June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

ElderAbuseLogo_t300Adult Protective Services (APS) is the division of Social Services that investigates reports of suspected abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults in the community. This includes financial exploitation.

Financial exploitation occurs for a number of reasons; sometimes the motive is insidious; but often it is a lack of education about the responsibilities of managing an elder’s finances. A power of attorney (POA) document allows an individual (Agent) to manage a person’s (Principal) finances. The Agent has legal responsibilities called fiduciary duties. Those responsibilities are that the Agent must act in the Principal’s best interest. The Agent has to pay bills, taxes, etc. on time. The Principal’s money must be separate from the Agents; keeping all titles, bills, and expenses in the Principal’s name. Joint bank accounts are not allowed. The Agent must keep complete records of all income and expenses.

report-elder-abuse-logoPreventing financial exploitation is a community effort. Considering a POA? Meet with an attorney. If you have Power of Attorney, know your responsibilities. If you suspect that someone is being exploited, speak up. To report potential adult abuse call (585) 268-9319.  For more information visit Allegany County’s Department of Social Services or call (585) 268-9316.

Allegany County Department of Social Services is a member of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC).

Remember Prevention Works!

Enjoy the Outdoors Safely in Allegany County this Summer

We are fortunate here in Allegany County to be surrounded by over 60,000 acres of public lands, all of which are available for both residents and visitors to experience year round, but become even more accessible during the warm late spring and summer months.  Within this county alone, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) manages 23 State Forests, 4 Wildlife Management Areas, the Wellsville-Addison-Galeton (WAG) Trail, and numerous fishing and boating access sites.  There are also several county managed forests which are open to public use; the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail, operated by NYS Parks; and the Finger Lakes Trail, which crosses our county on both public and private lands, on its route across the state between Allegany State Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve.

From Plumbottom State Forest in Amity and Ward, to the Genesee Valley Wildlife Management Area in Granger, to Palmer’s Pond State Forest in West Almond, DEC’s land parcels offer something for everyone who looking to spend time outside this summer.  Remember that these lands are YOURS; they belong to you.  As such YOU have the responsibility to take care of them so that they will be there for future generations by following a few simple rules that are in place to ensure the areas are left in a pristine condition and to protect the natural environment, as well as to protect the people using these areas:

  • Turnpike State ForestNo cutting of live trees or vegetation.
  • Take all garbage home with you; leave the area clean.
  • Campfires must be attended to at all times, and extinguished fully upon departure. Most wildfires are human caused and preventable.
  • Keep vehicles on designated roadways or parking areas. ATVs are prohibited (except with a disability permit on designated trails).
  • Underage alcohol possession is prohibited.

For more information on additional regulations on DEC lands, check the website listed at the end of this article, or call a Forest Ranger, who will be glad to answer any questions you may have.  It is important to be aware of what classification of state land you are visiting.  For example, on State Forests, you may camp most anywhere you please (with some exceptions), provided your tent site selected is at least 150 feet from roads, trails, or water, or on a designated site.  (There are a few designated campsites along roads or next to water in many of the State Forests.)  However, on Wildlife Management Areas, camping is generally prohibited, except with some exceptions in designated sites and under permit.  Camping on state land in Allegany County is free, and (on State Forests) you only need a camping permit if you are staying for more than 3 nights, or have 10 or more people in your group.  These are available for free by contacting a Forest Ranger in advance.

Keep in mind, this is a rustic form of camping; these are not State Parks, so you will need to be prepared.  There are no restroom or water facilities.  Boil water for at least one minute if used for drinking.  There is no garbage pickup.  Clear flammable material from around your fire ring.  You may use any firewood you find on site, if it is dead and down.  Do not bring firewood from outside the area, in order to prevent the spread of destructive insect pests to our forests, such as the Emerald Ash Borer, and others.


