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.
This 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.
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 (https://www.facebook.com/NatlSafetyCouncil/) 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 http://www.alleganycouncil.org. For more information on PPAC and the Take It To the Box program visit http://www.ppaccentral.org.
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.
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.
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.
Preventing 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!
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:
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.
Aside 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.
There 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
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
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.
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:
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
WHAT TO DO
WANT TO LEARN MORE
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.
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:
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.
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:
Long-term effects (effects of repeated use) include:
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.
Remember, Prevention Works!
Parents, 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.
Local 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) Talk2Prevent. CASA’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.
Remember Prevention Works!