Thursday, April 28, 2016


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has found that one of the largest problems facing our community today is the underage use of alcohol.  As graduation time draws near, we encourage all families with high school seniors to not provide alcohol at your graduation parties as the parties are in honor of your student.  Also please take time to discuss the potential dangers that occur when alcohol is available at graduation celebrations or other parties your senior may attend these last days of the school year. They should consider the consequences they could face for consuming alcohol under the legal age.

Underage drinking can have varied consequences for the youth of Van Buren County.  Making the decision to consume alcohol under the age of 21 could take away the chances of receiving financial aid in college.  If convicted of alcohol use, it will be on their permanent record, which is something Federal Aid takes into serious consideration.  They may not be able to practice the following careers in Iowa if convicted as well: accountant, architect, attorney, chiropractor, dentist, engineer, law enforcement, medical doctor, nurse, optometrist, pharmacist, physical therapist, physician assistant, psychologist, real estate broker, court reporter, social reporter, teacher, or veterinarian. 

Most people would never think of violating laws related to drug use, but the community norm regarding use of alcohol is often thought of differently.  Clear expectations and boundaries are important components of healthy community norms and values.  Positive adult role models also play a significant role in establishing these norms.  While it is legal for adults to consume alcohol, graduation parties are not held in honor of adults.  Such celebrations are held in honor of the young person for their achievements and graduation from high school.

Please examine your personal beliefs about alcohol use by young people and the example set by our community during graduation time.  We are hoping you will plan to join the many families who are celebrating their student’s graduation in an alcohol-free environment. Congratulations and best wishes to your high school senior and your entire family on behalf of the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition!

For more information about underage drinking or the SAFE Coalition please feel free to contact the office at 319-293-6412 or via email at  If you are interested in what the SAFE Coalition has been doing please check it out on the web: or Van Buren County SAFE Coalition on Face Book!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

After Prom Parties 2016

Van Buren County Rx Take Back Event - April 30, 2016

SAFE Sent Community Member’s to the 2016 Iowa Drug Endangered Children Conference

This year the annual Iowa Drug Endangered Children Conference was held in Des Moines on April 4th.  Drug Endangered Children (DEC) are part of a very large and growing population of children whose lives have been seriously and negatively impacted by parental or caregiver drug abuse. Hundreds of children across Iowa go unnoticed and do not receive the necessary intervention and care to heal from these abusive environments.

The purpose of this conference was to provide best practices in identifying and caring for drug endangered children.  This conference was intended for professionals who work with drug endangered children and their families including those from law enforcement, human services, prosecution, healthcare, mental health, substance abuse treatment and prevention, child development, education, and foster parents. At the completion of this program the participants should be able to list the healing stages for children from addicted families and describe the current drug trends in Iowa.  The breakout sessions offered a variety of options for additional education and enhanced participants’ understanding of the benefits of utilizing a Crisis Child Care/ Crisis Nursery program for Drug Endangered Children; differences between cannabis-based medicine and “medical marijuana”, and why they’re important; new localized strategies to protect our children from heroin and opioid use and addiction; the importance of experiential learning as a therapeutic tool; and the role of MDTs in the criminal prosecution of child abuse.

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition sent two Parents as Teachers staff members to the conference this year.  For more information on the Iowa DEC Conference or local prevention work being done by the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Prom—Parents, have you talked to your teen about alcohol yet?

You as a parent may be able to prevent your child from becoming the next statistic by setting a few simple rules about underage drinking.  Before sending your teens off to prom, talk to them about alcohol—it just may save their life. 
Here are some tips on how to prepare your teen for these events: 
·         Make sure your child has a plan for the evening and that you know it.
·         Set rules with your child and stick to them.
·         Let the consequences be known and stick to them.
·         DO NOT HOST A PARTY FOR MINORS—underage drinking is illegal.  You as a parent are liable, and could face legal consequences.  Allowing a party with alcohol on your property, even if you do not provide the alcohol is now illegal per the Iowa State Social Host Law. 
·         Take stock of the alcohol in your house.
·         Discuss the school’s rules with your child and the consequences for violating them.
·         Disapprove of underage drinking.
·         Do NOT rent hotel rooms for prom-goers.
·         Communicate with other parents and school officials about the on-goings of the night so you are informed. 
·         Stay up for the prom-goer’s return home.
·         Encourage your teen to attend the schools post-prom party
o   Harmony- Fort Madison Family YMCA
11:00 pm-5:30 am
Hypnotist, Knocker Ball, Bouncy Obstacle Course, Glow in the Dark Dodge-ball, Swimming & Movies!
For More Information Contact:
Sandy Hootman – 563-447-4721
Winter Peck – 319-253-5123
Cara Proper – 319-217-0074
Jen Fett – 319-850-2439
o   Van Buren- Roberts Memorial Building
11:00 pm-3:15 am
Hypnotist, Laser Tag, Shooting Sports, Air Brush Tattoos, Corn Hole, Twister, Wii Games, Guessing Game, Photo Booth & Ping Pong! 
For More Information Contact: Dixie Saunders – 319-288-0833

For more information on talking to your children about alcohol, feel free to visit the SAFE Coalition website at or call 319-293-6412.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thank you from the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council!

