Category - Healthy Lamoille Valley

1
Getting Rid of “Dangerous Leftovers”
2
An Invitation to Participate
3
Talking to Youth About Marijuana
4
A Holiday Safety Checklist….
5
The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use
6
How Childhood Trauma Affects Lifelong Health
7
Back to School Checklist
8
Reasons to Get Out and About in Our Community
9
Holiday Drug Safety
10
Rethinking the Role of Alcohol

Getting Rid of “Dangerous Leftovers”

Year-round secure medication drop boxes are a convenient and safe way to get rid of  “dangerous leftovers” – i.e. unused, expired, and/or unwanted prescription medication. There are several in the area, including:

  • Copley Hospital – in the main hallway outside of the Laboratory Check-In window
  • Lamoille County Sheriff’s office in Hyde Park
  • Morristown Police Department
  • Hardwick Police Department.

This service is made possible through an agreement with the Vermont Department of Health in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and in collaboration with Healthy Lamoille Valley.

Meg Morris, RPH, Copley Hospital’s Director of Pharmacy with Sheriff Roger Marcoux, Copley CEO Art Mathisen and Chief Medical Officer Donald Dupuis, MD, flank the area’s newest prescription medication drop off box for unused or expired medications. It’s located at Copley Hospital, in the hallway before the Laboratory’s Check-In window.

 

Proper disposal of medication is essential. Otherwise, it might end up in the wrong hands; presenting a danger to children and pets; it could be used improperly, possibly fueling addition; or it could pollute local water systems if flushed down the toilet.

The Drop Boxes accept prescription, over-the-counter, and pet medication in any form from households. This includes: pills & capsules, blister packs, creams & gels, inhalers, patches, powders, and sprays. Please – no needles, syringes, lancets or thermometers and no medications from businesses.

Drop off is anonymous – no ID is required. Before dropping off any medications, please prepare them by crossing your name off the container and putting all of the containers together in a sealed clear plastic bag (such as a Ziplock bag). If you don’t have the original container, please place the medications in a sealed clear plastic bag and label it with the name of the medication.

In addition to the Prescription Medication Drop Box program, the Vermont Health Department has introduced mail-back envelopes for safe and secure drug disposal. Consumers can use these envelopes at home to safely and securely mail in expired and unused prescription medications.

Learn more about drug safety at healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs and at healthvermont.gov/alcohol-drugs/services/prescription-drug-disposal.

An Invitation to Participate

By: Jessica Bickford

Everyone reading this post has at least one thing in common: We are all part of a community. We can choose our level of interaction, but that does not change the fact that we are still members of a community. Living in a community provides us with opportunities to participate in making that community better. This occurs at several levels:

Individually … We can be our best self. What can you do to take care of you today?

In our homes … We look out for those with whom we live and work together to create a safe and loving home environment. Did you know that spending just one hour a day with our kids can have major positive impacts on their overall well-being? (These don’t have to be big things… think meal-times – preparing, eating, and cleaning up together… playing a game, reading a book, folding laundry together, taking a walk.)

In our neighborhood… We can choose to be good neighbors, watching out for others and being helpful, considerate, and caring for those around us. When was the last time you checked in on a neighbor?

In our towns… We can volunteer on a community board, coach a youth sports team, show up to vote, obey the laws, etc. How might you get involved in your town?

In general, we can be active community members by learning about our community and doing what we can to make it a better place to live, work, and play.  We can choose to make a positive difference.

Healthy Lamoille Valley, our community substance prevention coalition, invites you to come on Tuesday, September 25th to learn more about what the middle and high school students in our region are experiencing. We will look at the bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Data for our region and some of the work that is currently happening to reduce risk factors. Once we take a look at the data, we will talk about where risks are for youth are in our community and find ways, in our own circles of influence, to support youth. Visit https://healthylamoillevalley-coalition2018.eventbrite.com to see more information about the event and preregister.

Hope to see you there!


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Talking to Youth About Marijuana

By: Jessica Bickford

It is widely known that Act 86, which legalizes possession of marijuana by adults, takes effect on July 1st.  In my work with Healthy Lamoille Valley, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with community partners and there is an overwhelming concern for our youth as this law increases opportunities for youth access to marijuana. With this in mind, I want to share a few well-vetted resources to help youth, parents and community members.

