Thursday, December 18, 2014


Teenagers from the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug Facts Week” (NDFW).  The week-long health observance, organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, takes place Monday, January 26th through Sunday, February 1st.  NDFW celebrates the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a space (virtual or physical) to ask questions about drugs and to get scientific answers from experts.  As part of the NDFW celebration, the Harmony Community Schools YLC students have a variety of     activities planned that will occur in the High School, the Elementary School and the community.  The Van Buren Community Schools YLC students will also be participating and are currently planning their events. 

About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illicit drug sometime in the past year, and more than ten percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller.  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. 

We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction.  There are so many myths about drugs cluttering our popular culture.  National Drug 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.

Van Buren County YLC Members are active all year long working to prevent substance abuse in Van Buren County especially with their peers and younger children.  For more information on YLC please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at  Please also check out the Coalition website at for information on YLC or about how to help prevent substance abuse in Van Buren County.  

How Are You Getting Home this New Year’s Eve? The SAFE Coalition Urges 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 SAFE Coalition is 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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

You Choose: Drink OR Drive - Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

The holiday season is right around the corner. As Americans prepare for festivities with family and friends, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to remind all drivers that it’s dangerous to drive after drinking. You have to choose your role before drinking begins: will you drink or will you drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink and think you’re “okay to drive,” you could still be over the legal limit, because Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

A lot of folks think they know their own limits. They think that if they’re just a little ‘buzzed,’ then they’re still good to drive. This couldn't be further from the truth. Time and again, drivers who may have only had a couple of drinks put themselves and others at serious risk.  Driving with any alcohol in your system can be dangerous.

In every state in the country, it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher. And for some people, it doesn't take much to reach that level. We really want all Van Buren County drivers to understand that you don’t have to be falling-down drunk to be too impaired to drive. That’s why the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is working with NHTSA to spread the message: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

This anti-drunk-driving campaign aims to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking—even after drinking just a little. Drunk driving has become a terrible killer on our nation’s roads. Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2012 alone, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator. On average, a third (31%) of all crash fatalities in America involves drunk driving.  

So this holiday season, NHTSA urges you to plan ahead: designate a sober driver. If you plan on drinking at all, don’t plan on driving. Don’t just assume that you’ll know whether you can safely drive or not at the end of the night.

Van Buren County drivers, please remember these tips to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe: 

Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for         driving drunk or having a crash. 
If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving.  Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party             begins. 
When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a sober friend or family member.
Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.

For more information, visit

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Van Buren County YLC News

Kaylee Stockwell, Mekenzie Rodibaugh,
Sarah Thornsberry and Tempis Rysdam
with the tree they decorated for the
Festival of Trees for the YLC Group 
Chase Murphy, Tristan Sample,
Emily Housh and Makinzie Fields
decorating the tree in the Keosauqua
Park for Christmas for the YLC Group
Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council Members have been busy this holiday season. The students chose to again take part in helping to make the season a little brighter for the community. High school YLC members spent a cold morning decorating the Christmas Tree that is in the Keosauqua City Park. This is a project they look forward to every year as it provides a festive look to the town as visitors approach from the bridge. The members that assisted with the decorating this year were; Tristan Sample, Chase Murphy, Emily Housh and Makinzie Fields. YLC members also decorated a tree for the Lions Club Festival of Trees event. The students like to be able to give back to the community that has provided so much for them and they feel this is one way they can do so. They received donated ornaments and lights for the tree and choose a day to go out and decorate the tree according to the theme. They put a lot of work into the tree so that it looks great and brings a high bid for the auction. The money raised from this event goes to the Christmas for Kids program in Van Buren County and any contribution they can make to support the cause is great! The students who assisted with the tree decorating this year were; Kaylee Stockwell, Mekenzie Rodibaugh, Tempis Rysdam, and Sarah Thornsberry.

YLC members are also working to raise money this year for new YLC t-shirts in order to do this they will be holding a variety of fundraisers throughout the year. The first one they participated in was working at the high school basketball game on December 3rd in the concession stand. The YLC members look forward to getting shirts so they are recognizable in the community as they participate in their project and activities.

YLC members will be gearing up for spring activities soon where they participate in National Drug Facts Week, Kick Butts Day and Alcohol Awareness Month. Be watching for these students out in the community!

