Coalition Blog

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Ongoing News and Information from the Wellspring Center for Prevention Coalition
JAN
27
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Underage Drinking: On the Decline?

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Written by Samantha Dolci, Wellspring Intern 2018 has set a new record low for underage drinking in the United States. According to the 2018 Monitoring the future survey (MTF), underage drinking among American youth continued to decline from previous years to the lowest levels recorded among 8 th , 10th, 12th graders since the 1990’s. Additionally, drinking among 12 th graders in 2018 reached the lowest level in survey history, with a significant decrease in lifetime, past month, daily consumption and binge drinking. Underage drinking statistics play an important role in encouraging governments and communities to step up their efforts for prevention and treatment. It is often used as a form of baseline data to determine the most highly affected demographics and areas in need. Approximately one out of every 10 alcoholic drinks in the U.S.A is consumed illegally. Though the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, children...
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74 Hits
JAN
16
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School Athletes and Opioids: A Risky Proposition

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By Elaine Chan, Intern The New Year can offer many, new, and exciting opportunities. However, the New Year can also pose arduous obstacles. One of the challenges that school administrators and communities may face is the opioid misuse prevalence among student–athletes as new sports season starts. Despite the positive benefits young athletes gain from participating in organized sports, such participation may actually put some adolescents at risk for substance use because of increased access to pain medications. Youths who participate in high-injury sports may be surrounded by peers who are more likely to have leftover prescription opioids, making it easier to receive diverted prescription opioids to ease injuries without having to acknowledge to parents and coaches that they need medical attention (e.g., hiding injuries from coaches to participate). Therefore, youths involved in organized sports may be at a higher risk to misuse opioid medications because of their increased risk for injury....
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85 Hits
DEC
14
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What You Need to Know and How to Talk to Your Kids about Vaping

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I The popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or “vapes”, has exploded over the past several years. Introduced into the US marketplace over a decade ago, the use of these devices has skyrocketed, particularly among youth. Vaping, according to a Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids, is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol or vapor from an e-cigarette device. The term “vaping” comes from this vapor that is released, different from the smoke emitted from a traditional cigarette. These devices consist of four main parts: a cartridge to hold the e-liquid, a heating element known as an atomizer, a battery, and a mouthpiece to inhale (Partnership for a Drug-Free Kids). Vaping was originally intended as a less harmful option for adult smokers; however, the craze has quickly been adopted by youth across the country for a variety of reasons. Boredom, curiosity and the urge to experiment, the...
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176 Hits
NOV
13
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Coalition Community Survey Now Available Online

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The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities is seeking feedback with its on-going community survey about substance misuse. Mara Carlin, Coalition Coordinator, said the survey has been conducted for the past eleven years. “We survey anybody in Middlesex County who is 18 or older,” she said. “Then we compile the data and give feedback back to the Coalition members on what we found and that helps us shape what kind of issues we want to try to address in the community through our awareness and education programs.” Some of the programming will focus on things like social norms campaigns. Carlin gave the example of how previous surveys may have responses where the perception is that much of the youth drink or smoke. “Even though people perceive that’s what happening, that’s not the case,” Carlin said. “The Coalition is also able to take the community survey data and compare it to student...
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186 Hits
SEP
09
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Overdose Awareness Day 2018 in South Amboy

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By Jenna Lynn Bonstein, Preventionist I In 2018, the number of people dying of an accidental overdose are rising at a rapid rate. In the United States, we lose 174 people a day to an accidental overdose. That is 174 daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, grandsons, granddaughters, cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends that we have to find a way to mourn and live without every day. This is killing more people than AIDS/HIV epidemic outbreak in the 80’s. “Just say no” didn’t work. The stigma has kept people stuck, sick and not asking for help. We want change, but not just one person can do anything when it comes to a monster this big. We need to come together and fight this battle like an army going to war. On August 30th, South Amboy put on a FEDUP rally and Overdose Awareness event at the South Amboy Middle School that...
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743 Hits
SEP
05
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Dunellen Overdose Awareness Day 2018