What are we talking about? The first step in understanding the impacts of marijuana is to understand the drug.  This site from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens is particularly helpful and is designed be shared with your teen.  https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/marijuana

How do we talk to youth about it?  Talking with youth can feel difficult. Parentupvt is a great tool that provides sound advice and suggestions: http://parentupvt.org/how-can-i-help-prevent-it/talk-about-it. They also have infographics on marijuana: http://parentupvt.org/resources/infographics.

On the evening of June 5th, the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, Healthy Lamoille Valley, and Blueprint for Health are partnering with area middle and high school students to share a community forum: “Effective Communication with Youth.”  Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/3rd-annual-opiate-forum-presents-communicating-effectively-with-youth-tickets-45909426330.

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has a Youtube tutorial with communication tips for parents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FThKH0SEDeI

What are the guidelines around use and storage of marijuana? As with any legal drug, including alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and soon to be marijuana, we all have a role to play in safe, responsible storage and use. Act 86 provides very specific details on how and where adult use marijuana can be used and stored, as well as the quantities an individual can possess. In a nutshell, Act 86 only allows for use in a home residence, with some restrictions. Users are responsible to keep it away from anyone under the age of 21. (In fact, providing marijuana to minors has the same penalties as providing alcohol to a minor – up to a $2,000 fine and up to 5 years of prison time, per minor.) Those who have it or grow it are required to keep it secure where children and youth cannot access it, meaning locked up and out of sight. Users are not to drive impaired. Marijuana cannot legally be sold. https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT086/ACT086%20As%20Enacted.pdf

What do you need to know about marijuana and pregnancy? We know that alcohol and tobacco can cause some serious risks and complications to unborn children. It’s logical that marijuana can have risks as well. Check out more information at https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Pregnancy-508.pdf

How can I learn more and do more to prevent youth use? Healthy Lamoille Valley is working with Michelle Salvador at the Vermont Department of Health to host a community evening in June. Watch Healthy Lamoille Valley’s website for emerging details! Join us as we review the implications of Act 86 and then break into interest groups (parents, youth, educators, landlords, employers, etc.) to explore how we can prevent youth use and support area children and families.

Looking for more resources?

CDC Marijuana Use and Teens: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Teens-508.pdf

CDC Marijuana Use and Driving: https://www.cdc.gov/marijuana/pdf/Marijuana-Driving-508.pdf

SAMSHA’s Marijuana Page: https://www.samhsa.gov/atod/marijuana

Vermont’s Marijuana Impact Assessment: http://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2016/12/ADAP_HIA_Marijuana_Regulation_in_Vermont_Exec_Summary.pdf

Our partners at Mount Ascutney Hospital created a good summary of Act 86 legalization.  If you would like a copy please send your request to Jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

A Holiday Safety Checklist….

By: Jessica Bickford

 

It’s that time of year when we create lists to make sure that we don’t forget the important details of our celebrations. Today we’d like to provide you with a list for keeping yourself, your family, and your guests safe and healthy this holiday season.

Prescription Drug Safety – More information is available at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs.

____ Lock or safely secure prescription drugs and other medicines.  Talk to those you may be visiting to share this information with them as well.

____ Talk to younger children about NOT eating any “candy” without checking in with an adult first.  Many medicines look like candy to young children.

____ Talk to children and teens about the importance of not taking medicines prescribed to someone else.

___ Remove unwanted or expired prescription drugs from the home by bringing to one of the three year-round prescription take-back sites in our region: Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department.

___ If you have young children, sit on the floor or crawl around the places where they will be playing. It is not uncommon for a dropped pill to be unnoticed.

Alcohol

____ Offer fun, non-alcoholic drink options for guests. This helps youth to see that they don’t have to have alcohol to have fun and provides a nice choice for those who choose not to drink alcohol.

____ Monitor your alcohol. Serving or providing alcohol to minors is illegal and not good for them.  Assign an adult to ensure that youth do not have access to alcohol. Lock up open bottles of alcohol such as rum or brandy. Did you know that youth who use a drug, like alcohol, before the age of 15 are 5 times more likely to struggle with substance use at some time in their life? Not a pleasant holiday gift…

____ Monitor your guests. If you choose to serve alcohol, you are responsible to make sure that your guests are in a safe “state of being” to drive. Even “buzzed” drivers create fatalities.

____ Talk to your kids and teens about your expectations and the importance of waiting to consume alcohol until they are of age. Parentupvt.org has some great resources to help with these conversations! 

