Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving this Holiday Season

Impaired driving by women is becoming a national safety issue. According to NHTSA research, in 2008 there was an increasing trend among women driving under the influence of alcohol. These increases occurred in certain parts of the nation and highlighted the number of alcohol-impaired female drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 compared to 2007. We know that the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America’s roadways due to an increase in drunk driving.
That is why during the month of December, The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is joining with hundreds of other state and local law enforcement and highway safety officials to get impaired drivers off of the roads, and remind motorists this holiday season that Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
Impaired driving is an issue that cuts across all segments of society and, sadly, the number of arrests of women driving under the influence is on the rise. Whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk of killing yourself or someone else. Don’t ever get behind a wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired.
Following these easy steps, a driver can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road:
    • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
    • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
    • If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get home safely;
    • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
    • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.
During the month of December 2008, 888 people were killed in crashes that involved a driver or motorcycle rider (operator) with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. The consumption of alcohol, drugs and driving just don’t mix. This holiday season; don’t let your year end in an arrest—or even worse, death. The results from drinking and driving can end up deadly no matter how many drinks you’ve had.
For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.com or the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at www.vbsafecoalition.com.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Suggestions for Parents- Part 2

(Continued from last week)
When you’re away from home or out of town
  • Set and communicate rules and standards to be followed in your absence.
  • Do not allow underage youth to have unsupervised parties or gatherings.
  • Remind them of their responsibilities and the consequences of their actions.
  • Have a relative or responsible adult stay at your home during your absence, have your teenager stay with a responsible adult or ask a neighbor to watch the house and stop in while you are gone.
  • If you are concerned that your child might have a party anyway, you can call your local police and ask them to drive by at some point over the time you are gone. Make it a point to tell your child that you have asked the police to do this.
If your teen is attending a party

  • Know where your child will be. Call the parent in charge to verify the occasion and location of the party and ensure there will be adult supervision.

  • Ask how many teens are expected at the party and offer to help supervise or provide refreshments.

  • Make certain that the host will not be serving or allowing alcohol. Ask how they plan to handle the situation if a teen shows up with alcohol or has been drinking.

  • Indicate your expectations to your child and the parent hosting the party that if the teens leave and go somewhere else, you will want to know.

  • Set a curfew for your teen to be home and when they arrive home, have them check in with you.

  • Know how your child is getting to and from the party. Reinforce the message to your teenager that they should never allow someone who has been drinking or using other drugs to drive them anywhere.

  • Assure your child that they can telephone you to be picked up whenever needed.

  • If the activity seems inappropriate, express concern and keep your child home.

Other ideas

  • Get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
  • Find out their policy on alcohol, drug and tobacco use.
  • Remember, it is illegal to serve minors, or to knowingly allow a minor to have alcohol on your property.
  • Encourage alcohol-free and drug-free parties and activities for underage youth.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tips for Parents- Part1

If your teen is giving a party

· Help your teenager plan the party. Make a guest list and invite only a specific number of people.

Have your child pass out or send invitations and try to avoid the “open party” situation.

Don’t send e-mail invitations. They can be forwarded to a large number of people quickly and you lose control of who has this information.

Put your phone number on the invitation and welcome calls from parents.

Set rules ahead of time such as no alcohol, drugs or tobacco. Set a start and end time for the party.

Let attendees know that if they leave, they can’t come back.

Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Plan some activities such as music, games, movies, etc.

Let your neighbors know in advance there will be a party and that you will be there to supervise. Familiarize yourself with the noise ordinance in your area.

Limit the party access to a certain area of the house/property.

Have a plan for dealing with vehicles. Include parking information on your party invitation.

Call parents of any teen who arrives in possession of alcohol or under the influence. If you can’t get in touch with the parents, keep the teen there or call the police if necessary. You can be civilly liable if you know they have been drinking and you let them leave.

Secure all forms of alcohol, firearms and other potentially hazardous items in your home in a safe place.

Familiarize yourself with you community’s noise ordinances.

Make regular and unobtrusive visits to the party area with sensitivity to teens’ needs for privacy and independence.

Invite some other parents to help chaperone if there will be a large number of teenagers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December is Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

This December, during National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month (3D Month), consider what you can do to make injuries and deaths from impaired driving less of a threat.
* According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
* Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.
* Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion a year.

During the holiday season, and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol. Following these tips from NHTSA can help you stay safe:
· Plan ahead. Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.

· Take the keys. Do not let a friend drive if they are impaired.

