The Hidden JUUL

Traditional vaping is old news – at least among high school students. The new best thing is called “Juul” and it is dramatically increasing in popularity among high school students.

The JUUL device, with a sleek design that resembles a flash drive, is a special hit with teens.  Because JUULing puts off significantly less vapor than other e-cigarettes, it is very discreet. Thousands of online videos show kids JUULing at school, exhaling into shirts, hoodies or backpacks to hide the vapor, which disappears in an instant. JUUL puts off a sweet, fruity smell—easily mistakable as perfume or hair product, making it difficult for school officials and other adults to detect.

JUULs are designed to be very simple and easy to use.  The JUUL also has multiple flavors available – mint, tobacco, mango, crème brulee and fruit.   Juuls plug into a laptop or any USB port to charge up their battery.  The flavored pod attaches to the charged device, which heats up the pod’s liquid. The user then ‘draws’ on the device to inhale the vapor into his lungs. Each pod is the nicotine equivalent of 200 puffs, or an entire pack of traditional cigarettes. This is also the capacity of a single charge. Pods are generally sold in 4-packs.  Juuls come with a pre-set, 5-percent nicotine content.


JUUL pods contain high levels of nicotine, a highly addictive, damaging substance that can have severe consequences on developing brains, lungs and bodies.  The vaping industry promotes the fact that nicotine salt—the form of nicotine used in JUUL liquid is known to produce a smoother ‘hit’ and less throat irritation than ‘free-base’ nicotine used in typical e-cigarette liquid. This may encourage users to take longer, deeper puffs, which may result in very high levels of nicotine per puff than either standard cigarettes or typical e-cigarettes.   According to the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report, exposure to nicotine during adolescence can harm brain development, which may have implications for cognition, attention and mood. Even brief periods of continuous or intermittent nicotine exposure in adolescence may cause lasting neurobehavioral damage.  Similar to other vaping devices, JUULs contain additional harmful materials such as heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds.

Most young people that we talk to do not realize that there is any danger to using vaping type products.  They see JUUL as a cool, safe alternative to cigarettes.  There is substantial evidence that youth who use e-cigarettes (including JUUL) are more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes—leading to additional tobacco-related diseases.  According to the U.S. Surgeon General, nicotine can also prime the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine.

According to the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse’s (ACASA) 2017 Risk and Protective Survey done in the majority of schools in Allegany County, almost 14% of high school students in Allegany County have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days. Compared to 8.2% of high school students, who said they smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days, e-cigarettes seem to be popular with Allegany County students. For more information on how to talk to teens about e-cigs and JUUL, please take a look at the Surgeon General’s  “Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip for Parents”.

Allegany Council holds AHSSUM Camp.

AHSSUM.logo.18The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) held the 27th AHSSUM Camp the last week of June. Ninety-one campers from Allegany County attended this fun-filled, four-day, day camp at Genesee Valley School. AHSSUM – “A Happenin’ Safe Summer for U and Me” is a no-cost camp promoting positive alternatives for Allegany County youth ages 8 to 12 years old.
This year’s theme was, “Upcycling: Everything Deserves a Second Chance”. AHSSUM Days consisted of activity time, arts and crafts, guest speakers, and swimming. Day one included a plastic bottle fish tank with a live guppy and snail for each camper, and guest speaker Ryan Paulsen from the Department of Soil and Water Conservation. Campers also learned about the importance of using the county’s pill drop boxes to dispose of old medications, rather than flushing pills and polluting the water source.
On day two, Beverly Jones from the Pfeiffer Nature Center in Portville and Holly (volunteer) did an interactive clean water presentation, while DEC Forest Ranger Justin Thaine and retired DEC Officer Paul Kretser led the campers on the BOCES nature walk trail behind the school.
On day three, staff from Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure brought the Art Mobile, and campers made paper bag trees, paper bead mosaics, and painted rocks. Krista Humbert and Trisha Heary from Cornell Cooperative Extension spoke on day four and campers made harmonicas out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands, paper, and toothpicks. Other crafts throughout the week included sock puppets, bird feeders, and bird houses made from plastic bottles. Campers applied decision-making related to responsibility and consequences, and teambuilding skills to the above activities.
As usual, on day four, AHSSUM campers signed group photos and T-shirts to keep fond memories of AHSSUM Camp alive!