Tobacco

____ Talk to your children and teens about the dangers of tobacco products. Tobacco products come in many forms (e-cigarettes, chew and smokeless products, etc), but none are safe. The tobacco industry targets youth with use of flavors. You can find more at http://www.counterbalancevt.com.

____ If you have guests who smoke, prepare a designated outdoor smoking area out of the way of passersby where others will not be exposed to secondhand smoke. Or consider asking them to not smoke while at your home.

____ If you have guests who use smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes ask them to refrain from using in your presence, especially around youth.

____ If you or someone you know is ready to quit or thinking about it… share with them our local Vermont quit smoking resource, http://802quits.org.

General

____ Create a family check-in system. Family and friends’ gatherings can be wonderful or stressful. For our kids, they can be a time of connecting or a time to be challenged to try risky behaviors. Develop a plan with your children and teens to check in periodically throughout the gathering and help them to have a plan to get out of tricky situations without creating an awkward situation. Sample ideas include a keyword or phrase; asking if they can help; an invitation to join in a game…

____ Bring age-appropriate games or activities for your kids with you. You can help bring the fun… creating a joyous and safe environment!

____ Check out tips for safe food storage ahead of time! http://www.healthvermont.gov/environment/food-lodging/food-safety-consumers

____ Plan to have some healthy food options. Even a simple plate of raw vegetables is a pleasant break between the abundance of sweets and heavy holiday foods.

____ If you have a live tree, water two times a day. Consider adding a teaspoon of sugar every three days to feed the tree and keep it fresher longer.

____ Check your holiday lights. If there are any exposed wires or broken cords, discard and replace.

____ Depending on the length of your gathering, consider planning some opportunities for physical activity such as sledding, skating, a snowshoe, or a simple hike.

____ Don’t forget to check on your vacation days from work.  If you can take them, do! It’s healthy to take breaks from our work environments.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

 

The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use

By: Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

Perhaps you’ve heard about the impact of trauma on long-term health. In Vermont and here in Lamoille Valley there is a lot of attention being paid to the set of childhood experiences that are directly linked to challenges later in life. These experiences, called Adverse Childhood Experiences (see the list below), or ACEs, are traumatic events that, if untreated, can have significant negative effects. The most common of these ACEs in Vermont are: divorce/separation, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and extreme economic insecurity.

What may surprise you is the link between these ACEs and tobacco use. The chart below shows the number of ACEs and their relationship to early smoking onset, adult smoking rates, and the lung disease known as COPD. Here are some important statistics about those connections.

  • If you experience more than three ACEs you are more likely to use tobacco.
  • 88% of Vermont smokers started before age 18.
  • In Vermont, forty percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 who have experienced more than three ACEs are using tobacco. That’s more than twice the number of users in that age range who have fewer than three ACEs.
  • Those individuals with four or more ACEs are 3x more likely to start smoking before age 18.

According to the Vermont Department of Health website, tobacco use is the NUMBER ONE preventable cause of death. In Vermont, smoking costs approximately $348 million in medical expenses and results in about 1,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

 

According to their own internal documents, tobacco companies try to attract new young smokers by targeting retail stores near schools and parks. (http://www.counterbalancevt.com)

 

According to the 2015 Youth Behavior Risk Survey, almost one-quarter of high school students in Lamoille County have reported using three different types of tobacco products:  27% tried electronic vapor products, 23% tried a flavored tobacco product, and 22% smoked a whole cigarette, with 11% of students reporting that they smoked within the past 30 days.

If we want to reduce the use of tobacco and improve health outcomes in our region we must do something to reduce exposure to those ACEs, or do more to help young people heal from the impact of those experiences before they start using tobacco. The annual focus on urging smokers to quit is called The Great American Smokeout, and it occurred last week on November 16th. Maybe some of you participated in this event, and remain tobacco free!

The community has an important role to play in reducing the likelihood our young people will choose to smoke. The links between smoking rates and adverse childhood experiences tell us that solutions lie in community-level efforts that support children, youth, and families. Research shows that the kind of help that makes a difference includes community-level activities that:

  • Make sure all children are socially and emotionally supported, and
  • Assure each family has two or more people who can offer concrete support in times of need.

