Informed Families Catalyst

A Life Changing Event

Posted by Informed Families on February 29, 2020 at 9:00 AM

A small girl at Redland Middle School waited patiently for the other students surrounding filmmaker Erahm Christopher to leave so she could ask one question: What is the time of tonight’s screening?  I really want my Mom to come and see the film.

Informed Families partnered with Mr. Christopher to host a screening of his film LISTEN at Redland Middle School on February 6, 2020.  Themes covered in the film include bullying, cyber bullying, racism, gang violence and suicide.  Following the screening, students had a chance ask Mr. Christopher questions and voice their thoughts and feelings about the issues featured in the film. The response was overwhelming.

According to Soraya Herran, a guidance counselor at Redland Middle School, the next day “the students couldn’t stop talking about the film and discussion they had participated in.”

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Topics: communication, teenagers, middle school, teens, Peggy Sapp, drugs, drug use, mental health, suicide, Erahm Christopher

Florida Middle Schools: Is It Too Soon to Talk About Drugs?

Posted by Informed Families on March 15, 2017 at 8:00 AM

Middle school is a wonderful, crazy and confusing time for kids. Their hormones begin to kick into high gear, they are becoming more self-aware and independent, and they begin to feel more like adults and less like children. Indeed, the “middle” in middle school is appropriate—these kids are not quite ready for high school, and in many ways, still behave like tweens.

This is exactly why middle school is not too soon to talk to your students about drugs; in fact, many prevention professionals would tell you to start talking much earlier. In an effort to act older, students may engage in riskier behavior, like trying drugs and alcohol, but as younger teens (as may also be true for older teens), they might not be equipped to understand the consequences of their choices. Florida middle schools cannot be shy or naively believe, “Oh, these kids are too young for this kind of talk.” The reality is, they aren’t too young—this is a perfect time to spread the message about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Here are some important points for educators to keep in mind as they do:

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Topics: tips for talking with your kids about drugs, drugs

Parent Resource Center: How to Talk to Your Kids About Drugs

Posted by Informed Families on February 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Plenty of information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is available from parent resource centers on the Internet. These online outlets are valuable for parents who want to learn more and talk with their kids about drugs. However, the actual conversation might be more difficult for parents than the research.

Most parents realize the importance of setting clear expectations and voicing strong disapproval of drug and alcohol use. For example, one survey discovered that 89 percent of parents believe they are the  leading influence on whether or not their kids drink. This is an awesome responsibility, to be sure, and one that can be daunting for parents not sure how to start the conversation.

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Topics: drugs, parents

Adderall Use vs. Adderall Abuse: Know the Signs

Posted by Informed Families on February 1, 2017 at 3:30 PM

Per 2012 numbers from the CDC, an estimated 6.4 million people in the United States have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Within this statistic, about 3.5 million children are taking some sort of medication, including Adderall, for the condition. According to the New York Times, the legal sale of prescription stimulants soared to $9 billion in 2012, more than a four-fold increase in just a decade. ADHD is a big business and more pills are available to patients than ever.

Unfortunately, many of those pills end up in the hands of teenagers who aren’t suffering from ADHD. Adderall abuse, normally associated with college students, is becoming a bigger problem with teens who are misusing the drug in an attempt to help with studying or simply for a recreational high. And because Adderall is so commonly prescribed, many students have learned how to work the system to obtain a script from their doctors.

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Topics: prescription drugs, drugs

Teen Drug Statistics: What Could Amendment 2 Mean for You?

Posted by Informed Families on January 27, 2017 at 8:00 AM

On Election Day last November, the presidential race wasn’t the only result to make news in Florida. Voters in our state approved Amendment 2, which expanded the sale and distribution of medical marijuana. The measure, which is now part of the Florida constitution, required a 60 percent vote to pass and received a 71 percent tally—nearly three-quarters of ballots cast. The amendment went into effect Jan. 3, although state health officials are still in the process of cementing rules regulating the cannabis industry.

