Friday, November 17, 2017

Give Yourself Something to Be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

The seasons are turning from warm summer days to cool crisp mornings and vibrant fall colors. The season for thanksgiving is upon us and this is a time to give thanks for all things important to you.  While there are many things you may be thankful for in your life some may be dealing with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The SAFE Coalition wants to take this opportunity to provide you with resources to assist you in your decision to become free of Drug Addiction.  Keep in mind drug addiction includes addiction to alcohol and tobacco. 

It takes courage and strength to face up to drug addiction. When you’re bogged down in drug abuse and drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your current situation seems.

Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by making lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before. There are many different roads to recovery, but almost all involve bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about making the necessary changes, you’re already on your way. These seven steps will help you on your road.
1.       Decide to make a change: For many people struggling with addiction, the biggest and toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you realize it’s causing problems in your life. Change is never easy.
2.       Explore your treatment options: Once you’ve made the decision to challenge your drug addiction, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. Options can be found online, by talking to your doctor or calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
3.       Reach out for support: Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having a solid support system is essential. The more positive influences you have in your life, the better your chances for recovery. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t easy, but with people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, it’s a little less tough.
4.       Learn healthy ways to cope with stress: Even once you’ve recovered from drug addiction, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, and to remain sober in the long term, you’ll need to resolve these underlying issues as well.
5.       Keep triggers and cravings in check: While getting sober from drugs is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of the recovery process. Once sober, the brain needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while addicted. During this time, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use.
6.       Build a meaningful drug free life: You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. It’s important to be involved in things that you enjoy and make you feel needed. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.
7.       Don’t let relapse keep you down: Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course.

By taking the above steps to become free of addiction next thanksgiving you could be giving thanks for a sober life.

Information provided by Helpguide. Additional information can be found on their website at www.helpguide.org. If you would like additional local assistance you may contact the SAFE Coalition at info@vbsafecoalition.com, by phone at      319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or online at www.vbsafecoalition.com

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Van Buren County Holds Youth Leadership Training

Leading into the new school year of 2017-2018, the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition hosted the annual youth leadership training on October 23, 2017.  The coalition invited all high school members involved in the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) to attend this training. The ideal reason for this event is to help students that are willing to learn better grasp the ideas of being a leader and become aware of certain health defining situations. This year, YLC numbers have decreased compared to recent years, but there was still a decent group of 12 youth between 9th - 12th grade who attended with an open mind and focused on learning.

Throughout the day the students took part in different activities and discussions such as Leadership Training, Art Activities, Planning and an ISTEP presentation. The Leadership workshop provided the students with an opportunity to get to know one another a little better, to participate in some team building activities, and to have fun while learning the art of leadership. The youth also participated in several activities and discussions and had a couple of guests that took the time to visit during the training.

The first guest was Garin Buttermore from Iowa Department of Public Health.  He did a presentation for the youth on the Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (ISTEP) program that addresses the prevention of youth tobacco use.  This is a state wide youth group that has a council made up of high school and college students that choose their activities for the state.  The council then enlists the help of local youth organizations to do the activities in their areas.  The YLC group in Van Buren County partners with ISTEP in their activities throughout the year.  YLC members are also offered the opportunity to attend the ISTEP Summit in the spring each year.

The second guest was Kelli Keck from Epiphany Community Services. She conducted a focus group discussion about different issues and problems that the students had witnessed and their feelings on these topics. Kelli then provided a training on how to address issues and problems in the community through the strategic prevention framework.  She had the youth split into groups and read various information containing data about drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and even suicide issues in Van Buren County.  Finally, she and the Youth Coordinators helped the youth to develop action plans to address some of these issues in the community. 

Lindsey Starnes, a senior at Van Buren said, “I really enjoyed finding more ways to inform students and members of the community about the harmful effects of using tobacco. I also enjoyed making new friends that share the same goal as me.”

This event is fun for the students each year and provides them with some valuable learning opportunities. They are able to learn public speaking skills, leadership skills, planning skills and how to make a change in their community based on the problems that they have identified! YLC members will be active all year in hopes to spread the word about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco as well as a few health and wellness initiatives …… be watching…… more to come!


For more information on Youth Leadership Council or this training please contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or info@vbsafecoalition.com.





Monday, November 6, 2017

Want to make a difference in Van Buren County?

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is continually looking for volunteers who are interested in making Van Buren County a SAFE place to live.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition came together originally in 1993, after the floods, as a way to get community members together to work on a specific issue.  This group was organized to assist with flood efforts and clean-up after the flood.  The group met sporadically over the next few years.  It was not until December of 2002 that the group became organized.  There were 11 members at the first organized meeting, and the group has now grown to over 60 members. 

