Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays from the SAFE Coalition Staff!

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 15, 2016

Plan a Sober Ride This Holiday Season - Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving

This holiday season, the SAFE Coalition is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to always plan a sober ride before the holiday parties begin.  Too many people take to the roadways after consuming alcohol because they think they are “okay to drive.” During the holiday season, festive parties and celebrations with alcohol contribute to the number of impaired drivers on our roadways. 

We want to keep our roads safe this holiday season and help people understand that the only time they should be behind the wheel is when they are sober. Alcohol affects people differently, and you don’t have to be feeling or acting drunk to be too impaired to drive.  Any consumption of alcohol can impair your judgment and reaction times, making it unsafe for you to drive.  Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving is a nationwide impaired driving campaign to inform all Americans about the dangers of driving after drinking.

Drunk driving kills thousands of people in our country every year. In 2015, 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on our roadways, and 29 percent (10,265) died in crashes that involved a driver with a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit of .08.  This time of year is especially dangerous. In December 2015 alone, there were 840 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

Drinking and driving should never mix, therefore we want everyone to plan a sober ride in advance if they will be celebrating the holidays with alcohol.  Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic because you failed to plan ahead.  This holiday season, the SAFE Coalition and NHTSA urge you to designate a sober driver before you start drinking. If you plan on drinking at all, plan not to drive.

Remember these tips to avoid a DUI and to 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 causing a crash.
·         If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead - designate a sober driver before the party begins.
·         If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a sober friend or family member.  Also, try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.
·         Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and then take them home, or help them arrange a safe ride home.
·         If you see a driver on the road that appears to be intoxicated, contact police when it is safe to do so. Your actions could help save a life.

Remember to play it safe this holiday season and always plan your sober ride before the festivities begin. If you are buzzed, do not drive. Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving.  For more information, visit or contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, December 8, 2016

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 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

December 20th at 6pm- Roberts Memorial Building
December 21st 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” 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!  If you are interested in participating in a group purchase of new and up to date ID Scanners coordinated by the coalition please contact Kris at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tips for Party Givers

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition would like to encourage you to avoid making alcohol the main focus of social events this holiday season. Entertain guests with music, dancing, games, food, and lively conversation.  Did you know that one in three adults prefers a non-alcoholic beverage? Make sure to offer plenty of nonalcoholic choices such as sparkling water, fancy juice drinks, soft drinks, and bottled drinking water.  Also provide guests with nutritious and appealing foods to slow the effects of alcohol. High protein and carbohydrate foods like cheese and meats are especially good. They stay in the stomach much longer, which slows the rate at which the body absorbs alcohol. Avoid salty foods, which encourage people to drink more.

Require bartenders to measure the correct amount of liquor into drinks (no doubles), and instruct them not to serve anyone who appears to be impaired. Have the bartender check the ID of anyone who appears to be under the age of 30 (no ID, no alcohol).

Stop serving drinks at least 1 hour before the end of the event.  Instead, serve coffee, non-alcoholic beverages, and desserts at that time.

Your responsibility as a host is even more important when the party is over. Be prepared to offer your guests alternate forms of transportation, such as: Ask someone who was not drinking to drive a guest home; Call someone to come and drive them home; Offer your place to spend the night; If the person insists on driving despite his or her obvious intoxication, take the keys, ask for help from other guests, or temporarily disable the car; If all else fails, say you will call the police (and do so).

The following non-alcoholic drink recipes are a courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Join Together, a national resource center for communities working to reduce substance abuse.  Many of these unique drinks can add “flavor” to your party by giving your guests healthy, tasty alternatives to alcoholic beverages. Enjoy!

Citrus Collins
Fill a 10–12 oz. glass with ice cubes
2 oz. orange juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. flavored syrup
Fill with club soda. Garnish with an orange slice or a cherry.

Mai Tai
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup club soda
1 tbsp. cream of coconut
1 tbsp. grenadine syrup
In a shaker or tall glass, combine ingredients; shake or stir to blend.  Add crushed ice.