Winners of the sock puppet contest of each age group in AHSSUM Camp. Each winner received a Subway gift card. 

The AHSSUM Camp program works with Allegany County school systems and other human service agencies to offer camp to youth within the county. ACASA would like to acknowledge and thank the guest speakers, Rob Frungillo (for prepping the bottles for the bird feeder craft), Jon Chaffee (for supplying the guppies and snails), Genesee Valley Central School (for the use of its facilities), and Bolivar-Richburg Central School, Fillmore Central School, and Andover Central School (for helping with coordination of transportation to and from camp). A sincere thank you is also extended to the many sponsors of this camp: The Dr. Lyle F. Renodin Foundation – “Affiliated with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY”, Allegany County Youth Bureau, ACASA, and Upstate Farms.


Campers and Staff from AHSSUM CAMP 2018. 

For more information on attending or sponsoring AHSSUM Camp next year, please contact the ACASA Prevention Department at 585-593-1920, ext. 719.

New Pill Drop Box Locations

As of May, 2018 there are now three new locations that community members can drop off their unwanted or unused medications, these locations are:

  • Alfred Pharmacy, 36 North Main Street, Alfred, NY 14802.
  • Friendship Pharmacy, 9 West Main Street, Friendship, NY 14739.
  • Nicholson’s Pharmacy, 36 Schuyler Street, Belmont, NY 14813.

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DEC.Pill.BoxThe new boxes were received through a grant offered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation(DEC).  Receiving the boxes for these three locations was a joint partnership between the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc(ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC), and the three pharmacy owners: Jeff Marks of Friendship Pharmacy, Mark Hunter of Nicholson’s Pharmacy, and Tony Graziano of Alfred Pharmacy. The three businesses will participate in the DEC’s Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program for two years. After those two years, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office will empty the boxes when they are full and take them to an incinerating location.

I would like to thank the DEC for helping us supply these new drop boxes.  These additional boxes make it easier for our residents to dispose of their expired or unwanted drugs, keep them out of our water supply, off our streets and out of the hands of our youth”– Sheriff Rick Whitney.


These new locations bring up the total pill drop locations to ten throughout Allegany County. The other pill drop box locations include:


  • Alfred State University Police, 10 Upper College Drive, Alfred, NY 14802.
  • Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, 4884 NY-19, Belmont, NY 14813.
  • Cuba Police Department, 15 Water Street, Cuba, NY 14727.
  • Fillmore Pharmacy, 10560 NY-19, Fillmore, NY 14735.
  • Jones Memorial Hospital, 104 North Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895.
  • Jones Memorial Medical Practice, 120 First Street, Bolivar, NY 14715.
  • Wellsville Police Department, 46 South Main Street, Wellsville, NY 14895.

Having ten boxes located throughout Allegany County to go along with the bi-annual pill drop events, and the Homebound Program hopefully encourages community members to properly dispose of their unwanted or unused medications through these means instead of keeping them in their medicine cabinet, flushing them down the toilet, or throwing them in the trash. By not disposing of your medications properly, it can cause unintended issues. Flushing medications down the toilet, allows those medications to get into our streams, rivers, lakes, and drinking water which can be harmful to the environment. By keeping medications in your medicine cabinet or throwing them in the trash it gives other people access to them. The majority of teens, who abuse prescription medication, get them from a family member without them knowing.

“Allegany County continues to benefit from having Pill Drop Boxes in a number of locations that are easily accessible to the general public. We all benefit by having unused medications disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner and off the streets”

 – William Penman, Executive Director of ACASA

The Allegany County Sheriff’s Office has received over 459 pounds of medications from the pill drop boxes in 2018 and the April Pill Drop took in over 78 pounds of medications. The 78 pounds of medications received at the April Pill Drop contained over 1,200 of the pills that were controlled substances, which had a street value of roughly $12,000. Allegany County ranked third in prescribed opioids, but has the lowest population out of the five western counties that also includes: Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara Counties.

“Hopefully, with more resources offered to the community medications stop finding their way on to our streets and kept out of the hands of our children.” – PPAC Coordinator Jon Chaffee.

