Family During the Holidays

‘Tis the season for sled riding; cookie baking; and Sunday afternoon football…

Thoughts of holiday activities bring a smile to your face, but did you know these cherished activities have a lasting positive impact on your children? Children from birth to adulthood need regular, interactive time and attention from their parents. The benefits of family time are clear.

Family.Board.GameKids that spend high-quality time with their parents are happier and have higher        self-esteem than their peers. They get along better at school and have better grades. They are less likely to have mental or behavioral health problems and they are less likely to abuse tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. They have lower rates of depression, eating disorders, sexual activity, and suicide. In addition, when something bad does happen to them, they are more resilient and they recover more quickly than their peers.

Family 2This holiday season, let’s make a commitment to give all Allegany County kids the protective benefits of regular family time.

In December and January, share photographs of your family’s favorite activities on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the hashtag #ACfamilytime for a chance to win dinner for four at Wellsville’s Famous Texas Hot ($40 value).

Have a wonderful holiday season and remember “Families Matter!”

Sponsored by PPAC, Family Matters, and Wellsville’s Famous Texas Hot Restaurant.

Family matters logo combined blue roofTexas.Hot.Logo




Teen Advisory Board’s Poverty Forum

The impact poverty has on youth was the topic of ACCORD’s most recent community forum held October 24, 2017 at the David Howe Public Library. Three senior Teen Advisory Board members alongside a school district administrator Katie Ralston, a retired officer Bernie Reilly, and trauma specialist Justin Towers, spoke regarding personal experiences and research regarding the impact of rural poverty on youth. Students attending report the continued need to add the voice of their generation to large scale community issues such as poverty.

“In small communities we look out for one another,” noted a TAB member when describing her volunteer efforts at the mobile food pantry.  In Allegany County one in four students is living below the poverty level.

“Growing up in a home with poverty increases the likelihood of trauma,” affirms Towers. This leads to a myriad of other issues discussed by the panel.

Fillmore’s Reality Check Celebrates Great American Smokeout

new_rc_logo_finalTobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany (CCA) and Reality Check students at Fillmore Central School  are encouraging members of our community to commit or recommit to healthier, tobacco-free lives by participating in the Great American Smokeout  on November 16.

This year to celebrate Great American Smokeout, the Fillmore Reality Check group had their peers take selfies then shared them on social media to support raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 in Allegany County. The group also added the stat “90% of adult smokers started smoking by the age of 18” to their post. Most underage tobacco users get their tobacco products from peers in high schools that are 18 and currently legal to purchase tobacco products. By making the legal age to purchase tobacco products 21 it would cut off that ease of access that many youth have in their own high schools. The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc’s school survey shows that over 27% of high school seniors in Allegany County use some form of tobacco product. Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, along with 8 other counties, and New York City have raised the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.

“Tobacco use continues to be a public health concern, for smokers and non-smokers alike,” says Jonathan Chaffee, youth coordinator at Tobacco-Free CCA. “Smoking is an addiction and quitting is definitely not easy. The annual Great American Smokeout is a great opportunity for community members who smoke to take that difficult first step to quit by asking for help. Even better, it’s a way we can send a message to our youth to not start smoking.”

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the U.S. die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means smoking causes 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Yet, because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions one can have, about 40 million Americans adults still smoke, including 26.8% of adults in Allegany County. The reason: tobacco is addictive, and quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires a lot of support.


“The most important thing current smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of tobacco,” said Ada Sylvester. “And we want our generation, our classmates and friends, to be the one that says no to cigarettes and other tobacco use.”

About the Great American Smokeout

GASO.2.17The American Cancer Society marks the Great American Smokeout on the third Thursday of November each year by encouraging smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting—even for one day—smokers will take an important step towards a healthier life – one that can lead to reducing cancer risk.

Great American Smokeout

GASO.2.17Thursday, November 16th, marks the 42nd Great American Smokeout, a day set aside for smokers and other tobacco users to abstain for at least one day, in hopes that people will quit completely.  The idea began in 1971 when Arthur Mullaney, a Massachusetts resident, asked people to quit smoking for a day and donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a local school.  Shortly after Monticello Times editor Lynn Smith led Minnesota’s first “D-Day” (Don’t Smoke Day), the American Cancer Society’s(ACS) California chapter encouraged nearly one million smokers to quit for the day on November 18, 1976.  Due to the success in California, the ACS took the event nationwide in 1977, maintaining the third Thursday in November as the target date.