Lemon-Strawberry Punch
6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 pkg. frozen sliced strawberries
6 oz. frozen lemonade concentrate
1 quart carbonated water
1-quart ginger ale
Sliced bananas
Sliced oranges or lemons
Combine frozen lemonade, strawberries (half-thawed with juice), and orange juice. Place in a punch bowl with ice. Just before serving, add carbonated water and ginger ale. Garnish with thin slices of orange, lemon, or banana. Serves 20.

Holiday Delight
Blend the following ingredients in a mixer:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/4 cup cranapple juice
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 banana
Pour into a tall glass.

Viennese Coffee
1/4 cup whipped cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Beat until stiff.  Pour 3 cups of very strong coffee (decaffeinated is fine) into four cups. Float whipped cream mixture on top. Garnish with 1/2 tsp. grated orange peel. Use cinnamon sticks in each cup as servers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Prescription Drug Take Backs

Prescription drug abuse is a growing concern in Iowa, due to the misuse of prescription painkillers (opioids), anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medicines, stimulants, and others medicines.  When not used as directed, controlled substances can lead to behavioral disorders, addiction, and even death.  This is also true of heroin, increasingly used by some as a substitute for opioid pain medicine.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take in your home and community to help prevent prescription and opioid drug abuse.  By monitoring your medicines at home and disposing of them in a safe manner (not flushing), you can prevent the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs and protect Iowa’s water supply.

You have three options to properly get rid of unneeded over the counter and prescription drugs locally as outlined below.

1.      “Take Back Kiosks” (BEST!): More than 50 local law enforcement centers and community pharmacies have established permanent Take Back collection boxes, and the number of sites is growing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office now offers this service.  The Kiosk is in the entry way and is available during normal Sheriff’s Office hours.  This program allows you to dispose of all medications (prescription, over the counter, controlled and non-controlled).  It does NOT allow for the disposal of inhalers, sharps/needles or liquids.  In the first week, the Sheriff’s Office took back 21 pounds of medications and disposed of them with the help of the local DEA Office in St. Louis, MO. 
2.      “Iowa Pharmacy Association’s “Take Away” program” (Better): Lee Pharmacy has this program available for non-controlled substances.  Just stop into the pharmacy and they will be able to help you understand how their program works. 
3.      “Take Back Events” (Better…but you may have to wait): Twice each year, on a Saturday in the Spring and Fall, law enforcement agencies team up with local organizations in over 100 Iowa communities to sponsor a special one-day collection of unused medicines.  Details typically are provided closer to the dates of these events, but general information is available at the DEA's Website:

For more information on how to dispose of your medications safely please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Information provided by the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Americans Flock to National Drug Take Back Day - Safe disposal of unused medications addresses opioid epidemic

Six years after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) launched its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Americans continue to turn out in large numbers to rid their homes of unused medications, including controlled prescription drugs (CPDs) such as painkillers, tranquilizers, and stimulants. 

On October 22, 2016, nationally the public turned in 731,269 pounds—almost 366 tons—of medication to DEA and more than 4,000 of its community partners at almost 5,200 collection sites nationwide.  Locally in Van Buren County there were 27 pounds collected by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve Officers at the Drug Take Back Day Event.  Over the life of the program, 7.1 million pounds (more than 3,500 tons) of prescription drugs have been removed from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and nightstands by citizens around the country and 193 pounds have been removed in Van Buren County. 

“Take back programs offer a safe, simple, and anonymous way to keep dangerous prescription drugs out of the wrong hands and prevent substance abuse,” said Chuck Rosenberg, Acting DEA Administrator. 