· Be a helpful host. If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, always offer alcohol-free beverages, and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Did you attend Parent/Teacher Conferences? Thank you!

On behalf of the Van Buren SAFE Coalition We’d like to commend you for taking the time to attend Parent-Teacher Conferences last week at your son or daughter’s school. Being involved in your adolescent’s educational upbringing is just as important when they’re in middle school and high school as it is when they are younger. While we rely more on them to communicate with us as they get older about the happenings at school, it’s through discussions with their teachers that we get a better understanding of not just their grades but how they interact in the classroom, which can clue you in to other issues your son or daughter may be dealing with in their school setting.

Everyone is busy. Everyone has other things to do. It can be hard to find the time to get to conferences, but the message you send your child by attending is invaluable! Their education is important and taking an active role shows you care. Studies show that parents are the most influential person in a teen’s life. Having a good relationship with your adolescent will go a long way in helping them navigate the tough decisions they face and the challenges they must endure in the process of growing up. So again, pat yourself on the back for supporting your child by attending conferences. It really is the little things that add up to make the biggest difference.

If you would like any information concerning various issues your children will face in light of their middle school and high school years please feel free to contact the VB SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412. If we don’t have what you are looking for, we certainly can point you in the direction of those you may have what you need. Thanks again!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great American Smokeout

Today is the Great American Smokeout, a day designated by the American Cancer Society to urge people to quit tobacco use for the day or for good.

People who quit smoking live longer than those who continue to smoke. Smokers who quit substantially reduce their risk of premature death. Join the Great American Smokeout today! The argument that it is never to late to wuit smoke because the damage is already done is untrue.

For assistance in quitting smoking contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 of Quitline Iowa at 1-800-quit-now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Home Pledges

Home Pledges will be mailed to parents/guardians starting this week. The pledges may also be viewed online at www.vbsafecoalition.com. Click on View a 2009/2010 SAFE Home Pledge in the middle of the page. You may also view a SAFE Home Pledge here.
If you have questions about the home pledge please feel free to contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prepare for the next coalition meeting

Coalition and Community Members:
The November working session is quickly appraoching. In order to make the most effective use of our time during this meeting there are a couple of things you can do to prepare for the meeting.

We will be discussing the final two local coniditions on our logic model:
- School staff turn a blind eye when they hear about parties and alcohol use.
- Parents allowing drinking to happen in their homes.
A copy of the logic model may be found here: Logic Model

Coalition members need to come up with interventions that fall into the 7 strategies for affecting change- focusing heavily on strategies 4-7.
Seven Strategies for Affecting Change:
1. Provide information
2. Enhance Skills
3. Provide Support
4. Reducing Access/Enhancing Barriers
5. Changing Consequences
6. Changing Physical Design
7. Change Policies

These will be entered into the stratgic and action plan which can be found here: SAFE Coalition Strategic and Action Plan

Please take some time to review these two documents and brainstorm some ideas for strategies that the coalition could implement around these two local conditions to affect change in our community.

If you have questions about this process please feel free to contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412.

Thank you for your continued support of the coalition!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Merchant Training

Dont forget the County Wide Merchant Training this week.
Location: Roberts Memorial Center
Date: October 28th
Time: 9am or 6pm

Does your business sell alcohol?

Do you have employees who need to be properly trained on how to check Id’s?

If you answered yes to these questions this training is for you! If your business has not been trained- it should be! This training will help your employees to understand the laws associated with alcohol sales, as well as the consequences for selling to a minor. This training will help protect your business!

This is a FREE training available to any businesses in Van Buren County, it will teach employees the proper procedures for checking an id, how to spot a fake id, and how to deal with intoxicated customers- new information added to the training- is information on energy drinks containing alcohol, information about laws, and new research.

At the conclusion of the training, free materials are provided for the business to keep on site. These materials included:
· Laminated reference sheets with recent laws and facts about the consequences of selling to minors
· Information on how to properly ID a customer
· Examples of what a proper ID looks like
· A copy of the presentation to keep on hand in order to train future employees
· Door and window stickers reminding patrons that they will be carded

If your business is interested in this training but can not attend on this date, please contact the SAFE coalition to schedule a training date/time that will work for your employees. We want every business in the county to be trained!

Contact 319-288-0912 to RSVP or set up a training!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Natural High 4 Video Available through the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.