As you may have heard, Healthy Lamoille Valley (HLV), our community prevention coalition, has regained tobacco prevention funding and is charged with addressing prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth, eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, and increasing tobacco-free policies in towns, public places, workplaces, and college campuses. If you want to get connected to our local efforts, including our reestablished HLV Tobacco Prevention Task Force, contact the HLV Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator, Alison Link at alison@healthylamoillevalley.org. Check out the website at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/tobacco.

 

*ACEs include: mental illness, depression, or person with suicidal intentions in the home; drug addiction or alcoholic family member; parental discord – indicated by divorce, separation, abandonment; incarceration of any family member; witnessing domestic violence against the mother; child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional); child neglect (physical, emotional).


Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Lifelong Health

By: Jessica Bickford

Trauma… it’s the really horrific things that we go through as people… things that deeply impact us. For some, trauma is a single point in time while others experience ongoing trauma and instability.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary includes these concepts when defining the word trauma:

Injury caused by an extrinsic (outside ourselves) agent

Results in severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury

In many cases when we experience trauma as adults we have gained the tools and relationships to carry us through. When we experience trauma as children we do not necessarily have those resources or the brain development that gives us the resilience needed. The more trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that a child experiences, the greater the likelihood these experiences will have negative health impacts throughout their lifespan that can include obesity, heart disease, and substance use disorders.

The good news is that there is new science emerging that gives us hope that our negative childhood experiences do not have to be our destiny.  The NEAR* sciences, as they are called, present a picture of hope. Come join Tricia Long** and Daniela Caserta*** at the upcoming “How Childhood Trauma Affects Lifelong Health” Workshops to find out more on how we can come together as a community and build this hope and change our health outcomes!

Join us for one of these evenings:

November 7th, Hazen Auditorium – 6:00-8:00

November 14th, Green Mountain Technology and Career Center – 6:00-8:00

You can pre-register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-childhood-trauma-affects-lifelong-health-tickets-38547319069. Pre-registration is not required, so grab a friend or neighbor and come out to one of these informative evenings!  All are welcome!

 

* NEAR Science = Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs, & Resilience

** Tricia Long is a clinical mental health counselor, and Director for Resilience Beyond Incarceration at the Lamoille Restorative Center, a program that supports children and families dealing with parental incarceration.

*** Daniela Caserta has been overseeing a variety of programs at the Lamoille Family Center and is transitioning to be the Director of Programs for the Washington County Family Center.

 


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Back to School Checklist

By: Jessica Bickford

Pencils… check!

Notebook paper… check!

Erasers…. Check!

Endless stacks of back to school forms… check!

Plans and lists are being made…but the real question facing families with school aged children is: “How are you helping prepare your child for the stress that a new year can bring?” 

While there is no formal checklist for this, I’ve compiled some snippets from some of Healthy Lamoille Valley’s go-to resource websites. We hope you check them out and talk about them as a family!

Parentupvt.orgLearn which students are most at risk of substance misuse, how to prevent misuse, and how to respond if you think your child might be trying alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs.

Website excerpt:

“We all know how important fitting in is when you’re a teenager. And drinking or drugs can seem like an easy way to make new friends and find a place in a new school. Teens can also feel pressured if they’re looking to fit into a group of kids who are drinking or using drugs. And some teens who’ve always been seen as “the good one” may even try to use drinking or drugs to change their image.

That’s why it’s so important to talk to your child and monitor your child’s behaviors, friends, and activities regularly—especially during times of transition.”

Ryanpatrickhalligan.org – Practical suggestions relating to technology and cyberbullying. John Halligan came to Bishop Marshall and Stowe schools last spring to share Ryan’s story with students and parents. If you couldn’t make it, you can now rent John’s parent presentation at this site as well.

Website Excerpt:

“If your child is under 13, you do have the option to have these accounts deleted since most of these services have an age and parental consent requirement per the Federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

      • Have them share with you all their user account names and passwords.
      • Make certain they never have and will never share their passwords with anyone, even a friend. Explain the risk of someone impersonating them and ruining their reputation
      • Remove the technology (cells phones, tablets, iPods, computers) from the bedroom, specifically, when it is time to sleep.”

Teens.drugabuse.gov – It’s important to give your kids resources as well. This one is designed for teens, but also has links for parents including researched based scientific facts about various drugs.

Website Excerpt:

“Another teen from Croatan High School in North Carolina submitted:

My best friend of 7 years has smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, and tried other drugs since she was 11. She has dealt with social services, law enforcement, and was sent to a foster home for 3 months. She has been back home for a month and says she’s going to change. I love her and don’t want her to go back down the same road again, but she doesn’t want to hear it when I talk to her about drugs. How can I help her?”

