Thursday, January 29, 2015

YLC News

By Jacinta Wenke
In Van Buren County, the Youth Leadership Council or YLC sponsored National Drugs Fact Week in our community. The reason for this week is to shatter myths about drugs and a health observance. Van Buren YLC members along with many other organizations across the U.S.A. in partnership with NIDA encouraged teens to get the facts about drugs through a variety of events this past week.

Each day of the week we taught and talked about a different drug. For the whole week we put up different posters, kept some up all week, and had announcements every day. We had themes and activities for each day. Monday was marijuana; there was peer teaching at the elementary and students put up a display at the school in the front case. Tuesday was tobacco; there were numbers hung around the school and we asked students to guess what they meant in regards to smoking and there was a mystery box guessing contest during lunch. Wednesday was Prescription and Over the Counter Drugs; there were medicine bottle facts and posters for that day. Thursday was Underage Drinking; there was a balloon scavenger hunt this day; finally on Friday there were a variety of miscellaneous drugs that were addressed by posters with facts.

Some of the facts that were shared with the students this week include the following:
·         Marijuana can affect learning and memory by acting in the hippocampus of the brain in a negative way.
·         People who smoke in their teens become regular smokers and e-cigarettes are not a safer alternative to smoking.
·         If medicine is not prescribed to you and used in the wrong way it is drug abuse.
·         Approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die each year from injuries caused by underage drinking and about 40% of those are car crashes.
·         Inhalants, synthetic drugs, steroids, meth, heroine, and many more have a negative impact on your brain. Some of these drugs can lead to death.

Don’t chance losing your life, live a life free of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. For more information on how to get facts on the drugs you may visit the website or contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at

Van Buren County is selected for a Partnership for Success Award

SAMHSA's Partnerships for Success (PFS) grant programs (PFS I, PFS II, and PFS 2013) provide eligible states and jurisdictions with funds to achieve quantifiable declines in state-wide substance abuse rates. These programs are designed to address gaps in prevention services and increase the ability of states to assist high-need communities with serious, emerging substance abuse problems. PFS grant programs are also intended to bring SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to a national scale, providing opportunities for recipients to acquire additional resources to implement the SPF process at the state and community levels.

In 2009, SAMHSA announced the PFS I grant program, which funded (for up to five years) eligible states and jurisdictions to decrease state-wide substance abuse rates by meeting or exceeding quantifiable, state-wide, prevention performance targets. SAMHSA also offered PFS I grantees a performance incentive of $500,000 to participants who met or exceeded their performance targets by the end of Year 3. Only states and jurisdictions who received a Cohort I or II Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) were eligible to receive PFS I. The overall goals of PFS I are as follows:
·         Reduce substance abuse-related problems
·         Prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse, including childhood and underage drinking;
·         Strengthen capacity and infrastructure at the state- and community-levels in support of prevention;
·         Leverage, redirect and realign state-wide funding streams for prevention.

In 2012 and 2013, SAMHSA announced two additional Partnerships for Success grant programs (PFS II and PFS 2013), both designed to address two of the nation's top substance abuse prevention priorities:
·         underage drinking among individuals ages 12 to 20
·         prescription drug misuse and abuse among individuals ages 12 to 25

These programs provide additional resources to states for implementing the SPF process at the state and community levels, and promote the alignment and leveraging of prevention resources and priorities at the federal, state, and community levels. Funding for PFS II was awarded to 15 grantees for three years. Eligible grantees included Substance Abuse Block Grant recipients who completed a SPF SIG and did not receive PFS I funds. Funding for PFS 2013 was awarded to 16 grantees for five years, Iowa was one of these recipients. Eligible grantees for PFS 2013 included Substance Abuse Block Grant recipients who completed a SPF SIG and did not receive PFS I or II funding. This money is then filtered down to the local communities in need.
Van Buren County will receive Partnership for Success Funding to continue the work of the SAFE Coalition by addressing underage and binge drinking. These funds will begin February 1, 2015 and run through September 29, 2019. The coalition will spend the first year completing a community assessment to identify the impact they have had over the last 10 years with the Drug Free Communities Funds and determine the next steps to continue making community change in Van Buren County.

For more information on the Partnership for Success Funds or any SAFE Coalition activities you may contact the coalition at 319-293-6412, via email at or check us out one the web at

Thursday, January 22, 2015


The Iowa PMP provides authorized prescribers and pharmacists with information regarding their patients’ use of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, a tool in determining appropriate prescribing and treatment of patients without fear of contributing to a patient’s abuse or dependence on addictive drugs or diversion of those drugs to illicit use. The database contains controlled substance dispensing information from Iowa pharmacies beginning January 1, 2009, and will maintain records for four years following the date of dispensing. Iowa pharmacies are required to report dispensing information to the program at least weekly. Effective January 1, 2013, nonresident Iowa pharmacies that dispense into Iowa began weekly reporting of controlled substances prescriptions delivered to patients located in Iowa.

