“First introduced as a benign cessation aid, e-cigarettes have now been linked to a myriad of health concerns and are becoming more popular than ever before. Watch as prevention specialist Jeffrey Meyers and Dr. Thomas Gross of the American Lung Association discuss the rapid rise of e-cigarette use. Find out the health risks, marketing trends, and concerning youth appeal.”
Prom Safety Guide – For Parents
By: Mica Moeller
A rite of passage, a ceremonial occasion, a nerve-wracking night for teenagers that’s filled with dresses, dancing, decorations and drama. You know what I’m talking about – prom!
It might be a distant memory to you and some aspects of prom have changed throughout the years but honestly it’s basically the same now as it was then. Now it’s your turn to have the talk to your children about prom. The talk that has made parents and their kids wince about for generations. Luckily for you, I am here to break down the steps on when and what to talk about to make this night run a little more smoothly and save you both some headache.
Weeks leading up to prom:
So much planning goes on during the weeks leading up to prom night. Finding the perfect dress or tuxedo, making reservations, and booking that limo might all be on your to-do list. Well I have a couple more topics to add in.
- Educate yourself – Know the latest youth drug trends in your area. Be aware of the signs of youth under the influence and find other parents in your area to talk to about these issues and to lean on for support.
- Medical emergencies – Teach your child about alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, and teen dating violence. Let them know they should never ignore a medical emergency and always call for help if they see signs of one.
- Safety concerns – Signs of someone under the influence of a substance, never ride in a car with someone who you think is impaired, never engage in sexual relations with somebody who might be under the influence, and protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- Pressures – Just like when you were a student, the pressures of 2019 are very similar. Let them know that not everyone is actually participating in substance use and sexual intercourse. Only 4 out of 10 teens have sexual intercourse before the age of 18 (CDC, 2016). Only 2 out of 10 Iowa teens in 11th grade have had a drink of alcohol in the past 30 days (Iowa Youth Survey, 2018). 1 out 10 Iowa teens in 11th grade have used marijuana in the past 30 days (Iowa Youth Survey, 2018).
One week out:
The anticipation is building. It’s the week of prom! All last minute plans and preparation is being done. Now is the time to have the meaningful conversations with your child.
- How you feel – Tell them how much you love them, accept them, and how you’re always there for them. Let them know that you are always one call or text away. They can always contact you if they need something – no questions asked.
- How they feel – Ask them if they have any concerns about health, safety, or pressures for the night.
- Share your thoughts and experiences with them. Give them advice on how to handle situations.
- Discuss final plans and expectations that you have for them. What time they need to be home, when to update you throughout the night, and how they are doing are some examples of expectations.
Night of prom
Tonight is the night. All of the anticipation comes to a peak and here you are letting your child go off for the night. You’re hoping they have fun and stay safe. It’s the last chance you’ll get to have a quick chat before they leave.
- Tell them how great they look and how lucky you are to have them! You care for them immensely and hope they have a great time tonight!
- Discuss how they can be responsible tonight while still enjoying themselves.
- Ask if they have any last minute questions or concerns tonight.
- Remind them you are here for them at anytime and not to hesitate if they need help. Also remind them of your expectations that night.
The night is over and life is settling back in. There a few things left to talk about before the next event comes up.
- Listen about the night’s events.
- Ask if there were any situations that they wish would have gone different.
- Remind them how proud you are of them and how much you love them.
The Very Real Dangers of Binge Drinking:
Holidays like St. Patrick’s Day Highlight Risks of Excess Consumption
When picturing St. Patrick’s Day festivities, it’s likely you’ll think of alcohol, and perhaps lots of it. This is for good reason, as this Holiday commemorating the patron saint of Ireland is regarded as one of the biggest drinking days of the year. While adult consumption of alcohol can be done safely and responsibly, reasonable drinking guidelines are often overlooked in favor of excessive drinking, known as binge drinking.
But what is binge drinking? Generally speaking, this means drinking 5 or more drinks within a two hour period for men, or 4 or more drinks for women. 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 harm yourself or potentially others.
Binge drinking may be more common than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find that 1 in 6 Americans engages in binge drinking an average of four times a month. 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 2/3 of drivers involved in fatal accidents on this day alone having a BAC above the legal limit. Crashes on St. Patrick’s day occur at a rate of once every 46 minutes.
The risks of binge drinking are hard to overstate. The impairment effects of alcohol can increase your risk for injuries from accidents, and has been linked to an increased rate of violence, including sexual assault. Binge drinking also is associated with cognitive problems including memory and learning impairment, which may be permanent. Binge drinkers also face elevated cancer risks in addition to a whole host of other chronic diseases including liver and heart disease.
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, persons taking certain medications, and those with medical conditions that may become exacerbated with any alcohol use. Others may wish to follow-risk drinking guidelines. Low-risk alcohol consumption 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 the same as no risk, so taking precautions like safe transportation while consuming any alcohol is always a good idea.
Contact Person: Jeffrey Meyers
Telephone: 319-390-1884 Ext. 205
Relaxation, travel, sleep, and free time — these are words come to mind when thinking of spring break while you’re a college student. No matter how you choose to spend your break, there are some risks to remember during this joyous time.
We have heard the stories of consuming too much alcohol and the decisions and behaviors that follow suit. We haven’t heard the association between spring break and marijuana use as often. With more and more states legalizing recreational use, there has been a decline in the perception of harm. In fact, the University of Michigan found that less than 20% of high school seniors perceived risk of harm regarding marijuana use (2013). Some risks to be aware of, whether you are spring breaking in a legalized state or not, are behavioral, legality, and safety.