For more information on Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council or any of their activities you may contact the office at 319-293-6412 or via email at You can also find out information about YLC on their website: or on Facebook: Van Buren YLC Chapter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Honorable Mention Red Ribbon Week Essay - Dangering Products: Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco By: Kolbie Bass

I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because…

Participating in those activities are very dangerous and could most likely have life changing effects on your body.  Ever thought about that?

Once you get caught you can have people talking about you, is that what you want?  You are too smart to let one night of fun affect your school grades or GPA.  Remember that every time before you go out to party!

We all like sports!  Once you’re caught doing something wrong you can’t take it back.  Would you really want to risk not being able to show your athletic skills?

Woot!  Woot!  You just got a job!  You’re so glad that you now have money to spend.  You were driving while intoxicated though.  What do you think that means?  You will now lose your job.  No more money for you!

Once you can drive don’t EVER get in a car while intoxicated.  You could be risking your life!!! Always remember you can be endangering other people around you.  Don’t ever get in with anybody either if they could have used hurtful products to their body. 

Would you really want to ruin your relationships with friends and family just because you decided to do something wrong?  I know that I wouldn’t.  Once you have done something wrong your friends don’t want to call you their friends.  Always remember that it can reflect on your personality. 

Never give minors alcohol or any hurtful drugs to use.  Not only will you get in trouble for giving it to them, but they will get in trouble for using dangerous products.  You will suffer the consequences.  Don’t think that you can get out of it. 

Listen up guys!!! This is nothing to blow off or think that it’s not important!  You can be risking your life.  Never use hurtful products such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  Take it seriously!!!

Fact # 1 = 22 million Americans use illegal drugs
Fact # 2 = 9% or US population uses illegal drugs
Men tend to drink the most.
Younger men 18-49 are the heaviest drinkers of any age group or gender.
These are 2010 facts!

3rd Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - Stay Above! By: Summer Brown

I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because I live a happy life, and I am not about to ruin it.  I won’t buy or use tobacco because it can cause cancer, it can ruin your skin and teeth and it makes a 32 year old look 50.  I won’t drink alcohol because it makes you unaware of what’s around you, it makes your decisions unwise and can put you in prison. 

I will never do drugs because some of them will put you in prison, they can kill you if you abuse them and they can cause liver disease. 

When you play sports in high school or college you can get kicked off the teams for doing drugs, alcohol or tobacco because then the coaches know that you don’t have the strength or willpower to refuse.  Doing drugs I illegal in sports and some in society, alcohol is illegal if you’re under 21, and tobacco is illegal if you’re under 18. 

My mom smokes, and used to do drugs.  The cigarettes make her look 10-15 years older and she’s only 34.  When she did drugs she made a lot of bad decisions.  Because of that I really don’t want to smoke, whether it’s pot or cigarettes. 

Each year about 16,000 people die of DUI.  I think that most of them are the innocent people who don’t drink because it seems like they’re usually the ones who die.  That isn’t fair in any way, shape or form.  In my opinion if anyone had to die it should be the drunken ones.  I don’t mean to be blunt but you wanted honesty.

Each year about 200,000 people die of drug overdose.  That’s terrible but they brought it upon themselves.  It’s their own fault they could have gone to rehab or said no in the first place.  If anything went through their heads it probably was “Let’s get high cause its fun.”  Because of that they’re dead.

Each year about 443,000 people die of using and abusing tobacco.  That’s more than drugs or DUI.  I think that’s because tobacco is most commonly used more than alcohol or drugs.  Also probably because there aren’t as many illegal tobacco products as illegal drugs. 

Each year about 88,000 people die of alcohol abuse.  I don’t get it why people choose drinking over friends and family.  I certainly wouldn’t choose alcohol.  They’re basically picking out the sheets for their death beds.  Since they are drunk, the sheets are probably ugly.

I’m in basketball and most likely will be through high school.  I won’t do drugs, alcohol or tobacco because I love basketball.  I also get A’s and B’s for grades and I want to get into a good college so I am above the influence. 

I’ll stay Above the Influence Forever!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

2nd Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - I Stand Above the Influence - By Isabel Manning

All I hear are sirens, helicopters, screaming and crying.  Why!?  Why do I hear and see these horrible things?  It’s all because of a drunk driver.

