Thursday, January 17, 2019

Van Buren County IPFS Project Update

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition was awarded the Iowa Partnership for Success (IPFS) Grant in February 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  The coalition began the fifth year of this five year grant on September 30, 2018.  The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition’s IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

During this final year of the IPFS Project the coalition is continuing to build capacity, build sustainability, evaluate the work being done, and implement the five strategies it was funded to work on as follows:  

1) Alcohol Restrictions at Community Events at Privately Owned Facilities: The coalition is working with privately owned facilities to help them write, adopt, and implement alcohol policies focused on the Best Practices for Alcohol Service at their location.  During this year the coalition members will continue to work with three of the ten facilities in Van Buren County to encourage implementation of alcohol restrictions policies.  One facility is in the process of writing their new policy.  Four of the ten facilities have already adopted and implemented new written alcohol restriction policies since 2016.  The coalition would recommend that all facilities in the county put into place a written alcohol restriction policy.  The coalition will also be working with local law enforcement to provide training on how to enforce these new policies. 

2) Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places: Coalition members visited with each city council in 2017 to present them with information on policies they could use that would address the availability of alcohol to youth in public places, such as public parks and community ball fields.  Coalition members visited with the city councils in early 2018 to find out if they are were interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Policies for their public places. Four of the seven towns stated at that time that they are not interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Ordinances.  Another town has written policies for their ball park and city park and will be hanging signs at the ball park that no alcohol is allowed.  One town is allowing the coalition to participate in a community event planning committee that will set policy for their community events and may allow a written alcohol restriction policy through this committee.  One town has committed to writing and implementing a best practices alcohol restriction policy for their community parks by the end of 2018.  The coalition is now working to find ways to work with the towns that have said they are not interested in ordinances.  The coalition will also be working with local law enforcement to provide them with training on how to enforce these new ordinances. 

3) Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Youth: The coalition has worked with the Van Buren Community School District to implement the Botvin Life Skills Training Program in the 7th and 8th grades since the 2016-17 school year.  For the 2018-19 school year the curriculum will be taught by a different teacher so, the coalition and school district with the help of the Decat Board made sure the teacher is trained and ready for the new school year to implement the Life Skills program. In the 2018-19 school year the 7th grade will complete Level I and the 8th grade will complete Level II of the Botvin Life Skills Training Program. 

4) Underage Drinking Prevention Media Campaign: The coalition has worked with local media outlets to implement IDPH’s “What Do You Throw Away” underage drinking prevention media campaign.  It is currently displayed on posters in the Van Buren County Hospital & Clinics; posters at local libraries; on the SAFE Coalition’s Facebook pages, Website, and Blog; and posters and electronic billboard ads at the Van Buren Community Middle/High School. During the summer of 2018 the campaign was also displayed in poster form at local convenience stores, the Keosauqua Pool, and at Lacey Keosauqua State Park.  During the 2017-18 school year the Youth Leadership Council members also helped by placing the media campaign ads on their personal social media accounts to reach their peers with the message.  The coalition will continue to work with local media outlets to ensure youth are exposed to the media campaign. 

5) Social Host Ordinance: A Social Host Ordinance addresses the problem of people knowingly providing a place for underage drinking to happen.  The coalition currently is working to educate community members and government officials on why this ordinance would be helpful in Van Buren County and to build support for the ordinance.  Coalition members are attending community meetings to help educate community members about the ordinance, how to approach local government officials to encourage support for the ordinance and to allow for discussion on the need for such policies in Van Buren County.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Childrens Mental Health & Wellbeing Collaborative Meeting Invitation

The Children's Mental Health & Wellbeing Collaborative will be meeting in Van Buren County on Thursday, March 14th and we would like to invite you to a lunch and learn that day about what we are doing.  Please register here if you plan to attend:


Group joins teens across the U.S. in week-long effort to SHATTER THE MYTHS ®on drugs and alcohol

Teenagers from the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW). The week-long health observance, organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, takes place Tuesday, January 22 through Monday, January 28. NDAFW celebrates the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a space (virtual or physical) to ask questions about drugs and alcohol and to get scientific answers from experts. As part of the NDAFW celebration, the YLC students are promoting the NDAFW IQ Challenge, are hosting a Lunch and Learn Table on January 24th at the Van Buren Community Middle/High School, will have vaping, tobacco, alcohol and other drug facts on popcorn bags and sporting events that week, and will have a presentation by a prevention specialist on The Brain and Addiction for the 7th & 8th Grade students at the Van Buren Community Middle School on January 25th.

