Prom is a night that many teens view as one of the most memorable experiences of their high school years. It can be a beautiful and fun night spent with friends and classmates, or it can be a night they would much rather forget. But with a little bit of forethought and some simple planning, you can make sure they have a wonderful time and you won’t have to worry about them anymore than usual. Continue Reading
Last fall the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition hosted a workshop with Dr. David Jernigan, Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing & Youth and Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and during that training attendees learned that in America, 15% of breast cancer is related to alcohol use. Although, it is extremely important to find cures for cancers, in the prevention world, it is hard to ignore and not focus on what can be causing different medical conditions. Each fall, on a cool and crisp autumn morning, thousands of us all dressed in brightly colored t-shirts remember those who have passed and those who have survived, line up to participate in the “Especially for You Race” to raise money for mammograms and other breast care services. Most of us know someone has had breast cancer and the impact is huge. But are other preventative measures also important? Continue Reading
Dating back to the early-1970s, 420 has been used as a slang term for smoking marijuana. With the spreading use of the term through publications such as High Times, April 20 (4/20) has become recognized by marijuana smokers as a holiday dedicated to the use of the drug. This widespread activity led Dr. John Staples, an internist and researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, to use this day to look at the effect that marijuana usage can have on the safety of our roadways. As his numbers bear out, April 20 increases the rate of fatal vehicular accidents to the same degree as the Super Bowl, a day where celebrating with alcohol is a widely accepted fact. Continue Reading
On April 28, 2018 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host the 15th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This national event provides communities across the country with an opportunity to safely and conveniently dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. As a community, it’s important we all take an active role in safely disposing of these medications to keep our homes and communities safe. By doing so, you will be helping to prevent youth and adults from misusing or abusing medications, preventing accidental and intentional poisonings or overdoses, and protecting the environment by keeping medications from getting into our water sources. Many of our local communities offer free, year-round drug disposal locations that are safe and convenient for individuals to dispose of prescription and OTC medications. For more information on the DEA’s Take Back Day locations near you, please visit https://takebackday.dea.gov/ or call ASAC Prevention Services at (319) 390-1884.
By: Amy Doerrfeld, ASAC Certified Prevention Specialist
St. Patrick’s Day Means Elevated Drinking, Lots of Risk
For anyone that has been around festivities on St. Patrick’s Day, it will likely come as no surprise that the holiday founded in remembrance of Ireland’s patron Saint, is considered by some estimates to be the fourth biggest drinking day of the year. While adult consumption of alcohol can be done safely and responsibly, reasonable drinking guidelines are often discarded in favor of excessive drinking, known as binge drinking.
Just what exactly is binge drinking? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism gives us a specific definition as, “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08 grams perfect or above”. Generally speaking, this means drinking 5 or more drinks within a two hour period for men, or 4 or more drinks for women. Contrary to some beliefs, binge drinking does not necessarily mean a person is alcohol dependent, or would have a diagnosable substance use disorder, but rather indicates an irresponsible drinking pattern that could endanger anyone.
Binge drinking may be more common than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 1 in 6 Americans engages in binge drinking four times a month. Demographically, the age group most prone to binge drinking are those aged 18-24 at 26.1%, though even middle aged persons report a rate just short of 16%. Statistics show binge drinking being particularly high on St. Patrick’s day, with more than 1/3 of drivers involved in fatal accidents on this day having a BAC above the legal limit These crashes occur once every 46 minutes during the Holiday.
It is important to note that binge drinking is nothing to shrug off; it can have very serious risks. The impairment effects of alcohol on the body in high amounts can increase your risk for injuries due to accidents, including car crashes. The behavioral influence of alcohol can also increase incidents of violence, including sexual assault. Physically, binge drinking is associated with cognitive problems including memory and learning impairment long-term. Cancer risks can increase over time, and regular binge drinkers put themselves at risk for a whole host of other chronic diseases including liver and heart disease. In the short-term, heavy binge drinking can also put you at risk for alcohol poising and bouts of unconsciousness.