GASO.17Research shows that smokers are most successful in “kicking the habit” when they have some means of support, such as nicotine replacement products, counseling, prescription medicines to lessen cravings, guide books, and the encouragement of friends and family members.

Lass.Cancer.More.BirthdaysAccording to the ACS, 1 in 5 deaths in the United States is smoking related, and 87% of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.  Lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer death, is also the most preventable.  If you would like to “kick the habit”, but you are not sure what steps to take, call the Allegany Council at 585-593-1920, x 713, for tips on how to quit and stay quit.  Assistance is also available for users of smokeless tobacco.


Don’t allow yourself to become a replacement smoker or a statistic…join millions of Americans today on a journey to a healthier you!


Allegany County’s Fall Pill Drop Event


Officer Erika Kreamer of the Friendship Police Department, Jones Memorial Pharmacist Kerry Clark, ACASA’s Executive Director Bill Penman, and PPAC Coordinator Jon Chaffee. White boxes contain the total amount of medications collected at the Friendship Ambulance Squad. A total of 134 pounds of medications. 

This past Saturday, October 28, was the Drug Enforcement Administration’s second National Prescription Drug Take Back of 2017. Like so many communities across the country, Allegany County had two locations at the Friendship Ambulance Squad and Fillmore Pharmacy where community members could drop off unwanted or unused medications.


The pill drop events have been taking place in Allegany County since 2008. This has been a partnership between the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Inc.(ACASA), and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC). “These events are an outlet for community members to get rid of old or unused medications in a safe manner,” said Coalition Coordinator Jon Chaffee. “We hear from people all the time that they are so grateful for these events because they did not know what to do with their unused medications otherwise,” said Chaffee.


Bill counting controlled medications collected at Friendship Pill Drop Event.


This year, 32 cars participated, for a total of 148 pounds of medications turned in, which included 1259 pills and 1000 milliliters of controlled substances.  The street value of these controlled substances is estimated at well over $15,000.

“Utilizing the DEA’s Take Back Day twice a year allows us to reach out to communities without pill drop boxes and help educate the community about proper disposal of medications,” said Undersheriff Kevin Monroe.


Allegany County has seven pill drop boxes throughout the county at: Alfred State University Police, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office in Belmont, Cuba Police Department, Fillmore Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar, and Wellsville Police Department. “Pill Drop boxes throughout the county are an asset and are being used quite often,” said Monroe.


The group would like to also thank the Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Police, and volunteers from Jones Memorial Hospital for partnering with them on making the Take Back Day a successful one. For more information on Take Back Day or pill drop box locations, please visit

Domestic Violence Awareness

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence, there is help readily available.


ACCORD Community Action Agency offers access to opportunities, resources, and services to strengthen individuals, families, and communities. Free and confidential support services are available through ACCORD for domestic violence victims and their children at their 24-hour Domestic Violence hotline: 1 (800) 593-5322. In 1987, ACCORD began administering their Domestic Violence Prevention Program. Today, ACCORD secures approximately $7 million in grant funds each year to provide residents with services including small business, child care referral, domestic violence, emergency food, Head Start, homeless and housing, and after school programs.

With nearly 8 million days of paid work each year lost due to domestic violence issues, join us in bringing awareness to Domestic Violence during the month of October!


Seen Enough Tobacco Day

Fillmore, N.Y. – Youth in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (CCA), as well as across New York State, are declaring today, Friday, October 13 as the first ever “Seen Enough Tobacco Day” (SET Day) to protect themselves and other children from the billions of dollars of tobacco promotions in places where they and other youth can see and be influenced by them. The goal is to put an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use.

In honor of the first annual SET Day, youth advocates of Reality Check New York here at Tobacco-Free CCA are showing (and telling) their community they’ve “Seen Enough Tobacco” all day with their online communities on social media and displays in the community. They will share scary facts on tobacco use, its marketing and its impact. The Fillmore Reality Check group painted the windows at the Fillmore Shop and Save to tell the community about the average age of when new smokers start. The hope is to shock the community about how early teens start smoking and build support for a county-wide Tobacco 21 Law.


According to the U. S. Surgeon General, “advertising and promotional activities by tobacco companies have been shown to cause the onset and continuation of smoking among adolescents and young adults.” The day is part of the overall statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative.

“We know that most adult tobacco smokers first tried tobacco as kids,” said Maansi Bansal-Travers, PhD, a research scientist with the Department of Health Behavior at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who focuses on tobacco advertising and promotion.  “Decreasing exposure to tobacco products and tobacco advertising is critical to decreasing youth smoking today.”

