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.