Fillmore Students Reveal A Window Into the World of Youth Vaping

2019 Great American Smokeout Messaging Educates Community on E-cigarette Flavors


Fillmore, NY – Students from Fillmore’s Reality Check program marked 2019’s Great American Smokeout (GASO) by painting windows of the local Shop and Save to with the message: “Sweet flavs lead to outrageous behaviors.”

E-cigarette use among teens is on the rise, creating an emerging public health concern. Since New York State health officials began tracking e-cigarette use in 2014, use by high school students increased from 10.5 percent to 27.4 percent in 2018. New national data shows that vaping among high schoolers jumped 78 percent from last year, with middle school vaping increasing by 48 percent.

The high school senior vaping rate in Allegany County is 38.5 percent, which is 2 percent higher than the New York State average.


Fillmore Reality Check members Tara Beckhorn, Hannah Wilcox, Aurora Kraft.

Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Youth Coordinator at Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (TF-CCA), says young people’s attraction to vapes has to do largely with the fruity flavors they come in.

“Kids and parents: Don’t let sweet talking messages and flavors like mint, crème and mango from Juul fool you,” said Chaffee. “Each JUUL pod delivers the same amount of addictive nicotine as 20 cigarettes.”

Chaffee also noted that young people who vape are four times more likely to use traditional cigarettes in the future.

The most popular e-cigarette manufacturer, JUUL, has played a major role in the youth vaping epidemic. The company, which is partially owned by Big Tobacco company Altria, never submitted its products to the independent, clinical testing needed to clearly understand the products’ long term effects.

GASO was established in 1976 to get smokers to quit for one day and make a plan to quit for good. For more information on help quitting, Allegany County residents can contact ACASA’s Community Educator Ann Weaver at (585) 593-1920 x713 or the New York State Quitline.

Reality Check, a teen-led, adult-run program, educates the community on youth smoking and vaping, the deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry, and how policies can change social norms around tobacco sales and use.

For more information on Reality Check, visit


About Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany

Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany is funded through the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control and is a part of Tobacco-Free Western New York, managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Learn more about Tobacco-Free Western New York at

November is STOP DWI Month


The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has once again announced that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has issued a proclamation that designates the month of November as STOP-DWI month. The New York State Special Traffic Options for Driving While Intoxicated (STOP-DWI) Program was established in November of 1981 to coordinate state and local efforts to reduce impaired-driving offenses and to prevent crashes across the state. Since the program was enacted, fatalities from alcohol-related crashes on New York’s roadways have decreased 74 percent.  Over the past year in Allegany County, we have also seen a decrease in DWI arrests. There also has been a change in leadership. Long-time Coordinator Linda Edwards retired at the end of last year, and was replaced by Brian Perkins. It hasn’t changed the commitment to making our roads safer and working toward zero alcohol related deaths on our roadways.

STOP-DWI month falls in November for a couple reasons. First, to acknowledge the anniversary of the establishment of the program. Second, it is a very important time to relay the message of the program. With the Holiday season approaching, there are a lot of people out on the road to visit families. There are also a lot of people enjoying time with their families by having some drinks. This combination can become fatal if some responsibility is not added in. This is where the goal of the STOP-DWI program comes in. It is not the goal to try to prevent people of legal drinking age from enjoying a couple drinks with family, but it is about making sure that everyone out on the road can get home safely. The “Have A Plan” mobile app was created to help with this situation. You can download it here,, and it can take you through the steps of how to get home safely. Whether that plan involves getting a ride from a friend, or calling for a ride from elsewhere, we want everyone to easily be able to get home alive.

Please be safe this time of year, and all year long. Be responsible, have a plan, and make it home alive. For more information on the STOP-DWI program, visit

Remember Prevention Works!

Fall Allegany County Pill Drop

Andover and Cuba– On Saturday, October 26 the Allegany County Fall Pill Drop was held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Andover and Cuba were chosen for the fall locations.  The pill drop events allow residents the opportunity to get rid of unused, expired, or unwanted medications and provides the partners the opportunity to educate on the location of the pill drop boxes throughout Allegany County. In Cuba there is a drop box located at the Cuba Police Department, 15 Water Street. For Andover residents the closest pill drop boxes are located at: the Alfred Pharmacy, 36 North Main Street, Alfred State University Police, 10 Upper College Drive and at the Wellsville Police Department, 46 South Main Street and Jones Memorial Hospital, 191 North Main Street. The pill drop boxes are available all year long and for anyone to use.