Through the words, actions and right choices made by some of today’s top professional athletes and musicians, Nixon and Natural High distributed the highly anticipated film “Natural High 4”, to every middle school in the country this September. Natural High 4, produced by Jon Sundt, features interviews with sober icons such as Paul Rodriguez Jr., Lisa Leslie, and Timmy Curran who enthusiastically share their decision to say “no” to drugs and alcohol and “yes” to a passion that got them naturally high.

Paul Rodriguez Jr., professional skateboarder and X-Games gold medalist tells kids in Natural High 4, “My natural high is skateboarding. Whatever it is you do, just accomplishing something after trying it for weeks, months, days, hours, and finally you land a trick, and finally you’re rolling away, it’s just amazing. It’s literally a buzz.” The goal of Paul and the rest of the athletes and musicians in Natural High 4 is to encourage kids to find that natural high, or passion that makes them feel good inside and can take the place of what drugs and alcohol fill in many other’s lives.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has a copy of the video for viewing if anyone is interested in sharing it with a classroom, youth group or any student organization. Please contact 319-293-6412.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Member??.... Become one!

If you are interested in making Van Buren County a SAFE place to live- We need you.
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is continually looking for members who have a passion to keep kids in the community SAFE and free of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

If you are interested in becoming a part of this dynamic group we encourage you to join us. You may become a member in the following ways:
1) Fill out a new member form on the coalition website at www.vbsafecoalition.com
2) Attend a monthly meeting- held on the second tuesday of the month at 2pm at the Roberts Bldg.
3) Call the coalition office at 319-293-6412

The coalition is always in need of parents who can provide their perspective on these issues!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Iowa Youth Survey Has Arrived

The Iowa youth Survey is being administered this week at the Van Buren Community High School and will be administered next week at the Van Buren Middle School.

The Iowa Youth Survey is administered this year to all students in grades 6-12. The purpose of the survey is to collect information about Iowa youth, so we can better understand their beliefs, values and decisions about what makes them feel secure, strong, and safe in their communities, schools, and families. In addition, information is collected about their ideas on alcohol, tobacco, drugs, bullying and harassment, and violence prevention. The information collected will help the school, local community task forces, and the state put together valuable future programming. It is important to ask children to tell us what is good and working about their life in Iowa, and what needs improvement, in their eyes.

All participants are encouraged to be truthful when completing the survey as the results are used to get a good clear picture of the youth in the community. If you have questions about the Iowa Youth Survey please feel free to contact the school office.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Parental Attitude Key to Healthier Drinking Habits

UNLESS parents adopt a zero tolerance policy towards underage drinking, their children are more likely to develop unhealthy drinking habits, a leading US psychologist has said.

James Bray, president of the American Psychological Association, said a four-year survey of adolescent drinking habits in the US had demonstrated that parental attitudes were fundamental to shaping the drinking habits of their children.

Dr Bray told The Australian after delivering the keynote address to the Australian Psychological Association's national conference in Darwin that when adolescents believed their parents were strongly against them using alcohol, they were least likely to use and abuse alcohol.

He said the likelihood of adolescents experimenting with alcohol began to increase even if parents had a mildly more permissive attitude.

His research showed that the children of parents who took a zero tolerance approach to underage drinking were more inclined to socialize with friends and peers who also consumed less alcohol.

The Texas-based psychologist has simultaneously conducted two surveys through Houston's Baylor College of Medicine examining the drinking habits of American adolescents -- one of 1000 aged 11 to 15; the other of 4000 aged 16 to 18.

The research showed that while peer influence was important in shaping adolescents' attitudes to alcohol, the role of family contact and good family relationships could be even more crucial.
"Parents who monitor children's behavior tend to have kids who drink less," Dr Bray said. "That involves keeping up with where they are at, and who their friends are."

But he said parents also needed to foster the independence, autonomy and self-confidence of their children to make them less inclined to develop a problematic relationship with alcohol.

He said his research had confirmed that if parents were over-protective of their children and did not cultivate their adolescents' independence, those teenagers were at risk of rebellion.
"When they rebel, they tend to turn to friends and peers that drink more, and ultimately drink more themselves," he said.

Dr Bray commended the focus the Australian government has given to binge drinking.

He said societal attitudes could be successfully changed through public campaigns highlighting the risks of underage drinking.

Reprinted from The Australian, October 1, 2009- Laura Wilson

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prevention Saves Money

Preventing substance use/abuse is cost effective:
o Every dollar invested in research based substance use/abuse prevention programs, strategies and activities have the potential to save up to $7 in areas such as substance abuse treatment and criminal justice system costs.

