Monday, March 25, 2013

April is Alcohol Awareness Month- Have you Talked to Your Teen? How to talk to your Teen about Drugs and Alcohol.

Talking to your teen about alcohol can be complicated and awkward. You don’t want to offend them, but you want them to know you care. With a few quick tips, speaking with your teen about drugs and alcohol can go more smoothly.

You should learn as much as you can about what to look for when you suspect drug/alcohol use.

Here are some signs and symptoms of teen drinking/drug use:
·        Changes in friends
·        Negative changes in schoolwork, missing school, or declining grades
·        Increased secrecy about possessions or activities
·        Use of incense, room deodorant, or perfume to hide smoke or chemical odors
·        Subtle changes in conversations with friends, i.e. more secretive, using “coded” language
·        Change in clothing choices: new fascination with clothes that highlight drug use
·        Increase in borrowing money
·        Evidence of drug paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, etc.
·        Evidence of use of inhalant products (such as hairspray, nail polish, correction fluid, common household products); Rags and paper bags are sometimes used as accessories
·        Bottles of eye drops, which may be used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
·        New use of mouthwash or breath mints to mask alcohol on breath
·        Missing prescription drugs

Whether or not you notice any of the above signs, it is still important to talk to your teen about substance abuse.  It is important for your kids to be educated about alcohol and drugs by you; they need to know that teen drug and alcohol use is not condoned by your family. Most of all, they need to be held accountable for their actions.

Here are some simple steps to follow in order for a conversation to go more smoothly with your teen:
·         Make a plan. Prepare yourself beforehand by knowing exactly what you want to say to your teen.
·         Present the facts. Presenting cold, hard facts can be the biggest eye-opener for teens when it comes to substance abuse.
·         Listen. Let your teen say what he/she needs to say. Be sure to listen carefully to their take on the issue.
·         Discuss. Talk about the shared information, consequences, and risks of substance abuse.
·         Set rules. Firmly and warmly make it very clear that you will not tolerate drug or alcohol use by your teen. Identify the consequences if they do use

Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating a safe, drug-free environment for your child.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for a prevention program for parents that will soon be offered in Van Buren County. 

For more information on any of the topics discussed in this article visit or for more information you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or online at

Friday, March 15, 2013

Harmony After Prom Fundraising Fish Fry/Auction

Harmony After Prom Fundraiser

March 30th, 2013

Farmington Legion 

5:00 pm Fish Fry: Fish, Baked Beans and Potato Salad!
7:00 pm Auction: Pies by Laura, Baked Goods, Gift Baskets, Bird Feeders and More! 

Auction items still needed!!!

Please Contact Lola Marsh: 319-878-4124 or

Do you want a SAFE community?

It’s not just about drugs! The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is always looking for volunteers who are interested in making Van Buren County a SAFE place to live. They want to ensure that this is a community that is safe in many ways- free of drugs, alcohol and tobacco for youth, safe from violence in our schools and communities, safe from the growing obesity epidemic; we want an all-around safe community. The Coalition’s mission is to stimulate community involvement to promote responsible behaviors among youth and adults, leading to SAFE and healthy communities.

The coalition strives to address the needs of the community in order to make it a safe place for our children to grow and live. In order to stay current with changing times the coalition is online. They have a Facebook page and an up-to-date website for members of the community to get information about the coalition, coalition events and activities, as well as resources for how to talk to your kids about using drugs and alcohol. Check out the website at or like us on Facebook “Van Buren County SAFE Coalition”.

If you are passionate about keeping this community the great place that you have grown to love, we encourage you to join us. Meetings are held on a monthly basis, but meeting attendance is not required you can become a member and receive monthly updates via email and join us for events and projects as your schedule allows. We know everyone is busy and adding one more meeting to your plate may not work for you- but you can still join us!

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. Coalition meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 2:00pm, location changes based on availability.

Next Meeting: March 19th, 2013, 2:00pm, Van Buren Community Services Building (New Building at the Hospital) – Keosauqua.

If you are interested in joining but not able to attend meetings, please contact us at 319-293-6412 or via email at and you can be added to our member list.

Friday, March 8, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Safety

The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau and the Iowa ABD would like to invite you to join us in promoting traffic safety. Nearly 23 percent of traffic fatalities last year in Iowa were attributed to drivers impaired on alcohol or other drugs.

Impaired driving crashes are preventable. Great concepts such as Designated Drivers and Call a Cab programs are innovative approaches to solving this nationwide tragedy. Remember that it is illegal to text while driving. Please help in our quest to protect all Iowans from impaired drivers during the upcoming St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Don’t forget: drive sober or get pulled over and buzzed driving is drunk driving. More information such as printed materials and DVDs are available. Visit or these other impaired driving information websites:, and

Kick Butts Day

What is Kick Butts Day?  Kick Butts Day is March, 20 2013, a day when thousands of youth in every state and around the world stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.  Nearly, 231,000 Iowa kids are exposed to secondhand smoke at home every year.  Secondhand smoke has been classified by the EPA as a Group A Carcinogen- a substance known to cause cancer in humans. 

Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) has a number of activities planned for Kick Butts Day and the week. 

Van Buren High school members will be doing a cigarette butt clean up, posters and locker signs with tobacco facts, a kick ball game and a tobacco-free pledge booth. 

The middle school members will be doing a cigarette butt clean up, presenting at the March Douds Community Club Meeting, and holding a “What’s in a Cigarette” display during lunch.  

Harmony YLC members will be setting up a window display during the week of March 18th in downtown Bonaparte with tobacco facts and bags.  

Just remember that 30 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke can reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood and that there is NO safe amount of exposure to secondhand smoke. 

To learn more about what the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council is working on you can go to

Friday, March 1, 2013

Underage Drinking Prevention Day on the Hill

Faith Murphy & Abby Rider

On Monday, February 25th the Alliance of Coalitions for Change (AC4C), a state-wide collaboration to effect positive change in substance abuse, met with the state legislators to discuss their concerns about underage drinking in Iowa.

Van Buren County YLC members made the trip to the capitol for Day on the Hill. Attending the event were Carson Schuck, Meredith Miller, Abby Rider, Faith Murphy and Cierstyn Welcher. While there they met with Curt Hanson and discussed with him the dangers of underage drinking and how we work to prevent it in our community. “Only The Facts” about underage drinking were provided to Representative Hanson, which was the theme for the day.

Multiple prevention strategies are occurring throughout the state of Iowa, resulting in significant decreases in underage drinking.  Van Buren County is seeing a reduction in youth alcohol use, but major problems still remain:  Iowa still ranks in the top 10 states for underage (age 12-20) binge drinking.

The 2010 Iowa Youth Survey showed 24% of Iowa 11th graders reporting binge drinking in the past 30 days.  This is down from 27% in 2008.  This remains more than one out of every five 11th graders in Iowa that report engaging in binge drinking in the past month. 

We have done some great work across the state and locally over the last 10 years but now is not the time to reduce our efforts, we need to keep working to ensure that youth access to alcohol is at a minimum.

A press conference was held during the event and two of the Van Buren County YLC members, Faith Murphy and Abby Rider, spoke about what we are doing as a group to make our community a safer environment for our youth.  Please view the video below.  Also here is a link to a news article on the KCCI news station's website: 

For more information on the Day on the Hill or YLC activities you may contact the coalition office at 319-293-6412