March 2017 ASAC Action Newsletter

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Quiet Change of a Community

Many tend to dismiss substance use as something that is only done by “a certain type of person,” but the reality is any of us could use and even become dependent on a substance.  This use and dependence can lead to a variety of concerns that may impact the community.  For instance, as substance use increases in an area, it is common to see an increase in school problems, workplace issues, crime, violence, emergency room visits, mental health issues and suicides.  In reality, we all may be impacted by the consequences of others’ substance use.

The damage of substance use can become even more serious when youth begin to use, as the consequences may have a lifelong impact. Given the development of the youth brain, youth are at greater risk for developing dependence and use may negatively impact their emotional development. Youth use of substances may also have a serious impact on their education and goals.

Ten years ago, very few stores openly sold drug related products. Today there are at least seventeen stores in the Cedar Rapids metro area that sell glass pipes, bongs, scales, grinders and potentially dangerous substances.  It is known that these items are used to consume or prepare drugs, but these stores will sell these items as “art” or “tobacco paraphernalia.”  A few of these retailers may choose to operate more responsibly by not selling to youth, but this is not the standard for all.  We know that the open sale of substances and paraphernalia increases the likelihood that youth will use through increased availability of drug related items while decreasing the perception of harm.

As we consider the changes we have seen in our community and schools, we must ask ourselves if a change is needed to ensure a safe community and a better future for our youth.  By encouraging responsible retailing we can decrease youth substance use, support effective parenting and create a safer community. For this reason, setting a minimum age to purchase or possess these products makes sense.

The Area Substance Abuse Council is partnering with a number of other organizations and individuals to establish a minimum standard that requires customers to be at least 18 years old to purchase or possess these drug-related products. If you believe this change is needed and want to offer a little bit of help, contact Curt Wheeler at or call 390-1884.

Let’s Have Lunch!

Do you love a good burrito? Or maybe you would rather have a taco or a Mexican salad. How about some chips and salsa or guacamole? Chipotle’s has them all and on Thursday, April 6th, between the hours of 11:30am and 3:30pm, 50% of the cost of your meal at the Edgewood Road Chipotle’s will be donated to ASAC. Yes, 50%!!!

So mark your calendars to have lunch at Chipotle’s, located at 2360 Edgewood Road SW in Cedar Rapids, on April 6th! Please note, you will need to tell the cashier or show the following flyer to have 50% of the cost of your meal donated to ASAC.


Honoring the Life of Nancylee Ziese

NancyleeWe are sad to announce that on February 24th our friend Nancylee Ziese passed away.

Nancylee had been an active volunteer and supporter of ASAC. She became a member of ASAC’s Heart of Iowa Advisory Council in 2000 and then served on ASAC’s Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016; the last three years as Secretary. When on ASAC’s Board of Directors, Nancylee continued her involvement in Heart of Iowa by serving as the board’s liaison to the program’s advisory council.

In recognition of Nancylee’s commitment to ASAC’s Heart of Iowa Mother and Child Recovery Center, the memorial donations ASAC receives in Nancylee’s name will be directed to Heart of Iowa in honor of her lifetime work to improve the lives of women and children.

Assisting Heart of Iowa Patients

WLI LogoASAC is the recipient of a United Way of East Central Iowa Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) grant. This grant award helps to cover the cost of Heart of Iowa’s Care Navigator role. This position was made possible due to the WLI funding and has been of tremendous value to the women at Heart of Iowa.

Last year, the Care Navigator helped the over 150 patients at Heart of Iowa connect with community resources and provided on-going support and follow-up to verify that the patient’s needs or concerns were met.

The Care Navigator meets with every new patient to assess eligibility or involvement in services such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Promise Jobs, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps) and Medicaid. The position also schedules patients for mental health assessments, on-site medical exams, assists patients in obtaining housing and in their job search as well scheduling appointments and transportation to meet patient’s individual needs such as parenting education, domestic violence counseling and support groups, debt management, prenatal care, medical appointments, dental appointments, mental health appointments, and other needs identified during a patient’s stay.