Boating in Allegany County is popular on Cuba and Rushford Lakes.  Canoes and kayaks may also be used on Alma Pond, Allen Lake, the Genesee River, and several other smaller public ponds and water bodies.  The Genesee River has seen a large increase in the number of paddlers in recent years, thanks to a joint partnership in access development coordinated by the non-profit organization, Genesee River Wilds.  Wherever you go, plan ahead and prepare; stay within your skill level; wear a properly fitting life vest; and if you drink alcohol, do so responsibly.  All these waters are open for fishing, provided you are properly licensed.  (You only need a license once you turn 16.)  A great time to get out and try it, if you don’t yet have one, is DEC’s annual Free Fishing Weekend, which this year takes place on June 29 and 30th.

rushford lakeAside from the moderate to long distance trails mentioned above, hiking is available across all state lands in Allegany County.  Stay on marked trails if you are a novice.  The DEC lands have many access roads with limited traffic that are good for walking; some of these are gated and also open to hiking.  Carry a map and compass and GPS, especially if you plan to go off trails – and know how to use them.  Tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to return.  Keep yourself well hydrated to avoid dehydration.  Be prepared for any situation, even accidentally still being in the woods after dark!  Do not hesitate to call 911 if you think you are lost, or if you think somebody you know has not returned when they should.  One of the Forest Rangers’ primary responsibilities, along with state land law enforcement and wildfire management is search and rescue in our wooded areas.

Keeney Swamp State Forest.jpgThere are many other activities for you to enjoy on DEC lands in Allegany County in the summer, other than those already discussed, depending on your interests: geocaching / orienteering; nature viewing and photography; swimming / wading (allowed on State Forests, but not on Wildlife Management Areas); mountain biking; trail running; and horseback riding, to name a few.

“Whatever you choose to spend your time outside this summer, have fun, and please be safe!” – Justin Thaine, NYS DEC Forest Ranger

For more information:

NYS DEC – select ‘Recreation’, then ‘Destinations’

NYS DEC Lands and Forests office (located in West Almond), 585-466-3241

NYS DEC Forest Rangers in Allegany County: 585-415-1521 and 585-403-9574

Genesee River Wilds

Finger Lakes Trail

Partners for Prevention in Allegany County


Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition Supports National Prevention Week


Ever wonder how you can help prevent suicide in Allegany County? In support of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week, and as a member of Partners for Prevention, the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition strives to educate community members about suicide prevention, intervention and postvention efforts. To prevent suicide, we need your help to reduce stigma, build awareness, and support those at-risk for suicide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data on the ten leading causes of death in the United States recently. Tragically, suicide—too often a consequence of untreated mental illness and substance use disorders, and as such a preventable condition—remains on that list as the 10th leading cause of death for adults and the second-leading cause of death in our youth. Suicide rates increased from 29,199 deaths in 1996 to 47,173 deaths in 2017. However, with the appropriate level of care and treatment most people can find hope for a better tomorrow.


Know the Risk Factors

What are the contributors to the state of mind that ends in a person taking their own life? Risk factors can include any of the following:

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders.
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies.
  • History of trauma or abuse.
  • Major physical illnesses.
  • Previous suicide attempt(s).
  • Family history of suicide.
  • Job or financial loss.
  • Loss of relationship(s).
  • Easy access to lethal means.
  • Local clusters of suicide.
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation.
  • Stigma associated with asking for help.
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment.
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma.
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet).


Know the Warning Signs

Although not everyone exhibits warning signs, being able to identify them may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide; especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.   If any of the following signs are present, seek help immediately.

 Immediate Risk of Suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Extreme mood swings.
  • Suddenly feeling happy or at peace because he or she has come to a resolution.


  • If your life or someone you know is in imminent danger, CALL 911.
  • Offer help and support.
  • Stay with the person until assistance arrives.
  • Remove any objects that may be used for harm.
  • For additional assistance, call the NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 1-800-273-5233 (TALK) or the Allegany County Crisis Hotline 1-888-448-3367.



Join the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition at any of our upcoming workshops; including SafeTalk, Talk Saves Lives, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), and Youth Mental Health First Aid, or share your time and support as a member of the Coalition.

Are you a survivor of suicide loss? Support Groups are available in Cuba at the Cuba Cultural Center on the second and fourth Thursday of each month or the Wellsville Youth for Christ Center on the second Tuesday of each month.

To learn more, like us on Facebook or call Beth Blauser at 585-593-5223, ext. 1010.

Together We Can Prevent Suicide…

Remember Prevention Works!

New York Youth Speak Out At Tobacco Giant’s Shareholder Meeting

Teens Say They Won’t Be “FUULed” by the Company’s Latest Bait and Switch Tactics

120 teen leaders from New York State will took on Altria Group executives and shareholders on May 16th for the fourth consecutive year. Their actions, centered outside the Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, Virginia, and areas nearby, focused on why the tobacco giant baited consumers and public health officials with the promise of withdrawing pod-based nicotine products from the market in order to combat teen vaping use, and then switched  their priorities by investing $12.8 billion in e-cigarette company JUUL Labs. The teens represent Reality Check of New York and No Limits of Nebraska.

