Thursday, January 26, 2017

Call the Right Play for Super Bowl LI: Pass the Keys to a Sober Driver Before the Big Game Begins

Football fans across the country will celebrate America’s most watched national sporting event, Super Bowl LI, on Sunday, February 5. For many, the celebration will include drinking alcohol.
That’s why highway safety and law enforcement officials are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge all football fans to call the right play on Super Bowl weekend by passing the keys to a sober driver before the drinking begins.
Drunk driving can be deadly. A driver is considered alcohol-impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, but even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment and reaction times enough to make driving unsafe. According to NHTSA, in 2015 10,265 people—29 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States that year—were killed in crashes that involved an impaired driver.

Super Bowl Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk. If you want to be the MVP of Super Bowl LI, volunteer to be a designated driver to help your family and friends get home safely. Drunk driving only leads to disaster and tragedy. It is never worth the risk. If you do plan to drink, remember to pass the keys to the sober driver before kickoff.

Fans that have been drinking can secure a safe ride home by designating a sober driver or by calling a sober friend or family member.

In addition, NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, available on the app store, is another resource to help football fans who have been drinking find a sober ride home–by identifying their location and helping to call a friend to pick them up.

Designated sober drivers for Super Bowl weekend should refrain from drinking alcohol and enjoy the game with food and non-alcoholic drinks instead. They can tweet @NHTSAgov during Super Bowl LI to be featured on NHTSA’s national Wall of Fame.

This Super Bowl weekend, be a team player and help keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. Designate your sober driver before the big game begins. And remember: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
For more Super Bowl weekend safety information, visit

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Van Buren Community Schools and SAFE Coalition Supports OTC Literacy Program to Educate Tweens on Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety

Van Buren Community Schools and SAFE Coalition are teaming up with the American Association of Poison Control Centers and Scholastic to help educate tweens on the safe use of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines with a national OTC Literacy education program. The Van Buren Community Schools and SAFE Coalition will be implementing the OTC Literacy program during the month of January at the Van Buren Community Elementary School.  Research shows that tweens begin to self-administer medicine around 11 years old, or in fifth to sixth grade. In 2012, America’s poison centers managed more than 296,000 exposure cases involving children ages 6 to 19 and over half of these cases involved medication errors and misuse.

Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about the responsible use of OTC medicines. With approximately 10,000 children visiting emergency departments every year due to errors from self-administering OTC medications, it is important for parents and guardians to discuss the safe use and storage of OTC medicines with their tweens. The OTC Literacy program equips parents, teachers, and guardians with the necessary materials to help facilitate these critical discussions.

Below are the Top Five tips from the OTC Literacy program that are helpful as parents discuss self-administration, safe use, and   storage of OTC medicines with their kids:
·         Tweens should only use OTC medicines with permission and supervision from their parent or guardian.
·         Always read and follow the Drug Facts label, and never take more than what’s directed on the label.
·         Know what is in your medicine and never use more than one medicine with the same active ingredient.
·         Always use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Never use household measurement tools like teaspoons, tablespoons, or kitchen spoons.
·         Store medicines up and away and out of sight after every use.

Successfully launched in schools nationwide in 2013, the OTC Literacy program includes resources and engaging educational activities specifically designed for parents and teachers of tweens to increase knowledge of OTC safety and responsible use.  This month Dr. Blair, VBCH Doctor, Sara Coffin, Van Buren Community School District Nurse, Kitty Bogle, SAFE Coalition Member, Mr. Pickens, 5th grade teacher, and Ms. Pratt, 5th grade teacher are sharing the OTC Literacy Curriculum with the Van Buren Community School 5th grade students. 

The program places special emphasis on the message that tweens should only take OTC medications with the permission and supervision of parents or guardians. Please visit for supportive tips on how to discuss OTC Literacy.  For more information on medication safety or the OTC Literacy Curriculum please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

WARRIORS IGNITE TEENS TAKE PART IN National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week 2017

The Warriors Ignite Group joins teens across the U.S. in week-long effort to
SHATTER THE MYTHS on drugs and alcohol

Teenagers from Warriors Ignite have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (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 23rd through Sunday, January 29thNDAFW 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.  As part of the NDAFW celebration, Warriors Ignite students are drug and alcohol facts with their peers at the Van Buren Community Jr. /Sr. High School with daily announcements and a graffiti wall outside of the nurse’s office at the school. 

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 the fall of 2014, 27% of Van Buren County 11th grade students reported having had at least one drink in the past 30 days, and 15% of them reported having had 5 or more drinks in a row at least once in the past 30 days.  81% of 11th graders also reported it would be easy or very easy for kids under 21 to get alcoholic beverages.  During the assessment phase of the IPFS Project in 2015 youth and young adults reported that two of the places youth under 21 are accessing alcohol is at parties in friends’ homes or at community events in Van Buren County. 

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 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.

For more information on National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week and the Warriors Ignite Group please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or  Also look at the following websites for more information: or  Remember to talk with your kids about Drug and Alcohol Abuse and how it can affect them and the rest of their lives.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017


The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition will be completing an audit of all Van Buren County Licensees.  When it has been completed the coalition staff will send each owner/manager a copy of who is or is not trained at your business.  Kris will also be making herself available to meet with business owners/managers to help you with your business and any questions you may have in regard to licensing rules and training your staff.  In order for a local business to be eligible to eliminate administrative sanctions on a local compliance check the employees must have a current certification with the coalition from the free Merchant Alcohol Training.  In order to eliminate administrative sanctions on a state patrol compliance check your employees must be trained through I-PACT the ABD online training system.

The process that the coalition encourages merchants to follow for training is as follows:

1. Orientation DVD: Checking ID’s– Easy as 1-2-3
2. SAFE Merchant Alcohol Training Program
3. I-PACT Online Training Program– Iowa ABD

Upcoming Merchant Alcohol Trainings are available to all businesses and employees, FREE of charge.  The training includes information on how to properly check id’s, how to spot a fake id and additional tips for servers and merchants who sell alcohol.  The trainings in 2017 will be held every other month unless a business is in need of a personal training.  The trainings below will be held at the VBCH Community Services Center in February and at the Roberts Memorial Building in April:

February 21—6:00 pm
February 22—9:00 am
April 18—6:00 pm
April 19—9:00 am

If you have employees who need to be re-trained or who have never been trained plan to get them to a training as soon as possible. If you are unsure of the status of your employees you may contact the coalition office. If you would like to set up a private training for your business please contact Kris at 319-293-6412. If you have other questions or concerns the coalition can be reached via email at or by phone at 319-293-6412. RSVP is required for all trainings.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Make Your New Year’s Resolution to be Tobacco-Free in 2017!

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)