As a result of the Care Navigator position we have seen an increase in the attendance at appointments and an increase in the percentage of Heart of Iowa patients completing treatment. Comparing FY15 to FY16 patient completions; there was an increase from 55% to 66%; both exceeding the 52% goal set by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

We would also like to thank United Way’s Women’s Leadership Initiative for conducting a product drive for Heart of Iowa families. Diapers, wipes, baby food, feminine products, toiletries and makeup were donated by the WLI members.

Update on Ian’s Birdies for ASAC

Ian JohnsonAs reported last month, Ian Johnston, a sophomore golfer at Prairie High School, is conducting a fundraiser for ASAC. Ian lost an older brother to substance abuse and wants to help bring recovery and hope to those struggling with addiction. Ian’s goal is to raise $5,000.

At his young age, Ian has already had many golf accomplishments:

  • 2nd Team All State 4A 2016
  • 2nd Team All-Conference 2016
  • 1st Team All-Metro 2016
  • MVP Varsity Golf for Prairie High School 2016
  • 2nd Place Iowa Junior PGA Player of the Year 2015
  • Co-MVP Varsity Golf for Prairie High School 2015
    • School Low Score at 50% of Meets
  • Honorable Mention Varsity Golf All-Metro 2015
  • State Optimist Champion 2015
  • State Drive, Chip & Putt Champion 2015
  • 2nd Team All American Plantation Tour 2013
  • 3rd Team All American FCWT 2014-2015
  • 5 Time Elmcrest Golf Course Junior Champion
  • City Amateur Champion 2013
  • 3 Time Optimist International World Qualifier

We are honored that Ian has selected ASAC as the benefitting agency for the American Junior Golf Association Leadership Links program and look forward to following his 2017 golf season.

To date Ian has raised $225 and made 12 birdies. Please visit Ian’s webpage at to make a donation, learn more about his fundraiser, and to watch Ian’s video. You can make either a one-time donation or make a pledge per birdie or eagle.

And the Winner Is…

MindFire Communications for ASAC’s Public Service Video in the Best of Category: Film, Video and Sound. The award was presented at the American Advertising Federation: Cedar Rapids – Iowa City’s (AAF: CR-IC) award gala on February 25, 2017.

AAF’s signature yearly event, the American Advertising Awards, provides an opportunity for local work to be recognized and rewarded and forwarded on to district and national level competition. Selection of the most creative entry in each category is affected by a scoring process in which a panel of judges evaluates all creative dimensions of every entry. A GOLD ADDY is recognition of the highest level of creative excellence and is judged to be superior to all other entries in the category. ASAC’s television spot, If Someone Was Drowning, received a Gold Addy!

We would like to thank the board members, former patients and staff that provided feedback, design input/assistance, and guidance to the messaging of this commercial. This is a great honor to the team’s work! And special thanks to MindFire Communications and Benson & Hepker Design for their professional creativity in making this award-winning TV spot. Our hope is in response to this video that more people will reach out and support friends and loved ones to receive help for their substance use disorder.

Beginning a Life of Recovery

In ASAC’s substance abuse treatment programming, we provide our patients with the tools for them to make positive changes in their lives and live a life without abusing substances. A teen in ASAC’s CD+ program recently wrote the following in response to the question: “How has CD+ helped you make changes to be successful when you return home?”

CD+ has helped me develop new skills such as handling my anger better and learning new positive ways to deal with situations. CD+ also gave me suggestions on how to regain my parents’ trust again. I have learned to have positive friends, to stay sober and also to deal with stress and boredom in a positive way.

Open House was a Success

CakeClinton’s Human Service Campus (HSC) Open House in celebration of the building’s five year anniversary had over 100 people in attendance. The event was held on Friday, March 3, 2017 in the HSC gym.

At the event attendees were given the opportunity to learn more about the services each Human Service Center organization provides through table displays and the YMCA Lyons Campus Childcare Center provided tours. A cake that recognized the agencies located in the HSC was also served. Among those in attendance were State Representative Mary Wolfe and State Senator Rita Hart.

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