“Altria blamed nicotine pods and fruity flavors for fueling a surge in teen vaping,” said Jonathan Chaffee, coordinator of the Reality Check program of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties.. “If that’s the case, then why did they invest in JUUL, the company that made these types of e-cigarettes so popular?”

“Despite what they say, Altria spends billions marketing their deadly products right in front of us, first cigarettes and now JUUL” said  Olivia Lang, Reality Check champion. “Their goal is to create a new generation of customers—just in a different product. Enough is enough, already!” Studies show that kids who shop in stores with tobacco marketing, such as gas stations and convenience stores, are 64 percent more likely to start smoking than their friends who don’t.

The teens dressed in waders and carried fishing poles with a fresh catch of JUUL nicotine pods and Marlboro cigarettes hanging from them. They want Altria executives, as well as the entire tobacco industry, to know that they won’t be “FUULed” by Big Tobacco investment in JUUL and will continue to carry out the awareness-raising work they start in Richmond in their communities back home.

Some youth will take their stories right to the biggest fish – the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Altria Group, Howard Willard. Eight Reality Check teens and two youth leaders have been given shareholder proxy tickets and went inside the meeting to address corporate tobacco executives and ask questions.

Altria’s investment will allow JUUL products to be displayed alongside regular cigarettes in the nation’s retail outlets, a combination that undercuts earlier promises Altria made with former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to clamp down on the youth vaping “epidemic.”


Public health officials and youth leaders for Reality Check, who have successfully fought to eliminate youth-attracting marketing tactics like colorful packaging and candy flavors in cigarettes through the years, see this as their next big battle to reduce teen tobacco use.

Reeling in more information: 

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

  • The average age of a new smoker in New York 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.
  • 37% of Allegany County high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days in 2019.
  • 66% of teenagers who vape reported they vape for the flavors.


This Altria shareholders demonstration is a joint effort between Reality Check NY, No Limits of Nebraska and Counter Tools of Chapel Hill, NC, a non-profit organization that provides training to public health workers who are working on point of sale tobacco control. In preparation for demonstrating on Thursday, the Reality Check youth spent all day Wednesday learning about tobacco control policies, how the tobacco industry contracts with retailers and how they can stand up, speak out and make a difference in the fight against big tobacco.

Reality Check is a teen-led, adult-run program that seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use among young people throughout New York State.


For more information about Reality Check, visit realitycheckofny.org.


CATCH E-cigarette Prevention

CDC E-cigarettes

Truth Initiative’s BecomeAnEx

Marijuana and Illicit Drug Use

Parents, did you know that marijuana can be addictive?  According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), those who begin to use marijuana before age 18 are more likely to develop marijuana use disorder than adults.  Short-term effects while using or right after using include the following:

  • Learning, attention, and memory problems
  • Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • Poor coordination and motor skills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety, paranoia
  • Psychosis (not common)

Long-term effects (effects of repeated use) include:

  • Risk of marijuana addiction
  • Long-term learning and memory problems if heavy use begins during youth
  • Risk for chronic cough, bronchitis
  • Risk of schizophrenia in some people with higher genetic risk
  • In rare cases, risk of recurrent episodes of severe nausea and vomiting

Marijuana use also interferes with judgement, which can lead to risky behaviors.  Regular use has been linked with increased risk for several mental problems, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances.  Due to the fact that it is unknown whether or not marijuana causes these problems, or is a response to them, further research is needed to confirm and better understand these links.

The potency of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, has increased steadily over the past few decades.  For someone new to the drug, it may mean exposure to higher concentrations of THC, with a greater chance of a negative or unpredictable reaction.  For those who are more experienced with marijuana, it may mean greater risk for addiction if they are exposing themselves to high doses on a regular basis.  It is unknown how much people who use marijuana adjust for the increase in potency by using less.

Many people who stop using marijuana after using it long-term experience symptoms similar to nicotine withdrawal, including irritability, sleep problems, anxiety, decreased appetite, and various forms of physical discomfort.  Although withdrawal symptoms gradually disappear within 2 weeks, they can make it difficult for someone to stop using the drug, and/or may prompt relapse, which is a return to drug use.

The majority of those who use marijuana do not advance to “harder” substances, but, some research shows that people often try marijuana before trying other substances.  Researchers are now looking at the possibility that marijuana exposure as a teen can cause changes in the brain that make a person more likely to get addicted to marijuana or other drugs, such as alcohol, opioids, or cocaine.