Preventing substance use/abuse saves lives:
o Alcohol abuse kills approximately 100,000 Americans every year, and is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.
o Alcohol-involved crashes resulted in 16,792 fatalities, 513,000 nonfatal injuries, and $50.9 billion in economic costs in 2000, accounting for 22 percent of all crash costs.
o Drugs are used by approximately 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in crashes, often in combination with alcohol.
o Drugged driving causes $33 billion in damages every year.

Preventing substance use/abuse reduces related medical consequences:
o Each year approximately 40 million debilitating illnesses or injuries occur among Americans as the result of their use of tobacco, alcohol or illicit drugs.
o The estimated total cost of medical consequences (including hospital and ambulatory care, drug exposed infants; tuberculosis; HIV/AIDS; Hepatitis B and C; crime victim health care costs; and health insurance administration) associated with drug abuse in the United States was $5.7 billion.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Alcohol Merchant Incentive Program.

Alcohol consumption by the youth of Van Buren County is a problem of great concern to the community. According to the Iowa Youth Survey, alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among Van Buren County’s youth. Underage alcohol use is a public health and safety problem in Van Buren County, creating serious personal, social, and economic consequences for adolescents, their families and the community as well.

In 2007 the Surgeon General issued a “Call to Action” to prevent and reduce underage drinking. In it, law enforcement agencies were encouraged to “enforce uniformly and consistently all policies and laws against underage alcohol use”.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, routine, comprehensive compliance checks are the key strategy for deterring commercial alcohol sales to minors.

In an effort to assist businesses in training their employees on the applicable Iowa laws with regard to alcohol sales to minors as well as sales to intoxicated customers, the Van Buren SAFE Coalition provides a Merchant Alcohol Training that is free to all businesses and their employees in Van Buren County. Persons who attend the training learn about a variety of topics, some of which are listed below: * How to spot underage drinkers * Prevent sales to minors * How to recognize the signs of intoxication * How to intervene quickly and effectively in potential problem situations * Skills in handling refusal situations with greater confidence

In order to encourage all alcohol merchants in Van Buren County to have all of their employees trained, an incentive program has been established. The details of the program are as follows:

Businesses can avoid being reported to Alcohol Beverage Division and subjected to an administrative penalty as a result of the compliance check under the following conditions:

A licensee fails a compliance check by one of their employees selling alcohol to an underage person, and the employee who failed the compliance check has a current Merchant Alcohol Training certificate from the Van Buren SAFE Coalition(*).
The violation must be the first offense in a two year time period. The two-year period will begin on the date of the first violation occurring after this program has been established.

(*) Any business wishing to complete an alternative training program must get approval of the training program by the Sheriff’s Department prior to the compliance check. However, it is the business owner/manager’s responsibility to notify Chief Deputy Brad Hudison with the Sheriff’s Department of such trainings prior to the compliance check in order to meet the criteria of this incentive program.

This program will be effective immediately and any persons who have a current Merchant Alcohol Training certificate will meet the criteria of the incentive program. Certificates are valid for two years from the date of training. Anyone wishing to obtain a list of employees with a current certificate should contact Tonja Jirak, STOP Project Director with the Van Buren SAFE Coalition at 319-288-0912.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Parents- Take the Pop Culture Quiz

Parents Pop Culture Quiz
Between the fast-paced world of teen culture and the negative influences that bombard your teen, parenting is a challenging and unpredictable task. How in tune are you with your teen’s world?Test your knowledge with this short quiz.
1) According to urban legend, what do teens think niacin (vitamin B) can be used for?
A Passing drug tests
B Getting rid of “the munchies” from smoking marijuana
C Snorting to get a burst of energy like speed
D Both A and B

2) If your teen were to “ROTFL,” what would she be doing?
A Electronically recording a TV program
B Text-messaging someone about her new boyfriend
C Instant-messaging someone about something really funny
D E-mailing a friend about something confusing

3) Which of the following video game ratings may not be appropriate for your teen?
C E10
D Both A and B

4) If a teen is “leaning,” what might he be doing?
A Snorting heroin and cold medicine
B Getting ready to give someone a kiss
C Drinking cough syrup and soda
D Getting ready to fight

5) What are the most popular inhalants among teens?
A Glue and shoe polish
B Nitrous oxide “whippets”
C Spray paints
D Cleaning fluids

1) D Both A and B
According to urban legend, niacin (vitamin B3) can be taken to cleanse the body of drugs to pass drug tests as well as counteract the intense hunger (commonly called “the munchies”) brought on by marijuana use. In high doses, niacin can cause nausea, vomiting, blood poisoning and liver failure.