The VBC Youth Leadership Council held a Color Run, Free Will Donation Supper and Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 6th at the Roberts Building and Fairgrounds.  The YLC members would like to thank all of those who helped to support this event.  There were 85 participants in the color run/walk, which was amazing especially for a chilly rainy night.  We would also like to thank the VBC Cattleman’s Association for grilling the sandwiches for the event; April Smith for donating the color for the Color Run; and Kitty Bogle, Gloria Brown, Julie Chapuis, Lisa Plecker, and Ann Skaggs for the wonderful baked goods!  Thank You to Kitty Bogle, Pat McAvan, VBC Sheriff Dan Tedrow and VBC Attorney Abe Watkins for their presentations during the Town Hall!   Lastly, we would like to thank all the volunteers that helped make the event possible!  Thank you for supporting the VBC Youth Leadership Council throughout the year!

ALCOHOL AWARENESS MONTH APRIL 2016 Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use

The need to provide meaningful education on the dangers of underage drinking and drug use in Van Buren County has never been greater. It is important to know that parents can play a significant role. As kids get older and alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and helping their kids do the same.

It can be daunting to talk with your children about drinking and drug use, but it will be well worth the effort you put into it. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.

As a parent you can be a primary source of positive and reliable information and it is important to take advantage of “teachable moments.” It’s not so much about “the big talk,” but about being there for them when the issues come up -- on TV, at the movies, on the radio, about celebrities or sports figures, or about their friends. If you miss your opportunity to teach your kids about alcohol and drugs, they will get their information from the media, the internet or other sources that not only misrepresent the potential negative impact of alcohol and drugs but actually glorify their use!

You have more influence over your kids’ attitudes and decisions about alcohol than you think. So start early! Children go through many different stages as they grow up and what’s appropriate to tell an 18-year-old and a 9-year-old can vary quite a bit. Yet, it’s never too early to begin the conversation. The more informed children are, the better off they’ll be.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some basic guidelines to assist you: 
·         Listen Before You Talk -- Encourage Conversation: As parents we want to have “all the answers.” And, sometimes we are so anxious to share our wisdom – or our opinion – that we don’t take the time to listen. For kids, knowing that we are really listening is the most important thing we can do to help.
·         Talk to Your Child and Ask Open Ended Questions: Talk to your child regularly – about their feelings, their friends, their activities. As much as you can, and sometimes it’s not easy, try to avoid questions that have a simple “yes” or “no” answer.
·         Be Involved: Get to know your child’s friends and continue to educate your child about the importance of maintaining good health – psychological, emotional and physical.
·         Set Expectations, Limits and Consequences: Make it clear that you do not want your child drinking or using drugs and that you trust them not to. Talk about possible consequences, both legal and medical, and be clear about what you will do if the rules are broken.
·         Be Honest and Open: Care about what your child is going through as they face and make decisions that will affect their lives now and for the future.
·         Be Positive: Many parents have discovered that talking about these issues with their children has built bridges rather than walls between them and have proudly watched those children learn to make healthy, mature decisions on their own.
·         Family History: Both research and personal experience have clearly documented that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you have a family history of problems with alcohol or drugs, be matter of fact about it, as you would any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference.  The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.”

This April the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is celebrating Alcohol Awareness Month by raising public awareness about underage drinking and encouraging parents to speak to their kids early and often about alcohol and other drugs.  For more information about Alcohol Awareness Month, contact NCADD at  You may also contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Adventureland Tickets

The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has discounted tickets for Adventureland.  The cost per ticket is $22.  The tickets are only good for the Substance Free Weekends at Adventureland on April 30th, May 1st, May 7th or May 8th, 2016.  These special days are held at Adventureland to increase awareness of Drug Prevention Programs.    

This Substance Free event is a great way to spend a fun filled day with family and friends.  You may purchase these tickets for your entire family while supplies last.  Admission will not be available at this price at Adventureland during this event.  If you are interested in going to Adventureland on any of these dates please contact the SAFE Coalition by phone at 319-293-6412 or by email at  


On April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Reserve Officers, the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its 11th opportunity in six years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your pills for disposal to the Keosauqua Senior Center at 801 Front Street, Keosauqua, IA 52565.  (The DEA cannot accept liquids or needles or sharps, only pills or patches.)  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

Last September, Americans turned in 350 tons (over 702,000 pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 5,000 sites operated by the DEA and more than 3,800 of its state and local law enforcement partners.  When those results are combined with what was collected in its 10 previous Take Back events, DEA and its partners have taken in over 5.5 million pounds—more than 2,750 tons—of pills. 
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.
For more information about the disposal of prescription drugs or about the April 30 Take Back Day event, go to the DEA Diversion website or contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or