More than half of high school seniors across the country report using alcohol, and about 14.3 percent report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year.  While drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, many teens are not aware of the risks. Even for those teens who do not abuse drugs, many have friends or family who do, and they are often looking for ways to help them. 

On the 2016 Iowa Youth Survey youth in Van Buren County reported the following facts on substance abuse in Van Buren County:
·         17% of 11th Graders reported having 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row on at least one day in the past 30 days.
·         27% of 11th graders reported having had at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days.
·         45% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for kids under 21 to get alcoholic beverages in their community.  The 11th grade students had 83% report it is easy or very easy for kids under 21 to get alcoholic beverages in their community. 
·         11th graders reported that during the past year they got alcohol from the following sources: 3% Bought it, 7% Gave someone money to buy it, 18% Got it at a party, 13% A friend who is under 21 gave it to them, 10% A friend who is over 21 gave it to them, and 10% Got it from a parent
·         40% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for kids under 18 to get cigarettes in their community. 
·         27% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for a kid their age to get marijuana in their community.

We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse, alcohol, and addiction. There are so many myths about drugs and alcohol cluttering our popular culture. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® is for teens to get honest answers about drugs so they can make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.

For more information on ND&AFW, YLC or the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition staff members at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or or check out the coalition blog, or on Facebook at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council.

Friday, January 4, 2019


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will be completing an audit of all Van Buren County Licensees. When it has been completed the coalition staff will send you a copy of who is or is not trained at your business.  Coalition members are available to meet with business owners/managers to help you with your business and any questions you may have in regard to licensing rules and training your staff.  In order for a local business to be eligible to eliminate administrative sanctions on a local compliance check the employees must have a current certification with the coalition from the free Merchant Alcohol Training. In order to eliminate administrative sanctions on a state patrol compliance check your employees must be trained through I-PACT the ABD online training system.

The 3 Step Employee Training Process that the coalition encourages merchants to follow for trainings is as follows:
1. Orientation DVD: Checking ID’s– Easy as 1-2-3
2. SAFE Merchant Alcohol Training Program
3. I-PACT Online Training Program– Iowa ABD

The SAFE Coalition will be holding merchant alcohol trainings during the month of January on the 23rd at 6:00 pm and the 24th at 9:00 am at the Roberts Building Conference Room in Keosauqua. The trainings in 2018 will be held every other month unless a business is in need of a personal training and those can be set up through the coalition by calling 319-293-3334 ext. 1017.

If you have employees who need to be re-trained or who have never been trained plan to get them to a training as soon as possible. If you are unsure of the status of your employees you may contact the coalition office. If you would like to set up a private training for your business please contact Kris at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017. If you have other questions or concerns the coalition can be reached via email at or by phone at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017. RSVP is required for all trainings.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Make Your New Year’s Resolution to be Tobacco-Free in 2019!

Tobacco use is the most common preventable cause of death. About half of the people who don't quit

smoking will die of smoking-related problems. Quitting smoking is important for your health and provides many benefits. Soon after you quit your circulation begins to improve and your blood pressure starts to return to normal. Your sense of smell and taste return and breathing starts to become easier. In the long term, giving up tobacco can help you live longer. Your risk of getting cancer decreases with each year you stay smoke-free.