Why do people do drugs, drink alcohol and use tobacco?  Probably because the people who do drugs think that they are only going to do it once, but they end up getting addicted to the drug which means that after a while their body gets used to it and it’s very hard to get out of the habit. 

It seems as though they don’t know the dangers of drugs.  There are lots and lots of dangerous things about them all.  Some drugs have good in them like if you have diabetes or cancer you take legal drugs to help the disease, but some people use these legal drugs inappropriately, like drinking too much of it and that leads to bad decisions.

When you drink more amounts of alcohol or any kind of drug your brain sends wrong messages through your blood vessels which sends wrong signals to the body.  You can end up seeing or hearing things that aren’t real, feeling things that aren’t there or do things that you wouldn’t normally do.

Drugs can make your heart beat faster, your body move slower, your throat feel dry and your pupils get bigger.  It can also affect the way you see, hear, feel, smell, think, move, eat, and also how often you go to the bathroom.  Now who would want to do that to their body?  Because, I know I don’t.

These are reasons why I choose to be above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco because if my family found out that I had been doing drugs they wouldn’t be very happy, and what if my friends found out?  They wouldn’t think of me the same way.  When I grow up I want to be an NBA girl’s basketball coach and what would the players think of me?  Drugs, alcohol and tobacco can cause serious damage and even death.  Just think one wrong move and all you hear are sirens…

I stand above the influence.

1st Place Red Ribbon Week Essay - Why I would choose not to be under the influence of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco - By Hannah Charbonneau

Try to imagine a life where you can’t live without drugs and are so addicted you can’t stop.  I have always wanted to be healthy and wanted to be active and to be fit my whole life.  Sometimes I wonder to myself what it would be like for those people that can’t breathe, can’t talk and have to constantly be in and out of the hospital. 

As a child I made a promise to myself, to my family, and to the people that count on me, to never even think about starting drugs, alcohol and tobacco at all.  While growing up I have had the best friends that a girl could ever ask for in my life and could never imagine drugs taking control of them.  If I could make one promise in my life that would be to be DRUG FREE.

People might ask, “I wonder what a glass of wine or one cigarette would taste like?”  This is what I say to that, “Why”?  People think “Oh, trying it once won’t hurt anything,” but they’re wrong.  Trying it once can change your life forever. 

If I could change one thing, it would be to make all drugs, alcohol and tobacco forbidden.  If you think about the people that are so addicted to drugs that they would do anything to get their hands on just one cigarette or just one bottle of beer.  How would they be able to live life, have a good career, or be a good role model to their kids?  I would think it would be very difficult if they let drugs take control of them.  To me, all I can say is, “Why did you start in the first place?”  Most of them would probably just say, “I didn’t think trying it one time could ruin my life forever”. 

I don’t base my life on what the future brings or what it holds.  What I know is that those promises that I have made will last all my life.  I know one thing that will not change, and it’s my promise that no matter what, I pledge to be DRUG FREE forever.  This is my story of why I don’t want to be under the influence of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today is the Great American Smokeout

The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting — even for one day — smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk. The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.It also remains as one of the most expensive habits not only to the smoker but to society as well.

Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. The American Cancer Society can tell you about the steps you can take to quit smoking and provide quit-smoking programs, resources and support that can increase your chances of quitting successfully. To learn about the available tools, call them at 1-800-227-2345 or go to

Youth Leadership Council members in Van Buren County will be holding a variety of activities both in their school and in the community that bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco. The activities that will be happening in the school are in an effort to further reduce youth tobacco use in our community.

For more information on the YLC organization or any of their activities you may contact them at or 319-293-6412. You may also find out more information on their website: www.ylc/ or look them up on Facebook!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Activities

Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members held a variety of activities for Red Ribbon Week this year. They wanted to send a message in both their school and community about the dangers of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco. They also wanted to reach a younger generation and encourage them to be above the influence and never start using any of these dangerous substances.  Both the Van Buren Middle School and High School members participated in the following activities:

High school members placed Red Ribbons around the community to remind residents of the importance of Red Ribbon Week and to hopefully encourage them to speak to their children about the dangers of these substances. Middle School members also placed the ribbons on the school grounds so that students, staff and visitors were reminded of their message.

