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