All information contained in the PMP database, including records of requests for patient prescription history reports, is privileged and strictly confidential and is not subject to public or open records laws.  Authorized health care practitioners (prescribers and pharmacists) may, but are not required to, access PMP information regarding their patients’ use of controlled substances to assist them in determining appropriate treatment options and to improve the quality of patient care. The PMP provides health care practitioners with another health care tool. The PMP database assists practitioners in identifying potential diversion, misuse, or abuse of controlled substances by their patients while facilitating the most appropriate and effective medical use and verifying appropriate use of those addictive substances.

Health care practitioners who are authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances may obtain PMP information regarding their patients, or regarding patients seeking treatment from the health care practitioner, for the purpose of providing health care.

For more information on the PMP System please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

National Drug Facts Week 2015

By Braxton Dye

Teenagers from the Van Buren 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 1stNDFW 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.  During this week the Harmony Middle School, Harmony High School and Van Buren High School YLC Members are doing activities to help prevent and stop people from using all illegal (not prescribed) drugs. 

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. 

In 2006 16% of 8th graders had tried “Mary Jane” or Marijuana and it is easy to get addicted to.  The following are facts about the dangers of marijuana use for the members of Van Buren County: causes problems with memory, causes dry mouth and blood shot eyes, time passes slowly, causes “the munchies”, loss of coordination, increases heart rate and smells bad.

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.

At Harmony Middle School six male 7th graders are talking to the 5th graders about the consequences of drugs, alcohol and tobacco use.  Faith Diephuis’s group is going to do activities with 3rd graders to prevent the addiction of smoking.  Krista White’s group is making posters to hang up in the school’s hallways so students can walk by and read many facts about the use of tobacco.  There will also be two students on the radio on KMEM’s Coffee Break discussing National Drug Facts Week and the consequences of drug use. 

At Harmony High School YLC Members will be peer teaching at the elementary school on the dangers of substance abuse, holding a Balloon Scavenger Hunt with Drug Facts and they will be hanging posters in the hallways of the school and in the community. 

The Van Buren High School YLC Members will be focusing on a different drug each day.  On Monday students will focus on Marijuana and provide Peer Teaching at the Van Buren Community Elementary School.  Tuesday will focus on Tobacco and there will be a social norms campaign as well as a mystery box at lunch.  Wednesday will highlight the dangers of Rx abuse with pill bottle facts and posters in the school.  Thursday will address underage drinking by holding a scavenger hunt at lunch.  Friday students will address other miscellaneous drugs by posting facts and information around the school. 

For more information on National Drug Facts Week or the work of Van Buren County YLC please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or at  You can also find more information on the SAFE Coalition Website or the YLC Website

Friday, January 9, 2015

Marijuana and You

Make Your New Year’s Resolution to be Tobacco-Free in 2015!

Tobacco use is the most common preventable cause of death. About half of the people who don't quit smoking will die of smoking-related problems. Quitting smoking is important for your health and provides many benefits. Soon after you quit your circulation begins to improve and your blood pressure starts to return to normal. Your sense of smell and taste return and breathing starts to become easier. In the long term, giving up tobacco can help you live longer. Your risk of getting cancer decreases with each year you stay smoke-free.

There are many ways to quit smoking. There are also resources to help you. Family members, friends, and co-workers may be supportive. But to be successful, you must really want to quit.
Most people who have quit smoking were unsuccessful at least once in the past. Try not to view past attempts to quit as failures. See them as learning experiences. It is hard to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco. But anyone can do it.
Use these ideas to help you stay committed to quitting:

·         Avoid temptation. Stay away from people and places that tempt you to smoke. Later on you’ll be able to handle these with more confidence.
·         Change your habits. Switch to juices or water instead of alcohol or coffee. Take a different route to work. Take a brisk walk instead of a coffee break.
·         Choose other things for your mouth: Use substitutes you can put in your mouth such as sugarless gum or hard candy, raw vegetables such as carrot sticks, or sunflower seeds.
·         Get active with your hands: Do something to reduce your stress. Exercise or do something that keeps your hands busy, such as needlework or woodworking.
·         Breathe deeply: When you were smoking, you breathed deeply as you inhaled the smoke. When the urge strikes now, breathe deeply and picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.
·         Delay: If you feel that you are about to light up, hold off. Tell yourself you must wait at least 10 minutes. Often this simple trick will allow you to move beyond the strong urge to smoke.