The coalition is currently working on strategies to address tobacco prevention, Rx and OTC medication abuse, underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County with Community Partnership Funds, Community Grants, and the Iowa Partnership for Success Funds. This work requires input from all areas of the community. If you are a parent, business owner, concerned citizen, faith based representative, young adult, youth worker, youth, or anyone else who wants to make a difference, the coalition needs you. Your input is valuable and we want to hear from you.

If you are interested in finding out more about the coalition or think that you would like to get involved the coalition would love to have you join! Coalition meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 9:00 am at the VBCH Community Services Center Conference Room in Keosauqua.

Next Meeting:
November 21, 2017
9:00 am
VBCH Community Services Center Conference Room

If you are interested in joining but not able to attend the meeting, please contact us at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.com and you can be added to our member list.

Check us out on the web for more information: www.vbsafecoalition.com or on Facebook at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

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 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 the 2016-17 Fiscal Year the coalition is continuing to build capacity and address the five strategies it was funded to work on as follows:  
1)     Alcohol Restrictions at Community Events at Privately Owned Facilities: The coalition has begun working with privately owned facilities to help them implement alcohol policies focused on the best practices for alcohol service at their location.  Four facilities have established a “No Alcohol Allowed” policy.  The coalition is working with two other facilities to develop written alcohol restriction policies and is in contact with three other facilities about whether or not they would like to develop policies for their facilities. 
2)     Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places: The coalition researched what alcohol restriction policies are being followed in each town and the county.  Coalition members visited with each city council in July to present them with information on policies they could use in their town that would address the availability of alcohol to youth in public places, such as public parks and community ball fields.  Coalition members will be visiting with the city councils in January to find out if they are interested in implementing alcohol restriction policies for their public places.  
3)     Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Youth: The coalition is working with the Van Buren Community School District to implement the Life Skills Training Program in the 7th and 8th grades.  This program is a groundbreaking substance abuse and violence prevention program based on more than 30 years of rigorous scientific research. During the 2017-18 school year the 7th grade students will be completing Level I of the curriculum and the 8th grade students will be completing Level II as the curriculum builds upon itself.  The first group of 7th grade students began the class in September and will complete it on October 4th.  The next group of 7th grade students will begin the class on October 5th. 
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 the billboard in Keosauqua; posters in the Van Buren County Hospital & Clinics; posters and screensavers at local libraries; posters, electronic billboard ads, and computer backgrounds at the Van Buren Community Middle/High School; posters at the Lacey Keosauqua State Park; and posters in local convenience stores. 
5)     Social Host Ordinance: A Social Host Ordinance would address the problem of adults knowingly providing a place for an underage drinking party.  The coalition currently is working to educate community members and government officials on why this ordinance would be helpful in Van Buren County. 


For more information on the Van Buren County IPFS Project or to join the coalition and its work please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Rx Take Back Day - October 28, 2017 - Van Buren County Sheriff's Office Lobby


On Halloween, and Every Day, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving - The SAFE Coalition Reminds Halloween Partiers Against Drinking and Driving

This Halloween, the SAFE Coalition is reminding Halloween partiers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If your Halloween party involves alcohol then you have to make a plan to get home without getting behind the wheel.

If you want to stay safe this Halloween then make a plan to get home without driving if you’ve been drinking. Even one drink impairs judgement, so plan to get home with a designated a sober drive. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so think ahead to stay safe.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31st – 5:59 a.m. November 1st) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. On Halloween Night alone 119 people lost their lives over that same period. Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Even if you drive drunk and aren’t killed or seriously injured you could end up paying as much as $10,000 for a DUI.

Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so follow these simple tips to stay safe:

·         Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgement, as well as reaction time. If you’re drunk you’re more like to choose to drive drunk.
·         Designate a sober driver or a call a sober friend or family member to get home. 
·         Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
·         If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement when it is safe to do so.
·         If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

For more information, please visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office taking back unwanted prescription drugs October 28, 2017 at the Sheriff’s Office

On Saturday, October 28, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its 14th opportunity in 7 years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your pills for disposal to the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at 907 Broad Street, Keosauqua, IA 52565.  The DEA cannot accept liquids, needles/sharps, or inhalers, only pills or patches.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last April Americans turned in 450 tons (900,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at almost 5,500 sites operated by the DEA and more than 4,200 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  Overall, in its 13 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 8.1 million pounds—more than 4,050 tons—of pills.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the October 28th Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website or contact the SAFE Coalition at info@vbsafecoalition.com or 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or contact the Sheriff’s Office at             319-293-3426.