High school members participated in Peer Teaching with 6th grade students. This year the YLC members wanted to include an essay contest as a part of their teaching so they provided an essay template a few weeks before they came to the classroom. 6th graders were asked to write an essay on why they were above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The essays were read and judged by the high school YLC members. The winners of the contest were: 1st Place- Hannah Charbonneau, 2nd place- Isabel Manning, 3rd Place- Summer Brown and Honorable Mention- Kolbie Bass. These girls won a private lunch with the high school YLC members during Red Ribbon Week. Be watching for the winning essays to be published in upcoming SAFE Coalition publications.

Both middle and high school students participated in dress up days every day during Red Ribbon Week and winners of the dress up days were awarded prizes each day along with the morning announcements that shared a different fact each day related to Red Ribbon Week.

On Wednesday the high school members set up a mystery box during their lunch hour. The box had items inside it that represented things you might experience as a smoker; rotten teeth, diseased lung and a cancerous tongue. Participants were only allowed to feel inside the box to try to guess the items. There were 13 students who guessed the correct items and these students were put into a drawing to win a Red Ribbon Week prize! The mystery box was a big hit and many students wanted to try to figure out what was inside!

Also on Wednesday the middle school YLC members set up a Pledge Wall and Face Painting for their peers. Students were asked to sign the pledge wall to be drug, alcohol and tobacco free. There were a large number of middle school and high school students who signed the pledge.

Both middle and high school students also wrote articles for the newspaper and were a part of KMEM’s Coffee Break. These initiatives were in an effort to get information out into the public about Red Ribbon Week and things community members could do to get involved.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week or any YLC activities you may visit the website at, email at or via phone at 319-293-6412.

Friday, October 31, 2014

SAFE Coalition Member’s Attending Iowa Prevention Conference

This year the annual Iowa Prevention Conference will be held in Des Moines on November 5th.  The conference is a statewide forum focused on substance abuse prevention and problem gambling prevention, while offering recommendations for best practices. The goal of this conference is to establish a meaningful dialogue among substance abuse prevention and problem gambling professionals by focusing on strategies and tools that can facilitate the development of a strategic response to the various challenges in the field. This event is a collaborative effort between the Iowa Department of Public Health, contracted agencies and grantees, and other service providers and stakeholders who are committed to the educational advancement of prevention professionals.

The conference provides attendees with practical, timely and relevant skills and knowledge; offers sessions that promote critical thinking and build partnerships toward improved practices; provides attendees with opportunities to interact with national and regional leaders and practitioners; strengthens the identity as a field united in its commitment to quality prevention; and provides attendees with informative exhibits to access the latest technology, products and services.  The Iowa Prevention Conference is suitable for substance abuse prevention specialists, health educators, problem gambling providers, nurses in a public or clinical setting, administrators, public health workers, civic leaders, and policy makers interested in substance abuse prevention and problem gambling. 

There will be two Coalition Members attending this conference this year.  For more information on the Prevention Conference or local prevention work being done by the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Red Ribbon Week

By: Sarah Frey

During the week of October 23-31st, Van Buren Youth Leadership council members are taking a stand against alcohol, drugs, and tobacco during Red Ribbon Week.
Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 after the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena. Soon after the news was delivered to Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, CA the community joined together to mourn the loss of his life. The community placed red ribbons throughout their community. By doing this they became a voice of prevention in reducing the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, as well as the use of illegal substances. In 1988 Red Ribbon Week was nationally recognized by Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

The Youth Leadership Council does many activities during Red Ribbon Week. Members of the council plan on placing red ribbons around the community, making banners for students to sign pledging to stay substance free, and being on air for a live radio broadcast discussing Red Ribbon Week.

The sole purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to spread awareness and promote the prevention of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco abuse not only for our community, but for our nation. 

YLC Middle School Red Ribbon Week
By: Taylor Thornsberry, Annalyssa Noll, Mallory Markley, Julia Mast, Erin Tedrow, and Shayna Sprinkle

This week is Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week is a week for people to stand up against drugs. Red Ribbon Week is from October 23rd-31st. It is now the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation. This is an ideal way people can show their personal commitment to a drug free lifestyle. This year’s theme is, "Love Yourself Be Drug Free." The theme of Red Ribbon Week changes every year, the themes help broadcast the behaviors of drug free people.

