Thursday, October 29, 2015

Memory, Speed of Thinking Gets Worse Over Time with Marijuana Use


Memory, speed of thinking and other cognitive abilities get worse over time with marijuana use, according to a new study published in the March 14, 2006, issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study found that frequent marijuana users performed worse than non-users on tests of cognitive abilities, including divided attention (ability to pay attention to more than one stimulus at a time) and verbal fluency (number of words generated within a time limit). Those who had used marijuana for 10 years or more had more problems with their thinking abilities than those who had used marijuana for five to 10 years. All of the marijuana users were heavy users, which was defined as smoking four or more joints per week.
"We found that the longer people used marijuana, the more deterioration they had in these cognitive abilities, especially in the ability to learn and remember new information," said study author Lambros Messinis, PhD, of the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Patras in Patras, Greece. "In several areas, their abilities were significant enough to be considered impaired, with more impairment in the longer-term users than the shorter-term users."
The study involved people ages 17 to 49 taking part in a drug abuse treatment program in Athens, Greece. There were 20 long-term users, 20 shorter-term users and 24 control subjects who had used marijuana at least once in their lives but not more than 20 times and not in the past two years. Those who had used any other class of drugs, such as cocaine or stimulants, during the past year or for more than three months throughout their lives were not included in the study. Before the tests were performed, all participants had to abstain from marijuana for at least 24 hours.
The marijuana users performed worse in several cognitive domains, including delayed recall, recognition and executive functions of the brain. For example, on a test measuring the ability to make decisions, long-term users had 70 percent impaired performance, compared to 55 percent impaired performance for shorter-term users and 8 percent impaired performance for non-users. In a test where participants needed to remember a list of words that had been read to them earlier, the non-users remembered an average of 12 out of 15 words, the shorter-term users remembered an average of nine words and the long-term users remembered an average of seven words.

For more information on the effects of marijuana use please contact the VB SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or  For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit

Friday, October 23, 2015

Van Buren County Community Health Needs Assessment

Van Buren County Hospital and Van Buren Public Health Need your help!

It is time to complete the Van Buren County Community Health Needs Assessment.  To accurately assess the community we need your feedback.  Please, take a few minutes to complete the survey if you are a Van Buren County Resident at this link: .

Thank you for your help!

On Halloween, and Every Day, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

This Halloween, the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is reminding Halloween partiers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. If your Halloween party involves alcohol then you have to make a plan to get home without getting behind the wheel.

If you want to stay safe this Halloween then make a plan to get home without driving if you’ve been drinking. Even one drink impairs judgement, so plan to get home by designating a sober driver. Buzzed driving is drunk driving, so think ahead to stay safe.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31st – 5:59 a.m. November 1st) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver. On Halloween Night alone 119 people lost their lives over that same period. Children out trick-or-treating and the parents accompanying them are also at risk as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night (2009-2013) involved drunk drivers.  In many of Van Buren’s Villages this year parents and children will be out Trick or Treating on Saturday night.  So, please be aware of our community member’s safety during Halloween.

It is illegal everywhere in America to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. In 2013, 10,076 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Even if you drive drunk and aren’t killed or seriously injured you could end up paying as much $10,000 for a DUI.

Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, so follow these simple tips to stay safe:

Plan a safe way to get home before you attend the party. Alcohol impairs judgement, as well as reaction time. If you’re drunk you’re more likely to choose to drive drunk.
Designate a sober driver or a call a sober friend or family member to get home.
Walking while impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement when it is safe to do so.
If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them get home safely.

For more information, please visit or the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Drug Free Communities Update - Extension Received

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has received funds from the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the last 10 years for the Drug Free Communities Project. This grant ended on September 30th, 2015. The Coalition applied for and received a no-cost extension for three months to spend out remaining money and complete a couple of projects that are still being worked on. The projects that the coalition will continue to work on are:

1.  Social Host work related to the state law
2. Continue work on the Codes of Conduct in Schools
3. Addressing Near Peers as providers of alcohol
4. Work with the local hospital on SBIRT and data collection

If you are interested in any of the above projects or getting involved with the SAFE Coalition the coalition is always eager to have additional voices at the table related to the topics that are being addressed. Meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month unless otherwise noted.