This week, to coincide with National Prevention Week, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has launched a “Develop a Plan” campaign to encourage teens and young adults to get out of difficult situations involving alcohol and other drug use.

Make A Plan Guide

Remember, Prevention Works!

National Prevention Week: Underage Drinking

Not.A.Minor.Problem.BottleParents, did you know that, according to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), nearly 52% of New York State students in grades 7-12 reported that their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking?

By the time students are in their senior year of high school, four out of five teens have consumed alcohol, and adolescents who drink are likely to be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers.

  • Youth who begin to drink before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstain until the legal age of 21.
  • Adolescent use among teens is associated with the three most common causes of teenage deaths: accidental (such as car crashes), homicides, and suicides.
  • On average, eight youth per day die in alcohol-related car crashes in the U.S., and nine out of ten teenage car accidents involve the use of alcohol.
  • Ninety-five percent of violent crimes on college campuses are alcohol-related. Ninety percent of college sexual assaults involve alcohol use by either the victim and/or the assailant.
  • More than 70,000 students between the ages of 18-24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Higher levels of alcohol use are associated with unplanned or unprotected sexual activity among adolescents, which poses increased risk for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
  • Alcohol us and higher levels of use among adolescents is associated with poor grades, absenteeism, and higher rates of school dropout.
  • Due to the fact that the brain continues developing through age twenty-five, alcohol use can damage the teen brain, disrupt growth, and interfere with learning. There is no organ of the body that is not affected by alcohol consumption.

PromisesLocal efforts to reduce underage drinking in Allegany County include the “Promises” campaign and “Sticker Shock”.  Prior to prom season, a total of forty-five businesses, including hair salons, restaurants, florists, and tanning places, post table tents, cards, and posters with a theme that reminds youth to “Celebrate…Be Alcohol and Drug-Free!”.

The “Sticker Shock” campaign continues throughout the year, with a total of eight local grocery stores allowing red stickers in the shape of a stop sign to be placed on multi-packs of alcoholic beverages.  These stickers remind the community that it is illegal to purchase or provide alcohol to minors, and that legal consequences of doing so include fines up to one thousand dollars or one year in jail.

Parents and other caring adults can learn how to keep our children safe from alcohol and other drugs by visiting the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Talk2PreventCASA’s Family Day is also a great resource for age-appropriate conversation starters and family activities.  A supportive relationship between parents and children is linked to better judgement, increased self-control, and resilience, which are all strengths that help reduce the risk of future drug use.


Parent Toolkit

Remember Prevention Works!

Kickoff to National Prevention Week: Prevention Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse

NPW.logo.19Monday, May 13 kicks of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week. The three primary goals of National Prevention Week are to:

  • Involve communities in raising awareness of substance use and mental health issues and in implementing prevention strategies and showcasing effectiveness of evidence-based prevention programs.
  • Foster partnerships and collaborations with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to improving public health.
  • Promote and disseminate quality substance use prevention and mental health promotion resources and publications.


Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC) and the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (ACASA) are trying to meet all three of these goals by writing blogs on each topic of National Prevention Week to be posted every day. These blogs will provide educational information to the community and share resources to parents on how to educate their children about the dangers of misusing prescription pills and opioids; the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other illicit drugs, and suicide prevention.

Monday focuses on “Preventing Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse” and according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data on youth and young adults, more than 5,700 youth in 2014 reported using prescription pain relievers without a doctor’s guidance for the first time. A common misperception is that prescription drugs are safer or less harmful to one’s body than other kinds of drugs. However, there is a range of short- and long-term health consequences for each type of prescription drug used inappropriately:

  • Stimulants have side effects in common with cocaine, and may include paranoia, dangerously high body temperatures, and an irregular heartbeat, especially if stimulants are taken in large doses or in ways other than swallowing a pill.
  • Opioids, which act on the same parts of the brain as heroin, can cause drowsiness, nausea, constipation, and, depending on the amount taken, slowed breathing.
  • Depressants can cause slurred speech, shallow breathing, fatigue, disorientation, lack of coordination, and seizures upon withdrawal from chronic use.

These impacts can be particularly harmful to a developing adolescent brain and body. Our brains continue to develop until we reach our early- to mid-twenties. As with any type of mind-altering drug, prescription drug misuse and abuse can affect judgment and inhibition, putting adolescents at heightened risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, misusing other kinds of drugs, and engaging in additional risky behaviors.