The Van Buren Middle School 8th grade YLC members are doing many different activities; one of the activities is tying red ribbons on trees. We are doing this to make sure people see these all around Keosauqua to remind them about being drug free. Our goal is for parents to see these and use them as a reminder to talk to their kids about making good choices not to do drugs or drink alcohol. We also think that everyone should be aware of what drugs do to your body, and how they affect their lives. Middle school members will be spreading this message throughout the week with daily announcements and activities. Whenever you see a red ribbon we hope it reminds you to be drug and alcohol.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week or any YLC activities you may contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412 or via email at

Thursday, October 16, 2014

White House Drug Policy Office Awards Drug Free Communities Grant to Local Coalition to Prevent Youth Substance Use in Van Buren County. Grants Support Administration Efforts to Emphasize Public Health Approaches to Drug Policy, Reduce Demand for Drugs through Education

(Washington D.C.) – Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the Office National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced 680 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants, totaling $84 million, to communities across the country. The grants will provide local communities funding to prevent youth substance use and support the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, which treats our Nation’s drug problem through a balanced public health and safety approach. Van Buren County SAFE Coalition from Keosauqua, IA was one of the grant recipients and will receive DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.

“Last week, President Obama designated October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month because we know the best way to reduce youth drug use is to stop it from ever beginning,” said Acting Director Botticelli. “Today, I congratulate prevention advocates for their continuing hard work and dedication to young people many of whom are struggling with peer pressure and other challenges in today’s society.”

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will specifically work to address Underage Drinking, Misuse and Abuse of Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs, Youth Nicotine use and Youth Marijuana use. The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. More recently, the number of current cocaine users has declined by more than a third (36%) from 2006 to 2013, and the number of current meth users has fallen by 19 percent over the same period. To build on this progress and support a balance of public health and safety approaches to drug control outlined in the Strategy, in FY 2015 the Obama Administration has requested nearly $10.9 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders.

“We are not powerless against the challenge of drug use among young people here in Van Buren County,” said Coalition Director, Heidi Bainbridge. “Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the terrible consequences associated with drug use among young people. This funding will allow the SAFE Coalition to help place more young people on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives.”

“Drug-free coalitions across the nation are mobilizing to mount effective, coordinated prevention programs against substance use, especially among youth,” said Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “SAMHSA is honored to partner with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in building these critically important community coalitions.”

For more information about the Administration efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, or to learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, visit:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Van Buren County SAFE Coalition to Host Educational Forum on Youth Medicine Safety October 16th – 4:30 pm

WHAT:          The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will host an educational forum on Wednesday Oct. 15th about protecting young people from misusing and abusing over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. The event will feature national and local experts and will highlight the OTC Literacy curriculum, a free program developed by Scholastic, the American Association of Poison Control Centers and McNeil Consumer Healthcare to teach kids and parents about OTC medicine safety.

WHY:             Misusing OTC medicines can have dire consequences. In 2011, poison centers managed over 260,000 cases of medicine poison exposures involving children aged 6-19. 143,000 cases were caused by medication errors and misuse.  In addition, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey, 1 in 25 teens abuses OTC cough medicines to get high. In addition, according to the 2012 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, one out of three teens knows someone who has abused OTC cough medicine to get high.

WHO:             Tammy Noble, Education Coordinator, Iowa Poison Control
                        Milt Linn, Brand Manager, McNeil Consumer Healthcare
                        Mary Elizabeth Elliott, Vice President of Communications, Membership and IT, CADCA

WHEN:          October 16, 2013, 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Van Buren Elementary School
                        14574 Jefferson Street
                        Douds, IA 52551

CONTACT:   Heidi Bainbridge, or 319-293-6412

Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve Drug Take Back Day

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern, because they can be accidentally ingested, stolen, misused, and abused.  While the number of Americans who currently abuse prescription drugs dropped in 2013 to 6.5 million from 6.8 million in 2012, that is still more than double the number of those using heroin, cocaine, and hallucinogens like LSD and Ecstasy combined, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  In addition, 22,134 Americans died in 2011 from overdoses of prescription medications, including 16,651 from narcotic painkillers, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The survey of users cited above also found that the majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet.