The next Pill Drop Event will be held on October 27 from 10am to 2pm in Cuba and Canaseraga. More information and resources on proper disposal of medications can be found here. If you have any questions please email

Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Elder.Abuse.Awareness.Month.18Adult Protective Services (APS) is the division of Social Services that handles reports of suspected abuse or neglect of adults and elders. APS works with individuals who, in addition to other criteria, are “unable to meet their essential needs for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, are unable to secure entitlements due to them, or are unable to protect themselves from physical or mental injury, neglect, maltreatment, or financial exploitation”.

In 2017, financial exploitation accounted for 11% of Allegany County APS referrals. While the data itself is concerning, most cases are never reported; the cost staggering. Financial exploitation erodes the adult’s independence and family supports.  Elders once wealthy and independent have to utilize public assistance; worse yet some have lost their life-long homes. When exploitation happens within the family, elders can lose the support of family caregivers at a time when their need for family support is the greatest.

Elder.Financial.ExploitationFinancial 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. Prevention is fundamental.  In Allegany County the Elder Abuse Prevention Committee (EAPC) and our Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Team (E-MDT) are committed to preventing and responding to allegations of elder abuse and financial exploitation. The EAPC facilitates confidential case reviews and outreach planning to address and enhance the community’s knowledge of elder abuse. The E-MDT is a collaboration of agencies who work together to offer a coordinated and comprehensive response for complex financial exploitation cases.  Our local E-MDT has developed a rack card that will be used state-wide as a tool to prevent financial exploitation by Powers of Attorney.

Elder.Abuse.RibbonYou can find more information about Adult Protective Services here or call (585) 268-9316. To report the potential abuse of an adult call (585) 268-9319. Allegany County Department of Social Services is a member of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC).  Remember, “Prevention Works.”

Belinda Schlafer, LMHC

Adult Protective Services

National Prevention Week

National.Prevention.Week.logo.2018May 13 kicks off Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMSHA) National Prevention Week, which is dedication to increase public awareness of mental and/or substance abuse disorders. The observance brings individuals, organizations, coalitions, states, and communities together to raise awareness about the importance of prevention substance abuse and mental disorders.  Each day of the week has a different focus.

  • May 14 Promotion of Mental Health Wellness
  • May 15 Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
  • May 16 Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse
  • May 17 Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana
  • May 18 Prevention of Suicide
  • May 19 Prevention of Youth Tobacco Use

The first topic is Mental Health Wellness, which is how people think, act and cope with life and stressors and challenges that are part of the human experience. The state of one’s mental health can influence the ways in which they look at themselves, their life and others around them. It also strongly influences an individual’s potential for achieving their goals and is an important tool in obtaining and maintaining a feeling of well being.


Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

If you are not sure if you or someone you know if living with mental health problems there are early warning signs to look for. Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities.
  • Having low or no energy.
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters.
  • Having unexplained aches and pains.
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless.
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual.
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared.
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends.
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head.
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true.
  • Thinking or harming yourself or others.
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school.

Individuals with good mental health wellness are better able to function during stressful situations. Good mental health wellness is reflected in several ways:

  • Bouncing back from adversity.
  • Communicating about your feelings.
  • Forming good interpersonal relationships.
  • Setting and achieving realistic goals.
  • Seeking help in difficult times.
  • Enjoying life to the fullest.
  • Self-appreciation.

SAMSHA practice has proven that integrating mental health, substance use, and primary care services produces the best outcomes and proves the most effective approach to caring for people with multiple health care needs. Wellness strategies are best achieved by a combination of the following:

  1. Follow a healthy lifestyle.
    • Don’t smoke or use addictive substances.
    • Limit alcohol intake.
    • Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.
    • Monitor your weight, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and other important health indicators including oral(teeth and gum) health.
  1. Work with a primary care doctor.
  • Communication between people with mental health problems, mental health professionals, and primary care providers is essential.
  • See a primary care physician regularly(at least twice a year).
  1. Ask Questions!
    • Know about medications or alternative treatments.
    • Review and act on results of check-ups and health screenings.
    • Monitor existing and/or new symptoms.
    • Speak up about any concerns or doubts.

The Allegany Rehabilitation Association (ARA) offers many local services that can help people improve their mental health wellness. Remember Prevention Works!