2) C Instant-messaging someone about something really funny
ROTFL is instant-messenger and cell phone “text language” for “rolling on the floor laughing.” Text language frequently uses acronyms to shorten longer sentences or phrases.

3) D Both A and B
In the video game rating system, “M” stands for “mature” (aged 17 and older), and “AO” stands for “adults only” (aged 18 and older). Games with these ratings contain content such as violence, gore, and sexual content that may not be suitable for persons younger than 18, respectively.

4) C Drinking cough syrup and soda
“Lean” is an illegal drug concoction of prescription cough syrup containing the painkiller codeine mixed with soda or another sweet beverage.

5) A Glue and shoe polish
Many household products can be abused as inhalants. Among children age 12-17 using inhalants for the first time, glue and shoe polish are the most commonly abused. Chronic abuse of solvents can cause severe, long-term damage to the brain, the liver, and the kidneys; and highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in inhalants can directly induce heart failure and death, a syndrome known as “sudden sniffing death.”

For more information on talking to your teen about these or any other drugs or alcohol visit the anti drug at www.theantidrug.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009




Compared to teens who have not seen their parent(s) drunk, those who have are more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month, and three times likelier to use marijuana and smoke cigarettes, according to the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents, the 14th annual back-to-school survey conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.

“Some Moms’ and Dads’ behavior and attitudes make them parent enablers—parents who send their 12- to 17-year olds a message that it’s okay to smoke, drink, get drunk and use illegal drugs like marijuana,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA’s chairman and founder and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. “Teens’ behavior is strongly associated with their parents’ behavior and expectations, so parents who expect their children to drink and use drugs will have children who drink and use drugs.”

View the entire article

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SAFE Home Pledges Are Back!

Its back to school time again, which means SAFE Home Pledges for the coalition.
The coalition is asking that all parents sign a SAFE Home pledge to ensure that parents:
  • Are present/know about all parties or gatherings in my home.
  • Will not serve nor allow youth under the leagal age to consume/use alcohol, drugs and/or tobacco in their home or on their property.
  • welcome communication with any parent/guardian who observes their student using alcohol or other illegal substances.
  • will communicate with other parent/guardian of any student they personally observe using alcohol or other illegal substances.

After the start of school Directories will be printed and mailed to all parents who sign a pledge. This will allow for communication among parents about risky youth behaviors.

Parents who do not get a pledge signed at registration are able to sign a pledge in other ways:

1. Online- visit www.vbsafecoalition.com- on the front page click on "sign a 2009-2010 SAFE Home Pledge"

2. Call the coalition- 319-293-6412 and they will assist you in getting a pledge signed.

For more information about the pledges or any other coalition activities you may contact them at 319-293-6412 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

At Coalition Academy

Coalition members are attending the final week of the coalition academy.
They will be working on Evaluation, Policy/Advocacy and Sustainability. Upon completion of this week the coalition will be asked to work with all coalition members to finalize the five products for graduation:
1) Community Assessment
2) Logic Model
3) Strategic and Action and Plan
4) Evaluation Plan
5) Sustainability Plan

To get involved in this process plan to attend the August coalition meeting next week.
August 11th
Roberts Memorial Center
Working Meeting
For more information contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Editorial from The Des Moines Register

By: Mike Wellman

I haven't had a drink in over 15 years. Before that I had too many, starting when I was a teenager.I ran a saloon for a long time, too, and sold a lot of booze to a lot of people - sometimes, unavoidably, too much at a time; sometimes, unwittingly, to people too young [although I'll never forget the angry mother who called to complain because her 21-year-old wasn't served at my pub one Thanksgiving Eve].Now I'm a parent of three kids at different stages of passage through the jagged straits of teen society.

I've looked at the issue of underage drinking from a lot of angles over the years. It's still hard to get a clear view of it.But that doesn't stop folks from having and voicing strong opinions when a high-profile attorney who is married to the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court gets caught seemingly hosting a bonfire/cocktail party with an exclusively teenaged guest list.It's not for me to comment on that specific case. Let it run its legal course. But whatever the disposition of all the charges filed in the matter, the nagging question of what to do about teen drinking will remain nagging.