One important step we can take right now is to make sure we safely and securely dispose of unused, unneeded and expired medications.  On Saturday, September 27th, the Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve and Van Buren County SAFE Coalition sponsored a National Drug Take-Back Day at the Douds Community Center.  At the Take-Back Day 1 pound of prescription medication was collected by the Van Buren Sherriff’s Reserve Officers!  In Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota 53,008 lbs or 27 tons of medication were collected.  The public’s enormous response to DEA’s nine National Take Back Days demonstrates its recognition of the need for a way to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous prescription drugs.  Last April Americans turned in over 780,000 pounds (390 tons) of prescription drugs.  Since its first National Take Back Day in September of 2010, DEA has collected more than 4.1 million pounds (over 2,100 tons) of prescription drugs throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take-Back events four years ago because at that time the Controlled Substances Act made no legal provision for patients to rid themselves of unwanted controlled substance prescription drugs except to give them to law enforcement; it banned pharmacies and hospitals from accepting them.  Most people flushed their unused prescription drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash, or kept them in the household medicine cabinet, resulting in contamination of the water supply and the theft and abuse of the prescription drugs.

The week after DEA’s first Take Back Day, the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 was enacted.  The Act authorized DEA to develop and implement regulations that outline methods the public and long-term care facilities can use to transfer pharmaceutical controlled substances and other prescription drugs to authorized collectors for the purpose of disposal.  While those regulations were being developed and approved, the DEA sponsored seven more take-back events.  

DEA’s new disposal regulations were published in the Federal Register on September 9 and can be viewed at or at  DEA’s goal in implementing the Act is to expand the options available to safely and securely dispose of potentially dangerous prescription medications on a routine basis. At this time, DEA has no plans to sponsor more nationwide Take-Back Days in order to give authorized collectors the opportunity to provide this valuable service to their communities.

The Final Rule authorizes certain DEA registrants (manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies, and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy) to modify their registration with the DEA to become authorized collectors.  All collectors may operate a collection receptacle at their registered location, and collectors without an on-site means of destruction may operate a mail-back program.  Retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy may operate collection receptacles at long-term care facilities.  The public may find authorized collectors in their communities by calling the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.

Law enforcement continues to have autonomy with respect to how they collect controlled substance prescription drugs from ultimate users, including holding take-back events.  Any person or entity—DEA registrant or non-registrant—may partner with law enforcement to conduct take-back events.  Patients also may continue to utilize the guidelines for the disposal of pharmaceutical controlled substances listed by the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Any method of patient disposal that was valid prior to these new regulations being implemented continues to be valid.

You do not have to wait for a local Drug Take Back event to dispose of your medication.  Lee Pharmacy in Keosauqua accepts the return of prescription medications (excluding controlled substances at this time) during their regular hours at their pharmacy counter.

If you would like to know more about how to dispose of your Prescription Medications or Prescription Drug Abuse please find additional details at the following link: or contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412 or at

Monday, October 6, 2014

Van Buren County Holds Youth Leadership Training

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition held their annual youth training this fall for all members involved in Youth Leadership Council in Van Buren County. This event, held on Wednesday October 1st, was intended to help students gain a better understanding of what it means to be a leader and it did just that!

There were 100 youth from the Van Buren and Harmony School District, the students grades ranged from 7th-12th grade. Some of these students have been a part of YLC for multiple years and some were brand new this year. 

Throughout the day students attended four different workshops; Leadership, Art, Planning and ISTEP. 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. In the Art workshop students were asked some very probing questions about their involvement with Youth Leadership Council and what keeps them above the influence. They were then charged with designing a poster that details these things in their own creative art work. The students were able to use paint, markers, glitter, and foam letters and shapes to make their posters unique. Winners were selected based on the criteria of originality, creativity, best use of the page and best display of their reasons. The first place winners were; Morgan Croft, Victoria Halverson, Hannah Hunt, Kameron Gearhart and Lacey Smith. The students also learned about state-wide prevention efforts when they attended the ISTEP workshop. Robbyn Graves from Iowa Department of Public health spoke to them about the statewide initiative and how they could get involved as well as street marketing activities that they could do in their own community. Their final workshop was planning, this provided them with an opportunity to take a look at the events that are occurring throughout the year and determine the activities and strategies that they want to implement to make a change in their community. All groups came up with some great ideas and will begin implementing them right away in October for Prevention Month and Red Ribbon Week- be watching for these in the school and community.