How do we avoid binge drinking? For some, abstinence may be the best choice. This is especially true for those that have had alcohol dependence, those that are underage, or for those with certain medical conditions or those prescribed medication that alcohol can interfere with. Others may wish to puruse low-risk drinking, which is generally considered to consist of no more than 3 drinks on any given day, totaling no more than 14 drinks in a week. A “drink” would be 12oz of beer with 5% alcohol content, or 1 oz. for most forms of liquor. Above all, be aware of how your drinking may be affecting, you. Low risk is not no risk, so taking precautions like safe transportation can make a big difference.
By: Jeffrey Meyers, ASAC Certified Prevention Specialist
Some of you may remember Ian Johnston who dedicated a golfing fundraiser to raising money for ASAC in remembrance of his brother who passed away due to a substance use disorder.
Now Ian has been nominated for the Des Moines Register’s I Am Sport Award for his involvement with his raising awareness for alcohol and substance abuse.
There is a public voting period to narrow the nominees down to 3 finalists. You can help him by selecting Ian Johnston and clicking the green “vote” button. You can vote once per day now through March 20.
Congratulations, Ian on the amazing work you’ve already accomplished!
The damage smoking does to the lungs and heart is well documented, moving us beyond the health debates of the 1960’s. However, similar debates are currently taking place in regards to the health impact of e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices.
Many of the debates have centered on respiratory system, cancer and lung health. Though e-cigarettes don’t deposit tar into the lungs and don’t have as many known carcinogens, they are not without their health concerns. We are now gaining a better understanding of some health concerns, including respiratory issues linked to chemicals in “e-juice” and cancer causing substances that may be as high as or higher than that of traditional cigarettes. Some studies are now showing health concerns related to the heart and cardiovascular system. Continue Reading
Compliance Checks and BARS Program Show Mixed Results
Selling alcohol, whether sold off-site or served on-site in a bar or restaurant, is not something to be taken lightly. Businesses who sell alcohol face a litany of legal and safety concerns. For these reasons, the Jones Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition feels strongly that comprehensive alcohol service policies should be promoted to our community business partners, and occasionally tested. One of the best practices to test is the carding policy of businesses, wherein all persons appearing under the age of 35 be asked for identification prior to service, acting as a strong safeguard against potential underage sales. Continue Reading
By: Kelly Schmidt, ASAC Certified Prevention Specialist
Kids face many difficult situations and choices while growing up. It’s often hard for them to know how to protect themselves from peer pressure and from issues they might be faced with at home and throughout society. Sometimes when life gets tough and they don’t know what to do or how to handle things, they turn to drugs to fit in or to escape their reality. Prevention is key in regards to substance abuse. The best time to intervene and reach someone is early in life so they can learn coping skills and life skills that will help them through the adversity and challenges they might be faced with. We at ASAC work with kids at schools and transitional settings to help them learn to handle the challenges they face. One way we do this is by facilitating small support groups using a research based curriculum known as CBSG or Curriculum Based Support Group. This curriculum has 10 lessons with an option for 2 additional lessons and is used for kids as young as 4 up to 17 years old. Each lesson has a theme with an activity that relates to building resiliency but also allows time for sharing and discussion. We have had positive responses from the kids in our groups and from the staff that support these kids. We have great relationships building with schools and youth serving organizations and we hope to continue for many years to come.
By: Amy Doerrfeld, ASAC Certified Prevention Specialist
The New Year is often a time of year filled with much hope and an opportunity to make a fresh start. Many people find themselves looking for ways to become healthier in the New Year and one of the ways that can help them is to quit using tobacco. If you or someone you know is looking to “Hit the Reset Button” and begin the New Year tobacco free, Quitline Iowa is here to help. They have Quit Coaches available who are dedicated to helping improve the health and well-being of Iowans. In addition, some may be eligible for free nicotine replacement therapy. To learn more about available services or to enroll into their program, please visit www.quitlineiowa.org or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Remember, it’s never too late to quit and Quitline Iowa is here to assist Iowans along their journey towards becoming tobacco free in 2018.