Unused medicines in the home are a problem because the majority of the 6.4 million Americans who abused CPDs in 2015, including the almost 4 million who abused prescription painkillers, say they obtained those drugs from friends and family, including from a home medicine cabinet, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released last month.  Some painkiller abusers move on to heroin:  Four out of five new heroin users started with painkillers.  Almost 30,000 people—78 a day—died from overdosing on these painkillers or heroin in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In the last two years since new regulations made the disposal of CPDs easier for patients and their caregivers, many law enforcement agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics have begun continuous collection of these medications.  The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office now has an Rx Take Back Box in the lobby for Van Buren County Residents to dispose of their unused Rx and over the counter medications in.  No liquids, inhalers, or needles/sharps may be disposed of here.   In one week the Sheriff’s Office collected 21 pounds of medication.  Please continue to use this important service to dispose of your medications safely and without harming our environment.  Also, Lee’s Pharmacy continues to take back non-controlled substances at the pharmacy. 

For more information on Prescription Drug Take Backs please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Give Yourself Something To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

The seasons are turning from warm summer days to cool crisp mornings and vibrant fall colors. The season for thanksgiving is upon us and this is a time to give thanks for all things important to you.  While there are many things you may be thankful for in your life some may be dealing with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. The SAFE Coalition wants to take this opportunity to provide you with resources to assist you in your decision to become free of Drug Addiction.  Keep in mind drug addiction includes addiction to alcohol and tobacco.
It takes courage and strength to face up to drug addiction. When you’re bogged down in drug abuse and drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your current situation seems.

Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by making lifestyle changes that address the root cause of your addiction. Don’t give up, even if you’ve tried and failed before. There are many different roads to recovery, but almost all involve bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about making the necessary changes, you’re already on your way. These seven steps will help you on your road.
1.       Decide to make a change.
For many people struggling with addiction, the biggest and toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you realize it’s causing problems in your life. Change is never easy.
2.       Explore your treatment options
Once you’ve made the decision to challenge your drug addiction, it’s time to explore your treatment choices. Options can be found online, by talking to your doctor or calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
3.       Reach out for support
Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having a solid support system is essential. The more positive influences you have in your life, the better your chances for recovery. Recovering from drug addiction isn’t easy, but with people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, it’s a little less tough.
4.       Learn healthy ways to cope with stress
Even once you’ve recovered from drug addiction, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug problems in the first place. Did you start using drugs to numb painful emotions, calm yourself down after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? After you become sober, the negative feelings that you used to dampen with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, and to remain sober in the long term, you’ll need to resolve these underlying issues as well.
5.       Keep triggers and cravings in check
While getting sober from drugs is an important first step, it’s only the beginning of the recovery process. Once sober, the brain needs time to recover and rebuild connections that have changed while addicted. During this time, drug cravings can be intense. You can support your continued sobriety by making a conscious effort to avoid people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use.
6.       Build a meaningful drug free life
You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. It’s important to be involved in things that you enjoy and make you feel needed. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.
7.       Don’t let relapse keep you down
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course.

By taking the above steps to become free of addiction next thanksgiving you could be giving thanks for a sober life.

Information provided by Helpguide. Additional information can be found on their website at If you would like additional local assistance you may contact the SAFE Coalition at, by phone at 319-293-6412 or online at

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Local Social Host Ordinance FAQ

Q:  Who is a social host?
A:  The ordinance states: A social host is any person who aids, conducts, allows, entertains, organizes, supervises, controls, or permits an event, gathering, or party.  This includes, but is not limited to a) the person(s) who owns, rents, leases, or otherwise has control of the premises where the event, gathering, or party takes place; b) the person(s) in charge of the premises; or c) the person(s) who organized the event.  If the social host is a juvenile, then the parent(s) of that juvenile will be jointly and severally liable for any violation of this chapter. 

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance apply to property owners who are not present and do not know about the underage consumption of alcohol on their property?
A:  The ordinance states:  The social host knowingly permits or allows underage persons to consume alcoholic beverages, and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs; The social host reasonably should know that an underage person or persons has consumed alcoholic beverages, and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs; The social host knowingly permits or allows underage persons to possess an alcoholic beverage, and/or controlled substance(s), and/or prescription drug(s).  A social host who hosts such an event, gathering, or party does not need to be on the premises at the time the prohibited act occurs to be in violation of this chapter. 

