Thursday, January 25, 2018

Don’t Fumble: Tackle Drunk Driving Before the Clock Starts

Kickoff on America’s favorite past time is just about ready to start. For many football fans, when it’s time for Super Bowl LII, everyone’s a fan…and Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.  Van Buren County highway safety, law enforcement officials, and the SAFE Coalition are huddling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge football fans across the nation not to drop the ball on this issue.

In all states, drivers are considered alcohol-impaired if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drunk driving can be deadly, and even small amounts of alcohol can impair judgement to make driving unsafe. In 2016, there were 10,497 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drunk drivers. Among the 10,497 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities, 67 percent (7,052) were in crashes in which at least one driver had a BAC of .15, almost twice the legal limit.

Be sure to have a game plan for the night so friends and family know who the designated driver is. We want to encourage folks to turn over their keys to a sober driver – our vote for game MVP – before they begin drinking. Drunk driving can result in serious crashes, injuries or death. In addition, NHTSA’s SaferRide Mobile App, available in the app store, is another resource to help fans who have been drinking find a sober ride home—by identifying their location and helping to call a friend to pick them up.

Sober designated drivers should be sure to carry the ball and refrain from drinking alcohol. Be sure your designated driver tweets @NHTSAgov during Super Bowl LII 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. Don’t fumble! 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 18, 2018

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 January 22-26, 2018 at the Van Buren Community Elementary School with the fifth grade classes.  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, and Mr. Pickens, 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 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


YLC joins teens across the U.S. in week-long effort to SHATTER THE MYTHS ®
on drugs and alcohol

Teenagers from the Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council have joined forces with other teens and scientists across the United States as part of “National Drug and 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 22 through Sunday, January 28. 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. As part of the NDAFW celebration, the YLC students are promoting the NDAFW IQ Challenge and will participate in some educational activities during their meetings.

More than half of high school seniors across the country report using alcohol, and about 14.3 percent report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year.  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. 

On the 2016 Iowa Youth Survey youth in Van Buren County reported the following facts on substance abuse in Van Buren County:
·         17% of 11th Graders reported having 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row on at least one day in the past 30 days.
·         27% of 11th graders reported having had at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days.
·         45% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for kids under 21 to get alcoholic beverages in their community.  The 11th grade students had 83% report it is easy or very easy for kids under 21 to get alcoholic beverages in their community. 
·         11th graders reported that during the past year they got alcohol from the following sources: 3% Bought it, 7% Gave someone money to buy it, 18% Got it at a party, 13% A friend who is under 21 gave it to them, 10% A friend who is over 21 gave it to them, and 10% Got it from a parent
·         40% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for kids under 18 to get cigarettes in their community. 
·         27% of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders reported that it is easy or very easy for a kid their age to get marijuana in their community.

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 and 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 ND&AFW, YLC or the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition staff members at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017 or or check out the coalition website, the coalition blog, or on Facebook at Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or Van Buren County Youth Leadership Council.  

Friday, January 5, 2018


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 you a copy of who is or is not trained at your business.  Coalition members are 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 3 Step Employee Training Process that the coalition encourages merchants to follow for trainings 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

The SAFE Coalition will be holding merchant alcohol trainings during the month of January on the 23rd at 6:00 pm and the 24th at 9:00 am at the Roberts Building Conference Room in Keosauqua. The trainings in 2018 will be held every other month unless a business is in need of a personal training and those can be set up through the coalition by calling 319-293-3334 ext. 1017.

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 319-293-3334 ext. 1017. If you have other questions or concerns the coalition can be reached via email at or by phone at 319-293-3334 ext. 1017. RSVP is required for all trainings.