This event is a lot of 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 drugs, alcohol and tobacco as well as a few new initiatives they are going to embark on this year…… be watching…… more to come!

For more information on Youth Leadership Council or this training please contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Why do we recognize National Substance Abuse Prevention Month?

Every day, far too many Americans are hurt by alcohol and drug abuse. From diminished achievement in our schools, to greater risks on our roads and in our communities, to the heartache of lives cut tragically short, the consequences of substance abuse are profound. Yet, we also know that they are preventable. This month, we pay tribute to all those working to prevent substance abuse in our communities, and rededicate ourselves to building a safer, drug-free America.

Preventing drug use before it begins—particularly among young people—is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences. In fact, recent research has concluded that every dollar invested in school-based substance use prevention programs has the potential to save up to $18 in costs related to substance use disorders.

The President’s plan promotes the expansion of national and community-based programs that reach young people in schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace with tailored information to help them make healthy decisions about their future.

The Administration’s drug policy reflects this understanding by emphasizing prevention and access to treatment over incarceration, pursuing “smart on crime” rather than “tough on crime” approaches to drug related offenses, and providing support for early health interventions designed to break the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest. 

For National information on National Substance Abuse Prevention Month you may check out the SAMHSA site at more information on local efforts and how to talk to your family members about preventing substance abuse please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or  You may also find more information to help you on the coalition website at or on the coalition’s Face Book page:  Van Buren County SAFE Coalition.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

National Rx Take Back Day - September 27, 2014

Youth Leadership Council News

The Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) has started for the 2014-15 School Year. Van Buren County will have five YLC groups this year; Harmony Junior High, Harmony Senior High, Van Buren 7th, Van Buren 8th, and Van Buren High School. Between these five groups there are over 130 students signed up to be a part of this youth led organization.

Students will be discussing the issues that they want to address this year as a part of YLC; they will decide the activities to address these issues as well as a large community project that will occur in the county with the assistance of the SAFE Coalition. The youth are excited and have a variety of ideas for projects and activities that they would like to implement to make a difference.

The youth who have signed up for the program will take part in a Youth Training on October 1st at the Roberts Memorial Center in Keosauqua. The youth will learn about leadership skills, how to identify the problems in their community and address them. They will also have the opportunity to get to know all of the other members of YLC and enhance their team building skills through a variety of activities.

If you know a middle or high school student who is interested in Youth Leadership council is it not too late to join. They can attend any meeting or stop by the YLC office to get signed up.  For more information about Youth Leadership council you may contact or 319-293-6412

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


On September 27th 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve, Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your medications for disposal to the Douds Community Center, Douds.  The service is free and anonymous, no paperwork, no logs, no questions asked.

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.

Four days after the first event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.  The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.  DEA is drafting regulations to implement the Act.  Until new regulations are in place, local law enforcement agencies like the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve and the DEA will continue to hold prescription drug take-back events every few months.

You do not have to wait for a Drug Take Back event to dispose of your medication.  Lee Pharmacy in Keosauqua accepts the return of prescription medications (excluding controlled substances) during their regular hours at their pharmacy counter.

The coalition is asking for your help in promoting the event, please let anyone who may have unused medication know about this! If you would like to know more about the Prescription Drug Take Back Day or Prescription Drug Abuse please find additional details at the following link: or contact the SAFE Coalition office at 319-293-6412.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Smokeless Tobacco Facts You Should Know

What is smokeless tobacco?  Smokeless tobacco is tobacco that is not burned. It is also known as chewing tobacco, oral tobacco, spit or spitting tobacco, dip, chew, and snuff. Most people chew or suck (dip) the tobacco in their mouth and spit out the tobacco juices that build up, although “spitless” smokeless tobacco has also been developed. Nicotine in the tobacco is absorbed through the lining of the mouth.