There seems to be a growing school of thought in the parental ranks these days that since drinking is as natural a part of the teenage years as acne, the best that can be achieved is some measure of containment. This attitude results in tactics that amount to appeasement, e.g., providing alcohol at private, chaperoned events and thereby - so the thinking goes - preventing the real bogeymen, drunken driving and/or drugs, from crashing the party.

Both personal and professional experience have taught me that controlled drinking is as mythical as a centaur; equal parts red herring and pink elephant.While it may be impossible for parents to enforce a rule of total abstinence from alcohol by their minor children, it is absolutely within their power to disapprove of underage drinking and refuse to facilitate it. They are also empowered to impose their own consequences, and allow others ranging from hangovers to loss of school privileges to take their toll in reasonable hope of deterring the sort of binge drinking that has always been commonplace among young people - even the vast majority who are not wired to become chronic problem drinkers.

True, forbidden drinking is more likely to be taken to the streets where dangers lurk that aren't present at the backyard fire pit with parents on duty as designated drivers. But when I was a teenager I would rather have been out and about teetotaling with my friends than stuck at home social drinking under parental supervision. Maybe that's changed over the years. Lots of other things certainly have.The parents who provide their kids with kegs and limo rides in celebration of the senior prom are the same ones who started the silliness of graduation ceremonies at the grade-school level and can't see that their prodigies have more gear than game as they charge blindly through the forest of youth sports.

Here's a question for the event planners who recklessly tiptoe through the minefield of chaperoned underage drinking: What makes you think you'll have any more luck teaching kids how to drink than you would teaching them not to do it at all?Odds probably are that our three kids will all succumb to the natural curiosity about alcohol before they're old enough to drink legally without our permission. If/when they do, it will be with their parents' understanding but not with our approval, and certainly not with our cooperation.

There's a reason the fine print on all the alcohol marketing in our culture says "please" drink responsibly. It's because responsible drinking can't be made mandatory, especially for teenagers. Not even yours.

MIKE WELLMAN lives in Des Moines. He is the author of "Far From the Trees: The Troubled Sons of an American Neighborhood." Contact: wellman@mchsi.com • July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SAFE Coalition Partnership Assessment

The SAFE Coalition Partnership Assessment is now online!
Every year the coalition asks its members to take a quick 10-15 minute survey about the work of the coalition and their involvment. The coalition wants to ensure that members are getting something from the partnership as well as feeling like they are making a contribution to the change.

The coalition is asking that all members complete the online survey by August 31st so that results can be tallied and distrubuted in the fall.
The link to the survey is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=NNO89b7cginawmEwDLZV_2bQ_3d_3d

If you would prefer a paper copy of the survey please contact info@vbsafecoalition.com or at the number below.

If you have any questions about the survey feel free to contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Does Your Business Sell Alcohol? Get the Facts!

Does your business sell alcohol? Do you have employees who need to be properly trained on how to check Id’s. If you answered yes to these questions this training is for you! If your business has not been trained- it should be! This training will help your employees to understand the laws associated with alcohol sales, as well as the consequences for selling to a minor. This training will help protect your business!

This is a FREE training available to any businesses in Van Buren County, it will teach employees the proper procedures for checking an id, how to spot a fake id, and how to deal with intoxicated customers- new information added to the training- is information on energy drinks containing alcohol, information about laws, and new research.

At the conclusion of the training, free materials are provided for the business to keep on site. These materials included:
· Laminated reference sheets with recent laws and facts about the consequences of selling to minors
· Information on how to properly ID a customer
· Examples of what a proper ID looks like
· A copy of the presentation to keep on hand in order to train future employees
· Door and window stickers reminding patrons that they will be carded

July Training Information:
Date: July 28th
Time: 10:00am & 6:00pm
Location: Roberts Memorial Center- Keosauqua
RSVP is required for this training; please contact 319-288-0912.

If your business is interested in this training but can not attend on this date, please contact the SAFE coalition to schedule a training date/time that will work for your employees. We want every business in the county to be trained!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 4th Safety

  • Alcohol is a major factor in fatal crashes during the July 4 holiday
  • In 2007, 34 percent of all drivers involved in traffic related crashes during the Fourth of July holiday period (6:00PM TUESDAY JULY 3 TO 5:59 AM THURSDAY JULY 5, 2007) possessed a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
  • During the July 4th holiday period there were a total of 200 traffic related fatalities. Out of that number, 44 percent involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
  • In 2007, 41,059 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Out of that number 12,998 people were killed in traffic crashes that involved at least one driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin, so you can be alive to enjoy the next celebration
  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
  • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
  • If you’re impaired, call a sober friend or family member so you are sure to get home safely;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement.

  • Whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk. Impaired driving has serious consequences.

    · The tragedies and costs from drinking and driving impaired do not just end at the potential death, disfigurement, disability and injury caused by impaired drivers.

    · Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Yet too many people still ignore the law. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report over 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence during 2006.

    · Driving impaired or riding with someone who is impaired is not worth the risk. The consequences are serious and real. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for driving while impaired can be really significant and not the way you want to celebrate the July 4th holiday.

    · People that break the law, often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, and dozens of other unanticipated expenses from attorney fees, other fines and court costs, car towing and repairs, lost time at work, etc.

  • Over the Limit. Under Arrest. This Fourth of July,

    This summer, don’t let your Fourth of July end in an arrest—or even worse, death. Make smart decisions. Plan ahead, so you can assure a safe way home. Whether you’ve had way too many or just one too many, it’s not worth the risk.

    Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Don’t ever get behind a wheel of a vehicle when you are impaired.

    For more information, visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The webinar scheduled for Wednesday, June 24th has been cancelled.
CADCA had some conflicts they were not able to resolved and had to cancel the meeting. At this time the meeting has not been rescheduled. If this should happen I will be in touch with a new date and time.
Thank you so much for agreeing to participate and I apologize for any inconvenince this may cause.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prescription and Over The Counter Drug Abuse

Although teens are turning away from street drugs, now there's a new threat and it's from the family medicine cabinet: The abuse of prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
Parents and caregivers are the first line of defense in addressing this troubling trend.

What's the problem?
Teens are abusing some prescription and over-the-counter drugs to get high. This includes painkillers, such as those drugs prescribed after surgery; depressants, such as sleeping pills or anti-anxiety drugs; and stimulants, such as those drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teens are also abusing over-the-counter drugs, such as cough and cold remedies.
Every day 2,500 youth age 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs.1 Among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice.
Because these drugs are so readily available, and many teens believe they are a safe way to get high, teens who wouldn't otherwise touch illicit drugs might abuse prescription drugs. And not many parents are talking to them about it, even though teens report that parental disapproval is a powerful way to keep them away from drugs.

What are the dangers?
There are serious health risks related to abuse of prescription drugs. A single large dose of prescription or over-the-counter painkillers or depressants can cause breathing difficulty that can lead to death. Stimulant abuse can lead to hostility or paranoia, or the potential for heart system failure or fatal seizures. Even in small doses, depressants and painkillers have subtle effects on motor skills, judgment, and ability to learn.
The abuse of OTC cough and cold remedies can cause blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, coma, and even death. Many teens report mixing prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and alcohol. Using these drugs in combination can cause respiratory failure and death.
Prescription and OTC drug abuse is addictive. Between 1995 and 2005, treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased more than 300 percent.

Is your teen using?
Have you noticed changes in your child's behavior? Or does he or she have friends that you suspect might be abusing prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs? Whatever the reason - don't ignore the issue at this critical time.
The problem is more common than many parents think. More teens are abusing prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs.
And among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drugs of choice.
Teens are abusing a variety of prescription drugs to get high, including painkillers, depressants, and stimulants.
Teens are also abusing over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as cough and cold remedies, to get high.
Steroids are also often abused in efforts to enhance body shape or image.
If you suspect your child is abusing prescription or OTC drugs, the first step is to open the lines of communication. Start by visiting www.theantidrug.com for information about how to talk to your teens about prescription drug use.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Working Meeting This Week

Dont forget- We have a working meeting tomorrow!
Date: June 9th
Time: 2:00pm
Location: Farmington Community Center, Farmington IA

We will be working on the logic model and the strategic and action plan. These documents will the guide the 2010 DFC grant renewal. Please plan to attend as we need input from all coalition and community members.

Meetings are always open the public and we encourage anyone interested in the work we do to join us!

Monday, June 1, 2009

What is a logic model?

A Logic Model is a picture of how a coalition will improve a community problem. It gives the coalition a picture of what the problem is, and exactly what it looks like in their community. The four parts of a logic model include:
  1. Ultimate Outcome or Problem (on the far left)
  2. Root Causes (second column)
  3. Local Conditions (third column)
  4. Data (above and far right)

1. The Problem is the issue the community is addressing and ultimately what they want to change.

2. The Root Cause is the reason that the problem exists.

3. The Local Conditions are what make the root cause unique. It answers the question- Why here? Why is that a problem in our community. They need to be as specific as possible- what exactly does it look like?