Reward yourself. What you’re doing is not easy, so you deserve a reward. Put the money you would have spent on tobacco in a jar every day and then buy yourself a weekly treat or save the money for a major purchase.

Quitline Iowa has trained coaches that are here to listen and give you the support you need.  The Quitline Iowa coach will help you set a quit date and create a quit plan that works for you!

You may also refer a friend, a student, or family member to this service.

Quitline Iowa: 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Iowa Drug Control Strategy Includes Focus on Prescription Drugs and Heroin

DES MOINES – The 2015 Iowa Drug Control Strategy, an annual report to the Governor and Legislature, shows significant progress in preventing drug abuse, while also recognizing current and emerging challenges that include medicine misuse and heroin use.

“Although Iowa remains one of the safest states in the U.S., in terms of having one of the nation’s lowest rates of illegal drug use, too many Iowa families are negatively impacted by drug use and crime,” said Steve Lukan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP).  “One of the fastest growing areas of substance use disorders involves prescription drugs, which may also be driving an increase in heroin use.”

Prescription pain relievers and heroin are in the same class of drugs, known as opioids.  Professionals who treat substance use disorders increasingly report Iowans who begin taking pain pills for legitimate health problems become addicted to the medication over time, and eventually switch to heroin when they can no longer afford the medicine.

According to data in the ODCP report, Iowa’s prescription pain medicine related overdose deaths and substance abuse treatment admissions have risen in recent years.  So too have heroin related overdose deaths and treatment entries, as well as opiate-related emergency room visits.

Opioid/Narcotic OD Deaths
11 in 2003
*77 in 2013
Heroin OD Deaths
1 in 2003
*20 in 2013
*Signifies highest level on record in Iowa (since 1992).

“Both pain medicine and heroin can be dangerous—even lethal—if abused, which is why preventing prescription drug abuse in the first place must be a priority,” said Lukan.  “One way to do this is through continuing education for health care professionals, parents and children.”

“Iowa’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is an important health care tool, and the more it’s used the more patients can be assured of taking medicines properly,” said Lukan.  “Medication Take Back events also play a key role to help Iowans safely dispose of unused prescription drugs in a way that prevents abuse and protects the environment.”

The PMP was recently enhanced to require out-of-state pharmacies dispensing medicines in Iowa to report those transactions, and work is underway to securely share prescription information with neighboring states.  Still, less than a third of Iowa prescribers are registered to access the PMP, and fewer actually use it.  The most recent Take Back effort in September collected over four tons of unused medicines.  During the last four years, Iowans have safely discarded more than 25 tons of obsolete prescription drugs.  Education continues on this subject, in the form of professional training and public awareness (e.g.,

Other signs of progress noted in the new Iowa drug control report:
·         Meth labs reported by Iowa law enforcement are down again in 2014, and on a pace to total 172, which would be their lowest point in 17 years.
·         Drug-related Iowa prison admissions decreased for a second straight year last year to 867, and are down about 22% from the recent high water mark of 1,110 in 2004.
·         Nearly 60% of Iowa clients completing substance abuse treatment in 2013 were employed full or part-time and 87% were arrest free, both considerably higher than pre-treatment rates.
·         Iowa’s 20 drug enforcement task forces referred 300 drug-endangered children for protective services and removed 598 firearms from alleged drug dealers and gang members last year.
·         Rates of underage drinking and tobacco use have steadily declined in Iowa over the last decade, and illegal drug use by youth has remained nearly steady.

Other challenges noted in the report:
·         The amounts, potency and use of meth smuggled into Iowa are increasing.  The 64,000 grams of meth seized by Iowa law enforcement so far this year is the largest volume in nine years, dating back to 2005.  Meth-related prison admissions totaled 475 last year, making up over half of all Iowa drug-related prison admissions.  Meth treatment admissions last year comprised 14.8% of all publicly-funded treatment entries, an all-time high percentage involving meth.
·         Iowa drug-related child abuse cases, involving children testing positive for drugs and in the presence of meth manufacturing, rose to 1,334 last year, the highest level in five years.
·         Iowa marijuana-related hospital emergency department visits increased to an all-time high of 949 last year, more double the number seven years earlier in 2006.
·         Synthetic drugs, including those referred to as K2 and Bath Salts, continue to evolve in their makeup, posing a health threat to unsuspecting Iowa users.

The 2015 Iowa Drug Control Strategy outlines a comprehensive plan involving prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts aimed at reducing illegal drug use and promoting healthy and safe communities.  To view the complete report, go to