There are many ways to quit smoking. There are also resources to help you. Family members, friends, and co-workers may be supportive. But to be successful, you must really want to quit.
Most people who have quit smoking were unsuccessful at least once in the past. Try not to view past attempts to quit as failures. See them as learning experiences. It is hard to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco. But anyone can do it.
Use these ideas to help you stay committed to quitting:

·         Avoid temptation. Stay away from people and places that tempt you to smoke. Later on you’ll be able to handle these with more confidence.
·         Change your habits. Switch to juices or water instead of alcohol or coffee. Take a different route to work. Take a brisk walk instead of a coffee break.
·         Choose other things for your mouth: Use substitutes you can put in your mouth such as sugarless gum or hard candy, raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, or sunflower seeds.
·         Get active with your hands: Do something to reduce your stress. Exercise or do something that keeps your hands busy, such as needlework or woodworking.
·         Breathe deeply: When you were smoking, you breathed deeply as you inhaled the smoke. When the urge strikes now, breathe deeply and picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.
·         Delay: If you feel that you are about to light up, hold off. Tell yourself you must wait at least 10 minutes. Often this simple trick will allow you to move beyond the strong urge to smoke.

Reward yourself. What you’re doing is not easy, so you deserve a reward. Put the money you would have spent on tobacco in a jar every day and then buy yourself a weekly treat or save the money for a major purchase.

Quitline Iowa has trained coaches that are here to listen and give you the support you need.  The Quitline Iowa coach will help you set a quit date and create a quit plan that works for you!
You may also refer a friend, a student, or family member to this service.

Quitline Iowa: 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669)

How Are You Getting Home this New Year’s Eve? We Urge Drivers: Make a Sober Plan

Drunk driving has become a national epidemic. Each year, drunk-driving crashes kill more than 10,000 people in America. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and SAFE Coalition are working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this holiday season, to reach out to all drivers with an important message about this deadly, preventable crime because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

Let’s say you go to a New Year’s party, you stay a few hours and have a few drinks. When it’s time to go, you think to yourself, “I’m fine to drive. I’ve only had a few drinks, and I barely feel buzzed.” You get in your car and drive toward home.  This act places you at risk of facing the consequences of drunk driving.  Buzzed driving places you and others on the road in danger of a crash; or worse, death.   Designate a sober driver.

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too realistic. Many people wrongly believe there’s a magic number of drinks or hours that determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).  But it’s different for every person. Many factors go into the effect alcohol has on your body. Everywhere in our country, it’s illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. A major misconception is that you have to be stumbling around drunk to be over that limit. For many people, it doesn’t take much alcohol to be too impaired for driving. NHTSA and the SAFE Coalition are hoping to change the way people think about drinking and driving, and help everyone realize that there’s no safe amount of alcohol for any driver.

Drivers convicted of DUI have many excuses, but the reality they all have in common is this: they didn’t plan ahead.  Designating a sober driver ahead of time is the only fool-proof way to avoid the dangers of drunk driving. If you wait until you’ve been drinking to gauge your level of impairment, it’s already too late.  You might tell yourself and others that you’re “okay to drive” when you’re not. Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time enough to cause you to overestimate your own abilities as a driver.

So next time you’re going to drink, do us all a favor and make a plan. Some simple ideas: leave your keys at home or give them to a friend; designate a sober driver who isn’t drinking at all; tell others your intentions about driving and stick to the plan; and most importantly—once you’ve had anything to drink, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so make the choice: are you drinking tonight or are you driving?

Drunk driving is never the right choice, no matter what. Even if you didn’t plan ahead, there’s always another way home. You could call a friend or family member to pick you up; and if you’re worried about leaving your car somewhere overnight, think about the alternative: a DUI costs about $10,000.
Please remember to stay safe by driving sober or by designating a sober driver this New Year’s Eve.

YLC Members Help Decorate the Community for the Holidays

It is an annual tradition that the Youth Leadership Council Members assist with decorating the community for Christmas. The YLC members feel this is an important activity that they enjoy being a part of each year. They were able to help complete the decorating this year by participating in the Festival of Trees.

YLC members are involved in decorating a tree for the Festival of Trees each year. This is an exciting project because the members know that the proceeds from their tree go toward a local charity to help those in need in our community. The students collect decorations throughout the year to complete the look of their tree. This year they had a “Caroler” theme and adorned their tree with red and silver ornaments with a hat and scarf, they hope that their tree brought in quite a bit of money to help with the Christmas for Kids Project.  The YLC members who assisted with the festival of trees project this year were: Shelbie Frey and Rose Rankin.   
For more information on YLC activities you may contact the SAFE Coalition at                319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or