Allegany County Spring Pill Drop

“Helping to Keep Prescription Pills off Our Streets and Out of the Hands of Our Children”

Bolivar and Wellsville – On Saturday, April 28 the Allegany County Spring Pill Drop was held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This year the two selected locations were Bolivar and Wellsville. The pill drop event allows the community to drop off unused, expired or unwanted medications and provides the opportunity for education on the location of the pill drop boxes. Both locations have established pill drop boxes that are open to the public year-round.  In Bolivar there is a drop box located at Jones Memorial Family Practice, 120 First Street. In Wellsville there are two locations at Jones Memorial Hospital, 191 North Main Street and the Wellsville Police Department, 46 South Main Street.

Pill.Drop.BoxThis event was held in partnership among the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Bolivar Police Department, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC). Medications were accepted from 10am to 2pm, and between the two locations, a total of 42 cars stopped and 78 pounds of medication were collected. “The Bi-annual Pill Drops and the several community Pill Box locations provide members of our community an appropriate place to dispose of unwanted medications. It is really important to keep controlled medications out of the hands of people who will abuse them,” states Bill Penman, Executive Director of ACASA.

In the future there will be three more drop boxes located at the Alfred Pharmacy, Friendship Pharmacy and Nicholson’s Pharmacy in Belmont. All three locations have been awarded a drop box from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), but they have not yet been installed.

The pill drop events and boxes are completely anonymous and confidential. Once the Sheriff’s Office has collected the medications they are transported to an undisclosed location for incineration. Incinerating the medications makes them harmless to the environment. “We offer the pill drop events and boxes, to discourage people from holding on to old medications or flushing them down the toilet,” states PPAC Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee. “We know that most young people who abuse prescription medications get them from unsuspecting family members and flushing medications down the toilet allows them to find their way into our drinking water, creeks and rivers,” states Chaffee.

According to Sheriff Whitney, “Saturday we collected over 1,200 controlled pills at the two locations, which could potentially be sold on the street for $12,000.00 to $25,000.00, depending on the substance involved. Since the inception of the pill drops we have collected and destroyed well over a million dollars of these dangerous drugs. By collecting and destroying these substances, we greatly reduce the amount available to find their way onto our streets and into the hands of our youth.”

The agencies involved would like to send out a special “Thank You” to local pharmacists Christie Fries and LeRoy Hanchett for volunteering their time to help at the pill drop locations. The next pill drop event will be in October, 2018 in Cuba and Canaseraga, locations to be determined. More information about the pill drop events and locations can be found at

Alcohol-Free Weekend

This April marks the 32nd Annual Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) since 1987.  This year’s theme is: “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage’ .”

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Parents often forgive underage drinking as a “rite of passage.”  They can sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can change their attitude and take an active role in learning about substances and help their kids do the same.

Alcohol-Free Weekend is traditionally observed the first weekend in April, which is March 30-April 1.  Adults are encouraged to NOT drink alcohol for 72 hours to show our youth that alcohol is not necessary to have a good time.  Anyone who has difficulty abstaining is urged to call the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., at 585-593-6738, to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.


For more information on parent resources and how to talk to your children, visit PPAC’s Parent Page.  To learn more about Alcohol Awareness Month, go to  For more information on how to start the conversation with your children about alcohol visit Talk2Prevent or use the Conversation Starter.

Remember Prevention Works!

26th National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week


One in five students in America has used an inhalant to get high by the time he or she has reached eighth grade, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  More than 1,000 different products are commonly abused.  Parents don’t know that inhalants, which are cheap, legal, and accessible, are as popular among middle school students as marijuana.  Even fewer know the deadly effects the poisons in these products have on the brain and body when they are inhaled or “huffed”.  The user can die the 1st, 10th, or 100th time a product is misused as an inhalant.  In addition, kids who get high from inhalants often advance to other forms of substance abuse.

Prevention through education has proved to work against this popular form of substance abuse, which is why the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition developed NIPAW, an annual media-based, community-level program that takes place the third full week in March.  The purpose of the campaign is to raise community awareness of the dangers and popularity of this deadly practice.

Signs of inhalant abuse include red or runny eyes or nose, spots or sores around the mouth, a drunk or dazed appearance, loss of appetite, chemical odor on breath or clothing, or paint or other stains on clothing or the body.  Side effects include short-term memory loss, permanent brain damage, and liver and kidney damage.

For more information, call the Allegany Council’s Prevention Department at 585-593-1920, x 713, or contact the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition at 1-800-269-4237.

Remember Prevention Works!

National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Spurred by advocacy, President Ronald Reagan declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties had laid the foundation for significant social change, and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to reach their potential.