Here are several ways to minimize prescription drug misuse and abuse among young people:

  • Education: One in four teenagers believe that prescription drugs can be used as a study aid and nearly one-third of parents say that they believe that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication can improve a child’s academic or testing performance, even if that child does not have ADHD. Parents, children, and prescribers must be educated on the impact of prescription drugs on the developing brain. For resources for parents on how to talk to their children about drug abuse visit the New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services(OASAS) Talk2Prevent.


  • Safe medication storage and disposal: Two-thirds of teens who misused pain relievers in the past year say that they got them from family and friends, including their home’s medicine cabinets, making it important to safeguard medicine in the home, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. Safe storage and disposal of medications diminish opportunities for easy access. In Allegany County, ACASA, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, and PPAC have partnered to provide 10 pill drop boxes throughout the county in the Take It To The Box Program. Community members can dispose of unwanted or unused medications in the boxes all year round. Please do not put liquids or “Sharps” in the boxes. The pill drop boxes can be found at:
    • Alfred Pharmacy
    • Alfred State’s University Campus Police
    • Allegany County Sheriff’s Office in Belmont
    • Cuba Police Department
    • Fillmore Pharmacy
    • Friendship Pharmacy
    • Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville
    • Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar
    • Nicholson’s Pharmacy in Belmont
    • Wellsville Police Department


  • Prescription drug monitoring: Many people are calling on doctors and pharmacies to better monitor how (and how often) drugs are prescribed. In New York State prescribers are required to consult the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) Registry when writing prescriptions for Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances. The PMP Registry provides practitioners with direct, secure access to view dispensed controlled substance prescription histories for their patients. The PMP is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week via an application on the Health Commerce System (HCS) at https://commerce.health.state.ny.us. Patient reports include all controlled substances that were dispensed in New York State and reported by the pharmacy/dispenser for the past year. This information allows practitioners to better evaluate their patients’ treatment with controlled substances and determine whether there may be abuse or non-medical use.

Through education, disposing of your unwanted or unused medications, and prescribers limiting the prescription of opioids, medications are not finding their way onto our streets or in the hands of our children.

Everyone can participate in National Prevention Week through the NPW Prevention Challenge.


Inspiring. Friend. Truthful. Listener. Brave. Hero. Strong. Teacher. Gift. Survivor.

  1. Take a photo or video of your Prevention Champion.
  2. Include one word that best describes how your Prevention Champion inspires you to take action to live a healthier life and practice prevention every day.
  3. Share your photo or video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Snapchat using the hashtags #PreventionChampion and #NPW2019 by May 2019.

We will add your post to the NPW Prevention Challenge digital mosaic and may feature it in a future NPW video.

For more information visit National Prevention Week. For more information on local resources visit PPAC Central.

Remember Prevention Works!

Local Youth Bring Awareness to Underage Drinking Through Art

YouthArtMonthLogo.3.19The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC) offered local high and middle schoolers the opportunity to participate in the first Youth Art Month Poster Contest in March. The focus of the poster contest was “Underage Drinking Not a Minor Problem”. The focus of underage drinking coincides with April’s Alcohol Awareness Month.

Over 30 entries were received from Andover, Scio, and Wellsville school districts. The posters were judged by the residents of ACASA’s Residential Program and Prevention Staff. Andover 8th Grader Gabby Terhune was the overall winner of the contest. Morgan Satterlee, Gracieanne Gaylord, Audrianna Eveland, and Jordan Graham were also winners from Andover. Scio 9th Grader Trace Woodruff took first place for the high school level. Drake Irwin, Brooke Budinger, and Benjamin Weimer of Scio also were winners. Each winner was awarded Wellsville Chamber Dollars to be used at local businesses. “The purpose of the contest was to get young people in Allegany County to think about underage drinking and express their messages through art,” states Coalition Coordinator Jon Chaffee. “I think for the first year the turnout was great and we hope to get more involvement next year.”

Alcohol has been the drug of choice for youth in Allegany County, followed by tobacco use. According to the New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

  • Adolescent use among teens is associated with the three most common causes of teenage deaths: accidental (such as car crashes), homicides, and suicides.
  • On average, eight youth per day die in alcohol-related car crashes in the U.S., and nine out of ten teenage car accidents involve the use of alcohol.
  • Alcohol use and higher levels of use among adolescents is associated with poor grades, absenteeism, and higher rates of school dropout.
  • Due to the fact that the brain continues developing through age twenty-five, alcohol use can damage the teen brain, disrupt growth, and interfere with learning. There is no organ of the body that is not affected by alcohol consumption.
  • By the time students are in their senior year of high school, four out of five teens have consumed alcohol, and adolescents who drink are likely to be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers.