There are two main types of smokeless tobacco: Chewing tobacco, which is available as loose leaves, plugs (bricks), or twists of rope. A piece of tobacco is placed between the cheek and lower lip, typically toward the back of the mouth. It is either chewed or held in place. Saliva is spit or swallowed.  Snuff, which is finely cut or powdered tobacco. It may be sold in different scents and flavors. It is packaged moist or dry; most American snuff is moist. It is available loose, in dissolvable lozenges or strips, or in small pouches similar to tea bags. The user places a pinch or pouch of moist snuff between the cheek and gums or behind the upper or lower lip. Another name for moist snuff is snus (pronounced “snoose”). Some people inhale dry snuff into the nose.

Does smokeless tobacco cause cancer or other diseases?  Yes. Smokeless tobacco causes oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer (1).  Using smokeless tobacco may also cause heart disease, gum disease, and oral lesions other than cancer, such as leukoplakia (precancerous white patches in the mouth) (1).

Can a user get addicted to smokeless tobacco?  Yes. All tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, contain nicotine, which is addictive (1). Users of smokeless tobacco and users of cigarettes have comparable levels of nicotine in the blood. In users of smokeless tobacco, nicotine is absorbed through the mouth tissues directly into the blood, where it goes to the brain. Even after the tobacco is removed from the mouth, nicotine continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Also, the nicotine stays in the blood longer for users of smokeless tobacco than for smokers (2).  The level of nicotine in the blood depends on the amount of nicotine in the smokeless tobacco product, the tobacco cut size, the product’s pH (a measure of its acidity or basicity), and other factors (3).

Is using smokeless tobacco less hazardous than smoking cigarettes?  Because all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer, the use of all of these products should be strongly discouraged. There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who use any type of tobacco product should be urged to quit. As long ago as 1986, the advisory committee to the Surgeon General concluded that the use of smokeless tobacco “is not a safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. It can cause cancer and a number of noncancerous oral conditions and can lead to nicotine addiction and dependence” (4). Furthermore, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2006 stated that the “range of risks, including nicotine addiction, from smokeless tobacco products may vary extensively because of differing levels of nicotine, carcinogens, and other toxins in different products” (5).

Should smokeless tobacco be used to help a person quit smoking?  No. There is no scientific evidence that using smokeless tobacco can help a person quit smoking (6). Because all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer, the use of all tobacco products is strongly discouraged. There is no safe level of tobacco use. People who use any type of tobacco product should be urged to quit.

How can I get help quitting smokeless tobacco?  NCI offers free information about quitting smokeless tobacco: Call National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quitline at 1–877–448–7848. Talk with a smoking cessation counselor about quitting smokeless tobacco within the United States, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time.  Use LiveHelp online chat. You can have a confidential online text chat with an NCI smoking cessation counselor Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Call QuitLine Iowa at 1-800-784-8669 to talk with a smoking cessation counselor about quitting.   Use the website for information on quitting or contacting someone for help quitting.  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the NIH agency that supports dental, oral, and craniofacial research, offers a guide for quitting called Smokeless Tobacco: A Guide for Quitting and other information about smokeless tobacco.  For other resources, you may be interested in the NCI fact sheet Where To Get Help When You Decide To Quit Smoking.

Selected References
1.     International Agency for Research on Cancer. Smokeless Tobacco and Some Tobacco-SpecificN-Nitrosamines. Lyon, France: World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2007. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans Volume 89.
2.     National Cancer Institute. Smokeless Tobacco or Health: An International Perspective. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 1992. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 2.
3.     Richter P, Hodge K, Stanfill S, Zhang L, Watson C. Surveillance of moist snuff: total nicotine, moisture, pH, un-ionized nicotine, and tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 2008; 10(11):1645–1652.
4.     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Using Smokeless Tobacco: A Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1986.
5.     NIH State-of-the-Science Panel. National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science conference statement: tobacco use: prevention, cessation, and control. Annals of Internal Medicine 2006; 145(11):839–844.

6.       The Clinical Practice Guideline Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence 2008 Update Panel, Liaisons, and Staff. A clinical practice guideline for treating tobacco use and dependence: 2008 update. A U.S. Public Health Service report. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2008; 35(2):158–176.