As those citizens began living within the general community in larger numbers, programs to provide career planning, job coaching and supported employment began to emerge. The idea that individuals with developmental disabilities could become productive members of the workforce was new to many people, and entrenched preconceptions had to be overcome.

With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, workplace discrimination against people with disabilities became sanctionable. The expectations of young people with developmental disabilities and their parents began to shift. Productive, self-directed lives within the community increasingly became the goal, and (increasingly) an obtainable goal.

Now 31 years later, the month of March highlights the contributions and needs of the estimated four million Americans living with a developmental disability. The power of ability over disability is all around us as people with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities blaze new trails. Today, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living and working in the community; pursuing higher education; developing their faith; falling in love and getting married; and making their voices heard in all aspects of life.

As people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the nation become increasingly visible in our daily lives, Allegany Arc strives to build more welcoming communities through education and outreach. We hope you will join us this month as we celebrate the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities awareness starts now.

Learn how Allegany Arc’s supports and services are advancing the concerns and interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Allegany County by visiting

Governor Cuomo Announces Lowest Adult Smoking Rates in New York State History, NOT in Allegany County.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the adult smoking rate has fallen to the lowest in New York State’s recorded history as a result of the state’s wide-ranging tobacco cessation and prevention efforts. The statewide adult smoking rate is 14.2 percent as of 2016, a 22 percent decline from 2011 and below the national average of 15.5 percent.

“These record lows demonstrate that New York’s anti-smoking efforts are working,” said Governor Cuomo. “Reducing smoking — and the death and misery that come with it — is critical to protecting public health and we will continue our work to create a safer and healthier New York for all.”

Unfortunately, in Allegany County much has not changed with its adult smoking rate, which is still more than 28 percent. A high smoking rate has led to cancer as the chief cause of death in Allegany County, closely followed by heart disease, stroke, and lower respiratory disease. The one thing that all of these causes of death have in common is that they can all be associated with tobacco use.  The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA) at (585) 593-1920 x713, offers free cessation classes and nicotine replacement therapy products. Also, the New York State Smokers’ Quitline is a free service for smokers and can be reached at 1-866-697-8487.  It is never too late for a person to quit smoking and take back his/her health from tobacco use.

Governor Cuomo previously announced that the high school student smoking rate fell to an historic low of 4.3 percent in 2016, down from 27.1 percent in 2000. More bad news for Allegany County as the high school student smoking rate of 8.2 percent is almost double the state average. However, the Department of Health also found that e-cigarette use by high school students increased from 10.5 percent in 2014 to 20.6 percent in 2016. More positive news is that Allegany County’s high school student use of e-cigarettes is13.9 percent, which is lower than the state average. This low rate could be connected to the existence of  “only” two vape stores in Allegany County, but most convenience stores and chain stores, such as Dollar General, sell e-cigarette devices. In 2017, Governor Cuomo signed legislation banning the use of e-cigarettes on school grounds and adding e-cigarettes to New York’s Clean Indoor Air Act.


Overall, 24.5 percent of Allegany County high school students indicated that they used some form of tobacco product. The use of any tobacco product can lead to severe health issues in the future. Tobacco use is attributed to 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. In order to combat the high tobacco use rated among the young people of Allegany County, the legislature is considering amending the current purchase age of tobacco products from eighteen to twenty-one.

Reasons for this consideration of amending the current law is:

  • The average age of a new smoker in New York State is just thirteen years old.
  • Most teenagers get their tobacco products from peers who are in their school and are legal age to purchase tobacco products.
  • There are more eighteen and nineteen year olds in high school than in previous years.
  • 95 percent of adult smokers started smoking before they were twenty-one.
  • Nicotine is a highly addictive drug; the younger a person is when he/she starts to use tobacco products, the harder it is to quit.
  • Nicotine is known to change how the adolescent brain develops. Development continues until the age of twenty-five.
  • Tobacco use is still the #1 cause of preventable death in the world, killing over 28,000 New Yorkers each year.
  • In March 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that raising the tobacco sale age to 21 could substantially reduce youth tobacco use initiation, smoking prevalence, and negative health consequences of smoking.
  • Tobacco companies market heavily to youth and young adults to recruit “replacement smokers” to sustain their profits.

If you are concerned about the amount of youth that use tobacco products in Allegany County, please contact your legislator and let her or him know, that this topic is important to you.