Getting young people to think about the dangers of alcohol use is half of the equation, the second half is for adults to discuss alcohol and drug use with them. 52% of 7-12 graders reported their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking. Research shows that teens whose parents communicate with them about underage drinking being unacceptable are more than 50% less likely to drink than teens whose parents give them other messages about underage drinking. OASAS has many resources for parents on how to talk or text their children about difficult topics at https://talk2prevent.ny.gov/parents.

Remember, Prevention Works!

Screen-Free Week April 28 – May 5


What is Screen-Free Week?

Screen-Free Week is an annual invitation to play, explore, and rediscover the joys of life beyond ad-supported screens. From April 29 to May 5, 2019, thousands of families, schools, and communities around the world will put down their entertainment screens for seven days of fun, connection, and discovery.

Even though it’s about turning off screens, Screen-Free Week isn’t about going without – it’s about what you can get! An hour once dedicated to YouTube becomes an hour spent outside; ten minutes wiled away on social media turn into ten minutes spent doodling; a movie on a rainy afternoon is replaced by time spent reading, chatting, or playing pretend!

You can celebrate Screen-Free Week at home, in your school, in your community, or anywhere – just put down those entertainment screens and do literally anything else! You might be surprised at what you find.

(“Entertainment screens” means that you can’t use Screen-Free Week as an excuse not to do your homework or your job. But if you’re a teacher or boss, you can help everyone celebrate by reducing the amount of screen-based work you assign!)


Why Screen-Free Week?

A healthy childhood depends on a surprising thing: play! Through creative play, kids explore their physical world, build their curiosity, and expand their imaginations. But often, time spent on ad-supported screens displaces the kind of creative play kids need to thrive.

It was this displacement that worried Henry Labalme and Matt Pawa when they created TV Turnoff Week in 1994. Over the years, millions of kids and families joined Henry and Matt in turning off their TVs and going outside, playing, and having screen-free fun. In 2010, TV Turnoff Week became Screen-Free Week and it found a new home at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

Not only does Screen-Free Week allow people to enjoy time away from news feeds, targeted ads, and autoplay videos, but it gives families and communities an opportunity to come together and connect with each other.



Screen-Free Week Guide

101 Screen-Free Activities


Univera Healthcare partners with Houghton College to prepare students for careers in wellness training.

Houghton, NY. – Univera Healthcare and Houghton College today announced the awarding of a $90,000 Univera Healthcare grant to support the Houghton College Wellness Initiative, a program aimed at preparing students for careers in wellness training and improving the health and wellness of residents of Allegany County.


Pictured Left to Right: Art Wingerter, president, Univera Healthcare
Shirley Mullen, president, Houghton College
Matthew Webb, director of athletics, Houghton College

The Univera grant will be dispersed over three years and will provide a limited number of students with the opportunity to become certified fitness trainers. Upon certification, the students will offer free wellness training to a select group of individuals from the community who meet the wellness initiative’s health screening guidelines.


Exercising Andrew Butler uses fitness equipment in the Pegula Center at Houghton College under the direction of Daniel Chapman.

“With this grant to Houghton College, we are supporting improved access to physical activity in Allegany County in an effort to reduce the prevalence of diabetes,” said Arthur Wingerter, president, Univera Healthcare.

“Houghton College is privileged to partner with Univera Healthcare to provide outstanding experiential opportunities for our students,” stated Shirley Mullen, president, Houghton College. “Houghton has a longstanding mission to train and equip our students to use their gifts and abilities to benefit their communities. This program is a tremendous opportunity for our students to grow in their skills while working to improve the health and wellness of our neighbors.”

Univera’s grant program embodies the nonprofit health insurer’s mission to reach all segments of the communities it serves, particularly the underserved to enhance their quality of life and health status. Strong preference is given to initiatives that focus on the areas of diabetes, prevention, medication management, respiratory and/or behavioral health. Univera looks for multi-year initiatives with measurable outcomes.


Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. The company’s mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With nearly 500 employees in Western New York, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit UniveraHealthcare.com.

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Houghton College is a nationally ranked Christian liberal arts college located in the scenic Genesee Valley of western New York State.