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I On August 31, thousands of individuals across the country will commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to remember those we have lost in the fight against addiction, those who are still suffering, those in recovery, and their loved ones. Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity to bring light to a public health crisis that is often highly stigmatized by and seen as personal moral failure. In Middlesex County alone, as of January 1, 2018, there have been 125 suspected overdose deaths, 533 Naloxone administrations, and 220, 225 opioid prescriptions dispensed (NJCARES, Office of the Attorney General 2018). Each of these deaths were preventable, and raising awareness and education about the dangers of substance use – particularly opioid and prescription medication – is critical in helping to curb the crisis. International Overdose Awareness Day is observed worldwide and aims to increase this awareness and reduce the...
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502 Hits
AUG
21
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Coalition & Local Communities to Observe International Overdose Awareness Day

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The Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities, in collaboration with Dunellen and South Amboy, will host special Candlelight Vigils and Name Reading Ceremonies in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day on Friday, August 31. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Overdose Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,900 premature deaths caused by drugs (range: 115,900 to 230,100). Opioids account for the majority of drug-related deaths and in most cases such deaths are avoidable. Drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Overdose deaths increased in all categories of drugs examined for men and women, people ages 15 and older, all races and ethnicities, and across all levels...
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323 Hits
JUN
25
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Syringe Access Program Stigma Still Exists

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By Gina Miraglia, Wellslpring Preventionist In October of 2017, the Trump Administration declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. In response, the department of Health and Human Services of the US government announced a 5-Point Strategy to Combat the Opioid Crisis. However, a recent study showed that there is less support than expected among Americans to reduce the risk of overdose and infections among opioid users using evidence-based strategies. In the June issue of Preventive Medicine journal, a study of over 1,000 American adults expressed their views on syringe access programs (SAPs) and safe injection sites. The study revealed that “only 29% of respondents supported legalizing safe injection sites in their communities and only 39% supported legalizing [SAPs] in their communities.” Those with unsupportive views were also found to have negative views about opioid users. Though this study exposed unfavorable views about these opioid epidemic tactics, it was still extremely...
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258 Hits
MAY
14
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Prevention Week at South Brunswick High School

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By Melisa Damcevska. The week of May 14th to May 19th marks SAMHSA’s 6th annual Prevention Week, a week that is solely dedicated to increasing the prevention of substance use and promotion of mental health. This year’s 2018 theme is “Action Today. Healthier Tomorrow” reminding all of us that the choices we make today will have consequences later on in life. Individuals, organizations, coalitions, and communities are encouraged to spread information and raise awareness to the prevention of substance use and the importance of mental health and wellness. Each day of the week focuses on particular topic: promotion of mental health, underage drinking, prescription drug and opioid misuse, youth marijuana and illicit drug use, prevention of suicide and prevention of youth tobacco use. South Brunswick High School is just one of the schools and communities across Middlesex County participating in Prevention Week. Students wrote letters to their future selves titled “Dear...
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533 Hits
MAY
09
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Be Smart About Medicine Awards Dinner 2018

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By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist I Every day, 2,000 teenagers take a prescription drug recreationally for the first time . Whether through self-medication or a lack of awareness of the risks, prescription drug abuse among adolescents is a growing and serious problem. To help raise awareness about prescription drug misuse among adolescents, the Coalition for Healthy Communities of Middlesex County has orchestrated its annual “ Be Smart About Medicine ” poster contest. Middle school students in grades 6-8 throughout Middlesex County are encouraged to submit artwork, whether through a written story or poem or a drawing, to showcase their freedom of expression as well as spreading valuable information to their peers. At the conclusion of the contest, three winners for first, second and third place are chosen for each grade, and these nine students are honored at the Annual Be Smart About Medicine Awards Dinner. This year, The Coalition for Healthy Communities...
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193 Hits

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