At the end of December, 2015, the coalition will no longer have Drug Free Communities Funds to support their projects. The coalition is being sustained via the Iowa Partnership for Success Funds as well as the Community Partnership for Success. To view the Drug Free Communities Extension Workplan you can find it by visiting the SAFE Coalition website at For more information on the SAFE Coalition or funds that support the coalition you may contact the SAFE office at 319-293-6412 or via email at

Monday, October 12, 2015

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 26th, the Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve Officers and Van Buren County SAFE Coalition sponsored a National Drug Take-Back Day at the Keosauqua Senior Center.  At the Take-Back Day 25 pounds of prescription medication were collected by the Van Buren County Sherriff’s Reserve Officers!  This was a part of the 742,771 pounds (371 tons) of prescription drugs collected across the nation. 

DEA began hosting National Prescription Drug Take-Back events five 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.

DEA’s new disposal regulations were published in the Federal Register on September 9, 2014 and 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 and over the counter 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

Merchant Services in Van Buren County

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is active in working with businesses to ensure that they are aware of the Iowa law as it relates to the sale of alcohol. They provide a variety of resources and assistance to any businesses in Van Buren County, these resources include materials, trainings, and assistance with policy change. The coalition also works closely with the Iowa Alcoholic and Beverages division to ensure that all license regulations are being met by license holders.  Services are FREE and are provided at your convenience.

·    FREE to All Businesses in Van Buren County
·    How to properly check an ID
·    Examples of fake and authentic forms of identification
·    Conveniently located– within the county or at your place of business
·    “Could” lower your dram insurance*
·    Information on semi-annual compliance checks
·    All Businesses and employees completing the merchant training will receive certificates of completion valid for two years.
*Each insurance provider has their own policies– you need to check with your insurance provider to determine the discount, if any.

Merchant trainings are scheduled for October and December, if you or others at your business have not been trained we encourage you to attend one of the upcoming training opportunities.  Also, training certificates are only good for two (2) years.  To find out if any of your staff have expired training certificates you may contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or
October 20th at 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
October 21st at 9am- Roberts Memorial Building
December 15th at 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
December 16th at 9am- Roberts Memorial Building
RSVP is required for the above trainings. Please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 to register.

·    Manager Training Binders
·    “We Card” Calendars, Stickers, Door Clings, Window Clings
·    ID card tip sheet
·    Laminated reference sheets
·    Current laws and fines– updated information on current Iowa Laws
·    Fact Sheets
·    Examples of fake and authentic forms of identification
·    Resources for identification checking machines
·    Need something? Just ask– we can probably get it!

·    Ensure that the patrons you are serving and selling alcohol to are of legal age
·    The SAFE Coalition can assist in:
o    Writing policies for minors in establishments that serve alcohol
o    Providing signage to ensure the policies are followed
o    Training of the policies with all employees of the establishment
o    Developing policies for underage drinking issues

Want more information on these or any of our services?  Contact us at 319-293-6412 or at or check us out on the web at  To sign up for the quarterly Merchant Circle publication provided by the coalition please email and request a copy today!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Youth Leadership Council

The Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council (YLC) is made up of middle school and high school students from both Harmony and Van Buren school districts.  The council was first developed with a focus of tobacco prevention and awareness and known a JEL (Just Eliminate Lies).  Since that time the group has changed it’s focused to include drugs, alcohol and tobacco prevention and awareness with the name of Youth Leadership Council.  This group has been very powerful as a youth lead and driven group.  They have been able to make many changes to the community including: smoke-free ball diamonds, helped with the keg registration, cleaned-up and planted flowers at the basketball courts and most recently help to create a tobacco-free city park in Keosauqua. Funding to help support the YLC program has come from a Community Partnership Grant from Iowa Department of Public Health held by the Van Buren County Hospital and the Drug Free Communities Grant from SAMHSA held by the Van Buren School District.  Since the DFC grant is finishing the 10 year grant cycle the only funding for the youth will be the Community Partnership Grant.  With this funding change the youth will be focusing primarily on tobacco prevention and awareness again during the school year. The youth are just starting to plan their year and have a number of great ideas they would like to complete.   You can follow what activities and the events the youth are working on by going to the SAFE Coalition website at www.vbcsafecoalition or on Facebook- Van Buren YLC Chapter.  For more information about the YLC program you can contact Melissa Daugherty at 319-293-3171 ext. 1271 or by email at