A social host has an affirmative defense if the social host took reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or controlled substances, and/or prescription drugs such as contacting law enforcement and allowing officers onto the premises for the purpose of stopping these illegal activities.

So, if the property is utilized for an underage drinking party without the owner’s knowledge the owner cannot be held liable. 

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance apply to events on Public Property?
A:  The ordinance states that a premises is any home, yard, farm, field, land, apartment, condominium, hotel or motel room, or other dwelling unit, or a hall or meeting room, park or any other place of assembly, public or private, whether occupied on a temporary or permanent basis, whether occupied as a dwelling or specifically for a party or other social function, and whether owned, leased, rented, or used with or without permission or compensation.

So if an event is held on public property where underage persons are consuming alcohol and the host knowingly allows the consumption to go on they can be held liable. 

A social host has an affirmative defense if the social host took reasonable steps to prevent the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or controlled substances and/or prescription drugs such as contacting law enforcement and allowing officers onto the premises for the purpose of stopping these illegal activities.

Q:  Does the Social Host Ordinance give authorities permission to enter private property without permission?
A:  This ordinance does not allow authorities to come on private property without permission.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Underage Drinking Affects our Communities and Our Children

By: Ray Brownsworth
CEO, Van Buren County Hospital
SAFE Coalition member

In a recent survey conducted on behalf of the SAFE Coalition, drinking was identified as a normal social activity by our middle and high school students. Some may write this off saying this is part of growing up or even a rite of passage. We are however talking about our children for whom alcohol has become the drug of choice and at what price?

Motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides and other accidents are prevalent among our young people claiming nearly 5,000 lives annually according to national statistics. (Alcohol Alert #67, January 2006, US Department of Health and Human Services)  Perhaps less lethal but equally important is that children who participate in underage drinking can have abnormal brain development, memory loss,  attention deficit, as well as mental problems such as depression and anxiety. High school dropout rates are higher and there are lower levels of educational achievement. Underage drinking can lead to increased sexual activity and disease presence at younger ages and lead to the use of other drugs.  (Fact Sheets - Underage Drinking, Center for Disease Control, November 12, 2015)

According to a town hall meeting held on Community Health conducted this year, over 76% of participants indicated that there is an underage drinking problem in the county and 88% indicated that adults’ acceptance of underage drinking contributes to underage drinking overall. The 2014 Iowa Youth Survey found that 27% of 11 graders had at least 1 drink in the last 30 days and 15% of 11th graders had participated in binge drinking in the last 30 days. 81% of 11thh graders indicated it was easy or very easy to get alcoholic beverages in Van Buren County.

The SAFE Coalition is working with community members, merchants, schools, hospitals, local governments and others to keep our children safe and alcohol free, to teach our children about responsible alcohol use, and to raise community awareness and support.  Specifically with the Iowa Partnership for Success Grant funds the coalition is addressing the availability of alcohol to youth at community events held in public places and privately owned facilities.  The coalition would like to see policies put in place that would restrict access to alcohol by youth aged 12-20 at these events.  The recommendation of the coalition is to have written policies that require alcohol service best practices for community events.  These policies could include licenses for events in public places for alcohol to be sold, separate fenced areas for alcohol sales and consumption, IDs being checked before sales are made, wrist bands provided to those of legal age, etc.  At privately owned facilities without alcohol licenses the policies could include a separate area for alcohol consumption, IDs being checked, etc. or even no alcohol allowed at the facility. 

The Coalition works with local teens, parents and businesses to be aware of the presence and danger of underage drinking, to step up local enforcement of current laws, and to hold them responsible. The coalition is seeking support from community event organizers in public and private places to help keep youth alcohol free at their events. You can make a difference! 

