Friday, January 29, 2016

Game Plan for Super Bowl 50: Are You Drinking or Are You Driving? This is NOT the Time for an Option Play

The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event. On Super Bowl 50 Sunday, February 7, there will be lots of game day socializing that may include drinking. That’s why the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition are urging football fans to call the play now: drinking OR driving. If you plan on drinking on Super Bowl Sunday, designate a sober driver to get you home safely.

NHTSA’s Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encourages people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Driving impaired could result in injury or death for you or others on the road.  

According to data from NHTSA, in 2014 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the United States—31 percent of all vehicle crash fatalities in the nation. The numbers go even higher on weekends. (There were 5,447 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities, making up 40 percent of all fatalities that occurred during weekends.) A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, the set limit in all states. This February 7, don’t become a tragic Super Bowl stat.

Drunk driving is completely preventable.  All it takes is a little planning. We want fans to remember that it’s a choice. Drink or drive—but never do both.

For those who plan to drink, leave your keys at home. Designate a sober driver, whether it’s a friend or relative. Use NHTSA’s new SaferRide mobile app. The app helps people who have been drinking get a safe ride home; it helps users call a friend and identifies their location so they can be picked up. The app is available for Android devices on Google Play, and Apple devices on the iTunes store.

For those who plan to drive, refrain from any alcohol. Instead, enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks. Being a sober, designated driver is a key role on Super Bowl Sunday. You might just save a life.

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl 50 party, designate a responsible driver before the game begins. One way to thank your designated driver is by tweeting us their name during Super Bowl 50, which will appear on NHTSA’s Wall of Fame.  If you’re the designated driver, be sure to tweet us your name during Super Bowl 50, and make NHTSA’s Wall of Fame!

For more Super Bowl weekend safety information, visit 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM

Teenagers across the nation have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW).  The week-long health observance, organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health, takes place Monday, January 25th through Sunday, January 31st.  NDAFW celebrates the inquisitive minds of teens by giving them a space (virtual or physical) to ask questions about drugs and alcohol and to get scientific answers from experts. 

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. 

We want teens to have the opportunity to learn what science has taught us about drug abuse, alcohol, and addiction. There are so many myths about drugs and alcohol cluttering our popular culture.  National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM is for teens to get honest answers about drugs so they can make good, informed decisions for themselves and share accurate information with friends.

For more information on NDAFW please go to their website:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Drug Free Communities Grant Ending

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition received funds in 2005 from SAMHSA to address substance abuse in Van Buren County. The priority areas for this grant included underage drinking, tobacco use and marijuana use. In the last few years the coalition has also looked at ways to address medicine abuse. With these funds the coalition has been able to achieve the following accomplishments:
*Merchant Alcohol Trainings
*SAFE Newsletters
*Town Hall Events on Substance Abuse
*Prom and Graduation Campaigns
*Letters to High School Seniors
*Coalition Website, Blog and Facebook
*Numerous Community Trainings
*Keg Registration
*Tobacco Free Parks
*Completion of CADCA Academy
*SAFE Home Pledges
*Alcohol and Tobacco Compliance Checks
*Updated Conduct Policies at Schools
*Mandatory Team Meetings
*Senior Day– for graduating seniors
*AC4C Day on the Hill– Youth Advocacy
*CADCA’s Coalition of The Year– 2011
*Assistance with Iowa Youth Survey
*Merchant Services
*Merchant Binder
*Drug Free Workplace Support– Policy Development
*Development of a Strong Youth and Adult Coalition

Many of the above accomplishments are being sustained by coalition partners. The Van Buren County Sheriff's Office, Van Buren Community School District, and Sieda Substance Abuse Services have been key players in the coalition and will continue many of these strategies. The coalition will continue to address the issues of underage drinking and binge drinking through the IPFS grant and will continue to seek out additional funds to support the work of the coalition to address other substances of abuse.

For more information on the Drug Free Communities Program you may contact         319-293-6412 or

Monday, January 4, 2016

Make Your New Year’s Resolution to be Tobacco-Free in 2016!

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)