Healthvermont.gov – State, county, and school district data helps you to know what struggles and strengths your student encounters daily. Many of Lamoille Valley’s Middle and High Schools have student “Getting to Y” groups looking at this data and planning ways to help their classmates who may be struggling.

Website Excerpt:

“The YRBS was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1990 to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disease, injury and social problems among youth. These behaviors, often established during childhood and early adolescence, include:

  • Behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence
  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Weight status
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Sexual behaviors

The survey is part of a larger effort to help communities increase the resiliency of young people by reducing high risk behaviors and promoting healthy behaviors. Vermont collects student responses every two years from nearly every high school and middle school in the state.”

Was this information helpful? Do you have other resources you’d like to share? Share in the comments section below or message the author at: jessica@healthylamoillevalley.org.


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Reasons to Get Out and About in Our Community

By: Todd Thomas

I’m happy to report that spring has finally sprung. For those of us without winter sports interests, you can now safely step away for your woodstove, put away your touque and mittens, and get back outside. Spring is when many of us return to our gardens, resume our walking and jogging routines, and get active again. For those of you about to be active again, and even those of you that have not been active in a few years, I want to share a couple of great resources that will inspire you to get outside and pound the pavement (and maybe even shed a few of those winter pounds).

Lamoille Valley Walking Routes_Live Well LamoilleFirst, Healthy Lamoille Valley published a handy pocket-sized guide of walking routes, suitable for all abilities, located in both Morrisville and Hyde Park. This little guide book is a must-have for anyone that wants to get active the spring on our local roads and trails. The guidebook, pictured to the side, is available in the Morristown town clerk’s office. The guidebooks are free and are only available in a limited quantity. First come, first served!

Second, for those of you just starting to get active again, or those of us who do not like sharing the road with cars while exercising, there is an alternative. In the coming months, there will be a new walking path in the heart of our community that will celebrate Morrisville’s unique history and architecture. This walk will be suitable for all ages and abilities, as it will be done completely on the downtown sidewalks. This walk will take you to the most exemplary historical, architectural, and artsy sites in the downtown area. From a secret Fenway Park mural behind Riverbend Market, to Governor Hendee’s house on Park Street and to a church bell stolen from New Orleans during the Civil War on Upper Main Street, this walk will be educational and invigorating. For more on the soon to-be Morrisville History & Art Walk, here’s a great article on the Morristown Alliance for Commerce and Culture website:  

http://maccvt.org/2017/01/27/morrisville-history-and-art-walk/

I look forward to seeing you all around town being healthy and active!


Todd Thomas has a Master’s Degree in City Planning from Boston University and has worked both in Massachusetts and Vermont as a consultant and as a land use planner for town government. Todd is currently the Planning Director for Morristown, Vermont.

Todd’s recent work includes helping to revitalize downtown Morrisville, making it the fastest growing city and/or historic downtown in the State since the 2010 Census. Todd attributes much of the downtown’s housing and population growth to zoning reform as it relates to minimum parking requirements.

Holiday Drug Safety

By: Jessica Bickford

Holiday drug safety

With the holidays quickly skipping in our direction through autumn’s gloriously, crunchy carpet, we will most likely soon have visitors or be a visitor in someone’s home. This is a prime time to think about medication safety. The majority of us have over-the-counter and prescription medicine in our homes. The question is, “How do we ensure they are secure and only taken as designed?”

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Keep all medicines secured and out of reach of children. The medicine cabinet is not a good place, as it gives unrestricted access to anyone who visits your bathroom… including curious, climbing children. Locked boxes or closets are considered optimal for many prescription drugs, but well-monitored, high-up, out-of-sight areas will work too. Basically any area that can easily be supervised, but not on display.
  2. If traveling with medicines, consider asking your host the best place to safely store them while visiting.
  3. Clean out your medicines regularly keeping only what is needed in your home. This is especially true of prescription medications. Take a few moments to go through your medicines, checking for expired or unwanted leftovers. The Hardwick Police Department, Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department, and Morristown Police Department are all equipped to take unwanted prescription medicines year-round, no questions asked.