If you are interested in being a part of the work of the coalition or these strategies specifically please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or  For more information on how to reduce or eliminate underage drinking visit or or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Facebook.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition was awarded the Iowa Partnership for Success (IPFS) Grant in 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County.  The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition’s IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On Halloween, and Every Day, Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving – The SAFE Coalition Reminds Halloween Partiers Against Drinking and Driving

This Halloween, the 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 with a designated a sober drive. 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.

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 as $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 like 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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rx Take Back Event This Saturday October 22, 2016

REMINDER: Clean out your Medicine Cabinet and bring your unused and expired Over the Counter and Prescription Medications to the Rx Take Back Event!!! This Saturday, October 22, 2016 at the Keosauqua Senior Center, 801 Front Street, Keosauqua, IA 52565. For more information contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or info@vbsafecoalition.comCannot take needles/sharps or inhalers.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Underage Alcohol Use – Not a Rite of Passage

Many people dismiss underage drinking as a normal “rite of passage” in adolescents.  However, it is important to remember that alcohol is one of the most common contributors to injury, death, and criminal behavior among youth (Hingson and Kenkel, 2004). Underage alcohol use can have immediate and potentially tragic consequences as well as long-range harmful consequences, such as increased risk for chronic alcohol addiction (Grant and Dawson, 1997). Enforcement activities to limit youth access to alcohol are critical to reducing underage drinking and its often tragic consequences.

Who is a Social Host?  A social host is someone who knowingly allows an underage person to consume alcohol illegally on the host’s property. 

What is Social Host Liability?  Social Host Liability is the legal term for the criminal responsibility of a person who allows such illegal activity.

What would this ordinance/law aim to do?
·         The Social Host Ordinance /Law is aimed at those who allow persons under legal age to consume alcoholic beverages in or on property they own or control.
·         This ordinance/law would address enforcement and prosecution problems where persons knowingly permit or allow underage drinkers to have a party on their property, even when the owner didn’t supply the alcohol, and persons, including parents, who knowingly permit or allow their children’s friends to consume alcohol at their home, even where the parents didn’t supply the alcohol. 
·         The ordinance/law only applies to those who know the underage drinking is going on and do not stop it, or who gave permission for it to occur in the first place.  It would not apply to persons who did not know the underage drinking was occurring on their property.  For example, if the parents were away, and their child had a party at their home and the parents were unaware of it, those parents would not be charged.

Why is This Important?
·         We want our youth to grow up to be strong, healthy and drug-free.
·         Even when the property owner did not supply the alcohol, it is still illegal for underage youth to consume alcohol. Adults, including parents, who knowingly permit youth to consume alcohol at their home, are sending the wrong message to our youth.
·         Currently, only the person who actually physically sells or gives the alcohol to the person under legal age can be prosecuted.
·         Underage drinkers may obtain the alcohol from one person, and then go somewhere else to drink it.  Common examples are parties that take place in rural areas, or at the home of one of the underage drinkers.  Adults have told police they knew about the party and it was okay with them, “because the kids weren’t driving and I knew where they were.”  This is still condoning illegal behavior.  Currently, there is no charge that applies to these situations.

Neighboring Jefferson County passed a similar ordinance on September 20, 2013. The SAFE Coalition consulted with Jefferson County's Assistant County Attorney Pat McAvan in regard to their ordinance.  McAvan shared, “Law Enforcement and Prosecutors hope that they never have to charge a violation of this ordinance in Jefferson County.  The primary goal is to educate people and change the community’s attitude about underage drinking and substance abuse while providing a mechanism to redirect poor decisions.  This ordinance is the tool that will do both.” 

He also shared the following:
·         Since the ordinance was enacted in Jefferson County and the City of Fairfield they have each only had one investigation.   In both cases the offending party moved out of the area before they could be prosecuted. 
·         The successes are hard to measure but they are there.  The community is more aware of this issue and their responsibility if they are a social host.  In addition, there has been a slight increase in communication with law enforcement when something does happen or is planned in the County.  People would rather speak up ahead of time than face charges after the fact. 

For more information about the proposed Local Social Host Ordinance please contact the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or