Some typical behaviors associated with marijuana use are distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, and difficulty in thinking and problem solving. These behaviors could be a contributing factor in avoidable accidents such as automobile or personal injury.
Knowing your federal, state, and local marijuana and traveling laws are important to avoid legal trouble. Marijuana use is still illegal on a federal level. This means that you can receive federal charges for transporting marijuana across state lines, smoking marijuana in public or on federal land. State laws and local community laws vary so it is important that you are aware of both when traveling. Diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under their state law to other states could put you at risk for arrest and punishment also.
Much like binge drinking, binge smoking happens when someone who doesn’t smoke marijuana on a normal basis decides to smoke heavily for a period of time. Binge marijuana use paired with a party atmosphere and other substances, such as alcohol, can contribute to unsafe situations. To avoid these situations, you should stay in groups and keep track of your friends. Also using small doses of any legal substance instead of binging could lower the risk of being caught in an unsafe situation.
It is important to have breaks and enjoy yourself. Knowing possible behaviors, laws, and safety precautions is equally important during your spring break. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun!
Some New Year’s Resolutions are easily broken; others are sincerely made, but hard to keep. The decision to eliminate tobacco from your life is a commitment that takes self-control and support. Linn County reminds Iowa residents who have made the healthy choice to quit smoking that help and support is available through Quitline Iowa.
In Iowa, 16.7 percent of adults smoke. One in four Iowa adults uses tobacco in some form; cigarettes are the most used. Tobacco is the leading cause of death for Iowans, taking the lives of more than 5,100 adults each year.
The benefits of stopping the use of tobacco are almost immediate, said Linn County Public Health Director Pramod Dwivedi. “According to the American Cancer Society, within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within two to three months, your circulation improves and your lung function increases. After one year of living tobacco free, the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.” Even so, nicotine is an addiction and breaking that addiction can be challenging. Quitline Iowa can provide help.
Quitline Iowa pairs tobacco users with a Quit Coach® to help them develop an individualized quitting plan and determine the best way to help them stay tobacco-free. A Quit Coach® also helps by:
- Preparing participants for their quit date
- Providing tips and support to live in a smoke-free environment
- Offering advice and information on medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms
Iowa residents can take advantage of the program by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), or visiting www.quitlineiowa.org to enroll. Registration specialists and Quit Coaches® are available 24 hours a day.
As medical marijuana legislation has evolved across the United States, in Iowa we have also seen a change in how we regulate and recommend CBD oil. In 2014, Iowa passed its first piece of legislation allowing the use of CBD oil; allowing the oil when recommended by a neurologist and only for patients suffering from epilepsy. CBD oil was allowed to limited to 3% THC and patients would be issued a state ID card. But with limitations imposed by separate state and federal laws hampering the ability to manufacture, distribute, or transport the oil; Iowans were never able to take advantage of this law as it was written.
In 2017 – as the 2014 law was scheduled to sunset – the Iowa Legislature enacted the Medical Cannibidiol Act. This compromise between the Iowa Senate and House maintained the 3% THC limit for CBD oil, but expanded participation eligibilities and added a manufacturing and distribution framework. Under this new law, any licensed physician could recommend CBD oil to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, seizures, AIDS and HIV, Crohn’s Disease, ALS, some terminal illnesses, and untreatable pain. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) was mandated to establish a registry that would track the oil from manufacture to distribution; with this process starting at two IDPH-selected manufacturers and ending at any of five IDPH-selected distributors across the state.
Including Iowa, well over half of American states now allow some form of medical marijuana, with a number of those also legalizing recreational use. Despite these changing laws, there is still hesitancy among many in the medical community to get behind this movement. Without proper studies and testing, a lot of questions remain surrounding the costs v. benefits, the interactions with other drugs, and the proper regulation of medical marijuana. As the marijuana lobby continues to tout the success of marijuana in some medical cases, the underlying question still remains: Do we regulate medication through elected officials or through proven scientific study and research?
National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is the entire month of October this year and aims to highlight the role that substance use prevention plays in communities and remember those who have lost their lives to this disease. Prevention plays an enormous role in communities by promoting awareness of what is affecting them on a local level and showing them what is key to building safe and healthy communities across the country. This month is a month for reflection, action, and for optimism.
According to a survey done on young Americans, 11 percent of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption is consumed by ages 12-20 and approximately 23 million people ages 12 or older have used illicit drugs in 2010. Due to these staggering statistics is why National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is so imperative for education and awareness in communities to aid in reducing these percentages. In order to facilitate this there are coalitions and professionals that attends and utilizes resources online and together to reduce these numbers.
Some of the country wide event ideas this year to help promote this month are promoting a pep rally within a school to create a “prevention pep rally” that students can pass out stickers and information to help raise awareness. Another idea is doing mural paintings working with a school to create murals that encourage substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion. Also promoting a workforce event that is focused on staff skills, in this there would be a workshop or training session about a prevention topic relevant to your community. Another workforce even could be hosting a substance free “happy hour” or potluck, where employees could discuss the benefits of an alcohol-free diet for a broader focus on health and wellness.
Following is an email Jennifer Simmen, ASAC Counselor, received from a former patient that she referred to Heart of Iowa.
Hi! Not sure if you remember me or not…however…I was your very first patient. I was driving by your office today and it made me think that I never got to thank you for everything that you did for me and my girls. You did so much in a very small amount of time and you became a key to the turning point in my life. Continue Reading