“The average age of a new smoker in New York State is 13,” said Reality Check member and Fillmore student Kaylee Willmart. “We need to make people in our community aware of this and take action.”


“Reality Check is a youth-led, adult supported movement,” said Reality Check coordinator for Tobacco-Free CCA, Jonathan Chaffee. “These youth work hard not only for ‘Seen Enough Tobacco Day,’ but every day to advocate for change and create a tobacco-free generation.”


Findings on youth tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing in places where children and young adolescents can see them indicate:

  • The average age of a new smoker is 13 years old, and 90 percent of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.
  • The U.S. tobacco industry spent an estimated $9.5 billion on advertising and promotion of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2013. This includes nearly $220 million annually in New York State, or nearly $602,000 a day.
  • Stores popular among adolescents contain almost three times more tobacco marketing materials compared to other stores in the same community.

Community members are encouraged to attend Seen Enough Tobacco Day events, share photos on social media using #SeenEnoughTobacco and sign the Seen Enough Tobacco online petition at to pledge their support.

For more information please contact Reality Check Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee at

Domestic Violence Awareness Month


It has been estimated that 1 out of every 3 high school students has experienced emotional, physical, mental, or sexual abuse in a relationship. Identifying abuse can be a hard task for anyone, but because of the lack of relationship experience high schoolers have, it’s nearly impossible. Often times, things we consider to be love are actually abusive or controlling behaviors under the surface. Due to the increase in social media presence, these abusive behaviors can be watered down into ideas such as “Oh, they are just acting like that because they care.” Everyone deserves to be in a healthy relationship. It is important that we all take an active stand against dating violence to put an end to abuse and control. We can create the relationships that we all deserve!

What is a healthy relationship?

Healthy.RelationshipThere is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but there are relationships that are perfect most of the time. A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good almost all of the time and generally bring you up, not down. Never in a relationship should you feel unsafe or invalidated. Feeling a lack of confidence or feeling unsupported by your partner may be a warning sign that there are unhealthy behaviors in your relationship. Click on the following link to learn more about the 10 characteristics of a healthy relationship.

Dynamics of an unhealthy relationship

Many times, abusive behaviors are used to gain power or control and can have a negative impact on your mental health or day to day life. In some cases, these unhealthy behaviors might escalate to violence. If you feel like something might be “off” in your relationship, trust your gut and get help. Click the following link to learn about the 10 Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship.


Where can I get help?

There are many resources in and around Allegany County that can help you.

ACCORD offers services for victims of domestic violence. These services include safety planning, help to file an Order of Protection, court advocacy and referrals to resources that could benefit you or a friend. The Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week- (800) 593-5322. Or you may contact ACCORD by visiting the ACCESS Center at 84 Schuyler Street, Belmont, NY, or by calling (585) 268-7605, Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am- 4:30 pm and on Fridays from 8:00 am- 3:30 pm.

You can also seek help with your school guidance counselor or any other trusted adult.

The most important thing is to seek help as soon as you feel you need it. You never know how far the abuse will escalate.

How do I talk to a friend who I think might be in an abusive relationship?

-Calmly start the conversation on a positive note

-Be supportive

-Focus on the unhealthy behaviors

-Keep the conversation friendly, not preachy

-Don’t place the blame on your friend

-Allow your friend to make their own decisions

-Offer solutions to your friend

-Expect more conversations in the future

If you feel like your friend is in immediate danger never hesitate to contact a trusted adult or law enforcement.

Lack of Funds, Doesn’t Mean Lack of Services

The drug that has been dominating the news recently, whether at national, state, or local level, is heroin. Heroin use became more popular as prescription opioids were more difficult to obtain from prescribers, which drove the street value of prescription opioids higher than heroin.  People abusing or who became addicted to prescription opioids turned to heroin as it became cheaper and more readily accessible. In September, Governor Cuomo announced that $25.2 million in federal funding will be used to expand initiatives in New York State to confront the opioid epidemic. Sixteen counties will share up to $16 million to increase access to treatment. Allegany County was not one of the counties chosen; Erie and Niagara Counties were chosen in Western New York.  The counties were designated as high needs, based on the number of opioid overdose deaths, hospitalizations involving opioids, and residents leaving the county to access addiction treatment services. This is unfortunate as more access to treatment is always a valuable resource to the community.

Comparison of the most recent Allegany County data shows that, in 2016, there were two deaths and ten emergency room visits due to opioid overdoses1, and zero deaths and twenty-two emergency room visits due to heroin overdoses.2 On the other hand, there were sixty-five injuries or deaths attributed to alcohol related motor vehicle accidents.3 This confirms that there are different substances being used at a dangerous level.