4. The data is the information that supports all pieces of the model. These should be three-fold- info from three different sources of data.

An example of the SAFE Coalition's (draft version) Logic Model is shown below. To see a better version of the model- Click Here!

For more information about logic models you can check out CADCA's website or contact the safe coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tobacco Violations

In the spring of 2008, Iowa lawmakers passed legislation to protect employees and the general public from secondhand smoke. The Smokefree Air Act prohibits smoking in almost all public places including enclosed areas within places of employment, as well as some outdoor areas.

The law applies to restaurants, bars, outdoor entertainment venues and amphitheaters. It also covers places of employment such as office buildings, health care facilities, and child care facilities. Smoking is however allowed on the gaming floor of a licensed casino, as well as designated hotel and motel rooms.

If you have witnessed a violation of the smoke-free air act you can submit a complaint. To do so visit the state website at: www.iowasmokefreeair.gov and click on submit a compliant. You can then submit a compliant in confidence, the public domain or anonymously.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Coalition Meeting This Week

The May SAFE Coalition Meeting is tomorrow:

Tuesday, May 19th
Bonaparte Opera House

Topics include:
Coalition Academy
Data Compilation
Training Opportunity- Underage Drinking Conference
Merchant Alcohol Training
Semi-Annual Progress Report

All meetings are opened to the public and anyone interested in coalition initiatives is invited to attend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Underage Drinking Conference

The 2009 National Leadership Conference- or- Underage Drinking conference information is now online! Information may be found at: www.udetc.org. Details are:

Dates: August 13 & 14th
Location: Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center- Dallas, TX
Info: This year’s theme is: "Beyond Boundaries: Timely Trends and Technology". We are offering plenary sessions, workshops, and experiential learning exercises that will provide you with real-life experience, skills, and tools that can be used to enhance both local and more far-reaching efforts. With a focus on new and innovative methods and resources, this year’s Conference offers participants in-depth knowledge that will make a real impact on your efforts to enforce underage drinking laws in your States and communities!

The SAFE Coalition will be taking 3 adults and 2 youth to the conference this year as funding allows. If you are an adult who is interested in attending this conference please contact Heidi at 319-293-6412. If you are a youth interested in attending this conference contact Melissa Daugherty and she will provide you with an application.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Check out our pictures!

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and the VB Co. JEL organizations have been very active over the last few months. Photos from many of the coalition activities can be found on our flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vbcosafe.

Letters from a 5th grader

This week coalition coordinator Heidi Bainbridge will be visiting the 5th grade classrooms in the county. She will be asking each 5th grader to write a letter to a senior asking them to be alcohol-free during graduation season. These 5th graders heard from deputy Tharp just a few short weeks ago so the dangers of alcohol use should still be fresh in their minds.

The letters will be presented to all graduating seniors at their senior awards day. Copies of each students letter will also be kept in a file until they reach graduation age and will be returned to them at that time- to remind them why they should be alcohol free during their own graduation.

For more information on this activity you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412.

Monday, April 27, 2009

We are at the CADCA Coalition Academy

Coalition members are attending week 2 of the CADCA Coalition Academy this week from April 2th thru May 1st. Topics that will be covered are:

1. Designing and Selecting Interventions
2. Strategic and Action Planning
3. Coalition Evaluation
4. Cultral Competency

There will be a recap of the topics in the coming months at coalition meetings and educational sessions. If you would like more information about any of the topics or the academy you may contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.com.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Alcohol Awareness Activities

The JEL/YLC members have been active this month in reminding people of the dangers of underage drinking.

The students held a gear exchange at Van Buren on April 21st and 22nd where students were able to bring in appearal with an Alcohol message and trade it for gear with a Van Buren, Iowa State or Iowa Hawkeye Logo on it. Six shirts were exchanged during this event.

The students also placed a message in the fence with cups at a home track meet- see the photos. Stickers were placed on popcorn bags to reinforce the message that underage drinking is unacceptable and that April is Alcohol Awareness Month.

Students in the Harmony school hung posters with facts and information about the dangers of underage drinking.

The Van Buren students videoed a skit that was broadcast on channel one during seminar period.

All of the activities by the youth reinforce the message that the coalition wants to make loud and clear- that underage drinking in our county is unacceptable!

For more information on any of these events you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412