This event was held in partnership with the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Andover and Cuba Police Departments, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC). Medications and Sharps waste was accepted from 10am to 2pm. Between the two locations, a total of 64 cars stopped and 106 pounds of medications and two boxes of Sharps water was turned in by community members. “The pill drops continue to be an asset to the community and the Cuba Police Department is proud to be associated with this great initiative,” stated Chief Dustin Burch of the Cube Police Department.

Each car that stopped received a Take It To The Box magnet, which lists all of the pill drop box locations throughout Allegany County. In addition to those previously mentioned, there are boxes at: the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and Nicholson Pharmacy in Belmont, Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Pharmacy, and Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar.


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. “The pill drop events allow us to educate the community on safe storage, safe use, and safe disposal of medications and where the drop boxes are located throughout county” states PPAC Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee. “We are also able to educate community members on disposal of Sharps waste, most community members do not know that they can dispose of Sharps waste at any transfer station in Allegany County for free.”

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Andover and Cuba community for utilizing the pill drops to safely dispose of their unwanted medications,” stated Undersheriff Kevin Monroe. “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 Andover and Cuba Fire Departments for giving us a space to hold the pill drop events. The next pill drop event will not be until April, 2020.  The Allegany County pill drops have been held since 2007, more information about the pill drop box locations can be found at

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

NDVAM.logo.19For many, October 1st signifies the first day that it is acceptable to decorate for Halloween, drink pumpkin spice lattes, and enjoy the cool sweater weather of fall. However, for agencies like Cattaraugus Community Action and ACCORD, October 1st signifies the first day of something else – National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This awareness is vital to our communities.

Awareness about domestic violence may include recognizing that the need for services for domestic violence victims is rising, yet there are unfortunately times when needs cannot be met not being met due to budgetary restraints or cuts. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), 74,823 domestic violence victims were served in the same day in 2018, higher than the 72,245 reported in 2017. Whether these reports are due to a rise in domestic violence or individuals becoming more comfortable coming forward, it’s still important to note that the need for services is rising.

Awareness may also include recognizing that domestic violence and abuse can take many forms, including but not limited to: physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. Financial abuse is a lesser known concept, yet according to the NNEDV, it occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases and is a major contributor to victims returning or not leaving their abuser. Financial abuse may include the abuser: withholding/controlling money, assets, and bank accounts, not allowing the victim to work, and/or stealing from the victim. In August of this year, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to broaden the definition of the crime of domestic violence to include forms of economic abuse such as identity theft, grand larceny and coercion.

For the past 4 years New York State has had the highest demand for domestic violence services, so it is important that we recognize the many different forms and ensure that victims have access to resources. Hotlines are available in every county in NYS for individuals to call if they have questions or concerns.

There are free and confidential resources available in the community, no one has to go through this alone. For Allegany County, please contact ACCORD (1-800-593-5322.) For Cattaraugus County, please contact Cattaraugus Community Action (1-888-945-3970.)

Remember Prevention Works!

Be a Family Day STAR!

Monday, September 23rd, marks the 19th anniversary of Family Day: Making Every Day Special, founded in 2001 by the Center on Addiction.  Research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use other drugs.  Conversations during mealtime are a way for parents to stay connected and involved with their children.  Televisions, cell phones, and other mobile devices should be turned off during dinner so each person can share the day’s events without distractions.  This includes involving family members in preparation and clean-up.  Trips in the vehicle can also be used as teachable, quality bonding time, as parents have a “captive” audience.  The earlier parents start connecting with their kids, the better.  If kids aren’t used to talking to their parents about what’s going on in their lives when they are eight or ten, it will be more difficult to get them talking when they are older.

Teens are at greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school, so, parents need to be especially attentive during this transition period.

If parents are unsure of how to start an age-appropriate conversation, they can access tips in the newly revised Parent Toolkit on the CASA Family Day website.  Other valuable information can also be found in the toolkit, such as “connecting” with kids, preventing substance use, background facts on substance use, family activities and worksheets, and tips for talking to kids about substance use.

This year’s presenting sponsor is Quest Diagnostics.  Partners include CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), Fathers Incorporated, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), National Military Family Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Prevent Child Abuse America, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), The Family Dinner Project, The Kids Time, and The Moyer Foundation.

Celebrate with parents nationwide and pledge to commit to:

Spend time with your kids by playing games, taking a walk, or enjoying another family activity.

Talk to them about their friends, interests, and the dangers of using substances.

Answer their questions and listen to what they say.

Recognize that parents have the power to keep their kids substance-free! A warm, supportive relationship between parents and their children is linked to better judgement, increased self-control, and resilience, which are strengths that help reduce the risk of future drug use.

Remember, parental engagement does make a difference, and prevention works!