Even though Allegany County was not chosen as one of the sixteen counties to receive more funding for treatment services, there is still much that can be done in the way of prevention. Prevention initiatives focus on stopping people from becoming addicted to drugs. The first substance abuse prevention lessons that our young people receive occur in their schools from the Allegany Council’s Credentialed Prevention Professionals. They cover many topics including: healthy decisions, refusal skills, and education on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Topics of high importance are educating the young people of Allegany County on addiction and the progression of addiction.


One of the most successful initiatives in Allegany County dealing with prescription opioid abuse is the seven pill drop boxes throughout the county. These help keep prescription opioids off our streets and out of the hands of our young people. In 2016, the pill drop boxes and two pill drop events collected in excess of 1,112 pounds of medications. During that collection 24,061 pills were controlled substances. On October 28, 2017 between 10am to 2pm, the pill drop event will be held at Fillmore Pharmacy and Friendship Ambulance Squad.

Pill Drop Ad Fillmore-Friendship.2017

T21.LogoIn Allegany County, two of the first addictive drugs that young people are exposed to are alcohol and tobacco. Both of these products are legal, but also can be affected by policies that can be passed locally. The first policy that has been proposed for consideration is Tobacco Twenty-One, which has been supported by the Allegany County Board of Health. The purpose of this local policy is to curtail the easy access that teenagers currently have to eighteen-year-old peers in high school. This was first done in Needham, Massachusetts where, after five years, the teen smoking rate dropped by fifty percent. Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and eight other counties, including New York City, have already raised the minimum purchasing age for tobacco to twenty-one.



The second policy that has been discussed is a social host law, which exists in the village of Alfred. The purpose of a social host law is to eliminate the access that young people find in adults who host drinking parties for them. The previous two policies discussed help to change social norms of a community.



The other options could be licensing and zoning laws. Both of these affect the amount of businesses that can sell alcohol or tobacco in the county and where they are located. By limiting the amount of businesses that sell these products reduces availability. This will also limit the amount of marketing for these products which encourages young people to use them. A zoning law limits the location of these businesses. For example, tobacco retailers near schools have been found to have three times more advertising than other stores. All of the policy options discussed are evidence based, which means they are proven to be effective. Preventing our young people from becoming addicted to alcohol and tobacco means deterring them from starting down the road of addiction, which could lead to opioid abuse or heroin use in the future. For more information please visit

Remember Prevention Works!

1 This indicator includes all pharmaceutically and illicitly produced opioids such as fentanyl.

2 New York State – County Opioid Quarterly Report For Counties Outside of New York City; January 2017.

3 Tobacco, Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Indicators – Allegany County 2012-2014.

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day


“Standing Together to Prevent Falls”

Fall is just around the corner, but falls shouldn’t be just around the corner for older adults.  That’s why Allegany County is joining communities from across 48 states to declare Falls Prevention Awareness Day on the first day of fall, September 22, 2017.

While falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injury for people 65 years of age and older, they are not an inevitable part of aging.  The 10th annual Fall Prevention Awareness Day theme, “10 Years Standing Together to Prevent Falls,” seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injury among older adults.

The Allegany County Fall Prevention Collaborative was established in 2009 to combat the issue of falls in older adults.  “Allegany County has made major strides toward reducing the risks of unintentional injuries in older adults,” stated Melissa Biddle, Community Health Division Manager with Ardent Solutions.  “Recent data collected from the New York State Department of Health and the Health Foundation for Western & Central New York indicates a significant positive change in the rate of hospitalizations due to unintentional falls,” continued Biddle.

Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend:

  • A physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components.
  • Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment.
  • Having medications reviewed periodically.
  • Getting eyes checked annually.
  • Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive.
  • New research also suggests hearing loss should be routinely assessed

Programs like “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falling” and Growing Stronger are held throughout Allegany County to help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and ensure confidence to live healthier lives and preserve their independence.

Older adults are invited to join Growing Stronger in any of our eleven convenient locations; including Andover, Angelica, Belfast, Belmont, Bolivar, Canaseraga, Cuba, Fillmore, Friendship and Wellsville (2). The weight bearing exercises are free to attend and are instructed by peers.  For more information, please call Melissa Biddle, Community Health Division Manager with Ardent Solutions, Inc. at 585-593-5223, ext. 1015.

Falls are not a part of the natural aging process.  Falls can be prevented. Remember Prevention Works!