Parents have an added need for vigilance. When my kids were younger we visited my husband’s grandparents for Thanksgiving and our kids discovered a dropped pill under the television stand. It was just a Tylenol and we were able to dispose of it, but it illustrates the need for added attention. Here are a few tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your host about the importance of making sure their medicines are secured.
  2. Before you arrive, talk with children about safe medicine use and the need to be given medicines by a parent or caregiver. Also share the importance of not eating “candy” without checking in with an adult first – many medicines and prescriptions may look like candy, especially to a younger child. Another good conversation to have is about staying in well-supervised areas. For example, “Grammy and Grampa’s bedroom is their space, and we want to respect their privacy.”
  3. If you have younger children who may be playing on the floor, sit with them and play. While playing, scan the lower half of the room to discover any wayward pill or other small objects that may present a risk.
  4. Monitor your children and teens. Have fun, but know where they are and what they’re doing. ParentUpVT.org is a great resource with tips for conversations and ideas for checking in with children and teens.

A few minutes spent thinking about medicine safety may help your upcoming holiday visits stay merry and bright!

Looking for more resources on prescription drug safety? Here are helpful resources:

http://healthvermont.gov/adap/RxOTCabuse.aspx

Healthylamoillevalley.org


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.

Rethinking the Role of Alcohol

By: Jessica Bickford

lemonade recipe

This past weekend, many of us gathered together with friends and family to celebrate the Fourth of July. We often see these celebrations as a great time to kick back with a beer, glass of wine, or mixed drink.

Working in substance abuse prevention, I’d like to challenge you to rethink the role of alcohol at your next event. (This does not mean that you will necessarily eliminate its presence altogether, but take a look…) Below are simple tips to decrease the role of alcohol in your celebrations.

1) It’s easy for our children and teens to get the message that you need alcohol to have fun. When every gathering has alcohol it’s too easy for it to become normal, leading them to believe that they can increase their fun if they have alcohol.

Tip: Have festive, quality non-alcoholic drinks on hand so that youth can celebrate too and see adults choosing non-alcoholic options. (Keep reading for a recipe for homemade lemon/limeade.

 2) Alcohol at gatherings is often not monitored well enough – making it easier for youth to experiment.*

Tip: If you have alcohol present – assign someone to monitor it to ensure that underage guests are not helping themselves. Check out Parentupvt.org for more great tips to connect with your teens!

3) You may have guests who are in long-term substance abuse recovery. Having an alcohol-free party allows them to celebrate without concern that they may relapse.

Tip: Check in with your guests before the party and always provide non-alcoholic options.

4) The drive home. Unless your guests are spending the night, you may be putting them and others at risk if they get behind the wheel.

Tip: Monitor your guests’ drinking and if someone is buzzed or intoxicated, arrange for them to stay or get a ride home.

5) The expense. Alcohol is expensive.

Tip: If you limit alcohol, you can invest in nicer food and have your guests talking about your party for years to come!

 6) Less stress. Limiting or skipping alcohol can minimize stress. No one has to worry “Uncle Bill” drinking too much and getting out of control.

Tip: Focus on fun and being together. Provide activities that your guests enjoy, like horseshoes, cards, volleyball, etc.

Celebrate well and make safety a priority!

 

Bonus Recipe: Lemon/Limeade for a Crowd

Homemade Lemonade/Limeade is a hit at our celebrations! I love that I don’t have to worry about who drinks it or how much they consume. Plus, I can usually make it for under $5!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pound bag of lemons/limes
  • 3 Cups of sugar (Less if you like it tart, but I’ve found this ratio to be good for a crowd)
  • 3 Gallons of Water
  • Ice
  • Fun garnish of your choice… paper straws, sliced up lemon peels, mint, berries, etc.

(Makes 3 Gallons. For less, us 3-4 lemons/limes, 1 cup sugar, 1 gallon water.)

Directions:

  • Juice your citrus.
  • Add sugar and about ½ of the water.
  • Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved.
  • Add your ice, then top off with water.
  • Garnish and enjoy!

* According to SAMHSA, youth who experiment with alcohol are more likely to have substance abuse dependence requiring treatment between the ages of 18-30. 


Jessica Bickford has worked as Coordinator of Healthy Lamoille Valley for a little over two years, where she has enjoyed writing for their blog. Writing for Copley’s community blog is a natural extension of this experience! Healthy Lamoille Valley focuses on making healthy choices easy choices, realizing that when we have access to healthy options we are less likely to choose behaviors that are harmful. Prevention is really a lifestyle of wise choices that enable us to live life to the fullest.