30th National Recovery Month

Recovery.Month.2019This September marks the 30th National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  According to this year’s toolkit, one facet of this year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger,” emphasizes that the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support the many paths to recovery affirms the vital role that young people play in this effort.  An estimated 345,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a substance use disorder and a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year.  Young people (ages 12-25) who show passion, drive, innovative thinking, and a commitment to their communities represent a key population that can promote fresh, creative ideas in the prevention, treatment, and recovery from mental and substance use disorders.  Not only does this age group have the resilience to recover, but they are also building blocks for the future.  By providing a platform and voice for the nation’s emerging leaders, we show that investing in the future is just as important as honoring the past.

Free, confidential help is available 24 hours daily through SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD).  You can find more information at Recovery Month.  Locally, counseling is available at the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., at 585-593-6738.


“Together, we can stop the stigma surrounding mental and substance use disorders, and help more people find the path to hope, health, and overall wellness!”


International Overdose Awareness Day


This August 31 marks the 19th International Overdose Awareness Day, started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. Sally Finn, a manager of the Salvation Army syringe program, saw the sorrow that families experienced when they lost their loved ones to a drug overdose. When she realized that the families were unable to express their grief due to the stigma of drug use, Sally arranged an event that would allow families to commemorate the memories of their departed loved ones. Six thousand ribbons were distributed that day, and the awareness day has been supported every year since then.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are several ways to make a difference on this global event day:
• Hold a candlelight vigil.
• Offer an educational program, such as one related to preventing opioid use, in partnership with a local organization.
• Provide a safe space for telling the stories of overdose victims.
• Offer a large canvas and washable paint so survivors can add a handprint in memory of their loved one.
• Display empty hats or shoes to represent the number of lives lost in the community.
• Use the NSC Community Action Kit as a planning guide.
Become a Safety Ambassador by hosting a community fundraising event.
• Access the NSC Facebook page ( to get a purple frame for your Facebook profile image.
• Share the NCS Facebook Live virtual candlelight vigil on August 30.
• Add the name of a loved one who died of an opioid overdose to the “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones” map.
Purchase or create purple wristbands, pins, shirts, or other items to be worn on August 31.
• Research state and federal legislation that addresses opioid overdose prevention, and write to your representative.
• Support NSC (/forms/donate) efforts to end the opioid crisis by making a gift in honor of a loved one.


In Allegany County the agency that deals with preventing opioid use is the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA). ACASA handles opioid use through education programs that the Prevention staff present in the local schools to educate our young people. ACASA offers treatment programs through the clinic to help the community with opioid use.


ACASA, Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC) and the Sheriff’s Office offers and promotes the Take It To the Box program, which gives community members places to dispose of their unwanted or unused medications. The Take It To the Box locations are throughout Allegany County at: Alfred Pharmacy, Alfred State’s University Police(Theta Gamma House), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Cuba Police Department, Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Hospital, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar, Nicholson Pharmacy, and the Wellsville Police Department.
Twice a year these three agencies also participate in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s(DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, offering two more locations in the community to drop off medications. Take It To the Box and the biannual pill drops have had over a million dollars in street value of medications turned in by the community. For more information on ACASA’s Prevention Department and Clinic visit For more information on PPAC and the Take It To the Box program visit

Tobacco Litter STILL #1


Summer means outside activities such as, hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, and enjoying many local festivals. Participating in any of these events also means you probably come across the most littered item in the world, cigarette butts. Even though smoking traditional cigarettes is at an all-time low, smoking is still the number one cause of litter. It is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away every year worldwide. Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity of vaping, amount of litter created from tobacco products is growing. There are two issues that arise from tobacco litter; the first is that tobacco litter is not completely biodegradable. Tobacco filters are made of small plastic strands wrapped in paper. The filters can take up to seven years to break apart. Once this happens the dangerous chemicals that the filter caught from the smoker inhaling is released into our environment, which is the second issue of tobacco litter. Of the 7,000 plus chemicals that are potentially caught by the cigarette filter, 69 have been found to be cancer causing. Vaping adds a whole new type of tobacco litter, as the refillable bottles that e-juice comes in and the containers for e-cigarettes such as JUUL are made of plastic.

smoke free outdoors

The issue of tobacco litter has caused many outdoor areas, venues, and workplaces to establish tobacco free policies. Tobacco free policies have many positive effects beyond eliminating tobacco litter. These types of policies also protect people from secondhand smoke exposure, encourages current tobacco users to quit and sets a positive message to young people that tobacco use is not the norm. If you use tobacco, please be aware of how beautiful our outdoors is in Allegany County and properly dispose of your litter. For more information on tobacco free polices please visit Tobacco Free WNY.

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