Confusion remains about what Amendment 2 entails and what it will mean for Florida. Other states have medical marijuana laws, ranging from strict to lenient on how cannabis is prescribed and obtained. One thing is clear from the other states’ leads: Medicinal marijuana, though arguably a benefit to sick patients, negatively impacts teen drug statistics. Although Amendment 2 overwhelmingly passed, how the law will affect Florida families is currently uncertain.

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Topics: marijuana, lock your meds, drugs

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: Teacher Tools

Posted by Informed Families on January 23, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Here’s a disconcerting fact about teenage substance abuse: About 77 percent of adolescents do not perceive any risk from smoking marijuana once a month. And here’s a more positive fact: Teens who think their parents would disapprove of drug use are less likely to use.

Plenty of information pertaining to teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use is available, but unfortunately, many teachers, parents and kids themselves are unaware of these facts. Furthermore, myths persist, such as the idea that underage drinking and marijuana use in teens isn’t dangerous. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), aims to not just raise awareness, but also provide teachers, students, families and communities with the information they need to keep teens safe.

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Topics: lock your meds, drugs

New Year: New Opportunity to Support Student Success

Posted by Informed Families on December 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM

According to the CDC, Florida experienced a 22.7 percent increase in overdose deaths between 2014 and 2015, which was the seventh-highest jump nationally. No numbers are yet available for 2016, but make no mistake: Drugs remain a huge problem in our state, especially when it comes to teenage use. For all the good news about declining drug and alcohol use by teens, there is still much work to do in 2017 and beyond.

That said, a new year should always be cause for optimism—a fresh start with a fresh calendar. And 2017 will provide plenty of opportunities for teachers to band together with parents, students and administrators to support student success. Here are some ways to do so:

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Topics: drugs

How Much of a Problem Are Drugs in Schools Today?

Posted by Informed Families on December 21, 2016 at 6:00 AM

The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently published its latest version of its Monitoring the Future survey, and the results are reason to cheer. The impressive findings: Past-year illicit drug use, other than marijuana, declined to its lowest levels in the 25-year history of the report—5.4 percent among eighth-graders, 9.8 percent among 10th-graders, and 14.3 percent among 12th-graders. Alcohol, nicotine, opioid, and synthetic drug numbers also dropped, as did marijuana use among eighth- and 10th-graders.

Despite the promising numbers, drugs are still a concern in schools today. Any drug and alcohol usage by students should be a cause for concern for principals and superintendents because the safety and future of teens remain at risk. The problem of drugs in schools isn’t going away; here are some reasons why:

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Topics: drugs

Adderall Abuse in Florida High Schools

Posted by Informed Families on December 15, 2016 at 6:00 AM

Adderall abuse continues to be a problem with young people. The drug, usually prescribed to counter ADHD in children, is often used by non-ADHD patients to help them study better. And though it is usually associated with college students, Adderall is becoming more of a concern with teenagers, including kids in Florida high schools. According to a 2015 survey, 7.5 percent of 12th-graders reported misusing the drug in the previous year. Of all prescription drugs, Adderall trailed only general amphetamines at 7.7 percent in the survey and came in higher than Vicodin, OxyContin, Ritalin and steroids.

Unfortunately, many parents aren’t aware of what a serious problem Adderall can be if abused or how prevalent it is in Florida high schools. Here is more information on Adderall abuse:

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Topics: lock your meds, drugs

How Informed Families Is Combatting Drugs in Schools

Posted by Informed Families on November 30, 2016 at 6:00 AM

The effort to reduce alcohol use among teenagers has shown real progress in Florida and around the country. Underage drinking is down, and marijuana and heroin use is holding steady, for now. However, for every victory, another concern seemingly arises to challenge the effort to stop drugs in schools. For example, more people in the U.S. now use prescription painkillers (38 percent) than tobacco products (31 percent). Not every person taking painkillers is necessarily misusing them, but the statistic shows how prevalent they have become, which in turn demonstrates how easily teens can obtain pills and put themselves at risk. In fact, 66% of abused prescription opioids come from friends and family. Additionally, Amendment 2 (medical marijuana) passed in Florida, which means there will be increased availability and likely decreased perception of risk, which leads to increased use.

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Topics: drugs

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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