of us don’t consider, though, is that children also have to deal with stress; including the pressure to do well in school, achieve their goals in sports and other extracurricular activities, maintain social relationships and strive to meet the real and perceived expectations of their parents, teachers, coaches and friends. Young people, like adults, experience stress. And as is the case with adults, too much of it, not knowing the warning signs, not having support and guidance through life’s ups and downs and not feeling the freedom to talk about stress can lead to some serious consequences.

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Topics: stress, David Vittoria, recovery, prevention

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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