Tag Archives: Statewide

Texas Partnership for Children in Nature Calls For Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids; Statewide Conference Dec. 3-4 to Probe Problems, Solutions

Austin, TX (PRWEB) November 23, 2010

Go outside and play. How many times did todays parents hear that familiar phrase while growing up? Studies say kids today dont hear it enough, and that its time for a change.

Mobile devices and video games have all but replaced the days of playing Kick the Can on neighborhood streets with friends, or just hanging out at a park all day. In fact, kids today spend just four to seven minutes outside each day in unstructured outdoor play (like climbing trees), yet more than seven hours each day in front of an electronic screen.

If we dont address this issue today, then what were facing in the next generation is that children will have a much shorter life span than their parents,” said Dr. Kimberly Avila Edwards, a pediatrician at the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Childrens Medical Center of Central Texas and chair of the Texas Pediatric Society obesity committee.

Avilas talking about the link between childhood obesity and sedentary indoor lifestyles. Shes part of a growing chorus of expert voices from diverse disciplines, all urging steps to reconnect kids and families with nature and the outdoors.

The Texas Partnership for Children in Nature will host a conference to address the problem Dec. 3-4 in Austin. The purpose is to present the partnerships strategic plan to educators, conservationists, health practitioners, policymakers and others who care about the issue and can work to implement the plan in their communities.

The Austin conference is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Winkler Family Foundation. Friday, the public is welcome to join from 8 am to 3 pm, to see the plan presented, for the cost of lunch, $ 11. See the conference website for the complete agenda and list of speakers and topics. Please see details, agenda, and access registration at http://www.texaschildreninnature.org.

Conference speakers include Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director; Joe Frost, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin professor emeritus; Kevin Coyle, National Wildlife Federation vice president of education; Elizabeth Goodenough, Ph.D., creator of the PBS documentary Where Do the Children Play?; and Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas vice president and chief medical officer and former Texas Department of State Health Services executive director.

As the trend away from outdoor play and learning deepens, we are witnessing sobering consequences for childrens health and well-being, said TPWDs Smith. Additionally, this youngest generation is missing out on critical experiences that lay the foundation for future stewardship of our natural resources.

The good news: experts say the problem is solvable. Unlike complex environmental or economic problems, getting families and children back to nature is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. We can reverse this trend, Smith said. We can restore our childrens well-being and their relationship with Texass rich natural and cultural heritage.

The partnerships roots trace to fall 2009, when a bi-partisan group of Texas legislators asked TPWD, the Texas Education Agency, Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Department of Agriculture to form a public-private partnership and develop a strategic plan. Over 80 professionals answered the call, including representatives from state and federal agencies, non-profits, businesses, and health, education, natural resource and community organizations.

Their discoveries include some sobering statistics:

Iowa Medicine TLC Statewide Public Education Program Kicks Off to Prevent Teen Medicine Misuse and Abuse

Cedar Rapids, IA (PRWEB) October 09, 2013

The Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center (ISAIC), in collaboration with the Governors Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), today announced a statewide public education program to prevent teen prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug misuse and abuse. The Iowa Medicine TLC Talk, Lock and Connect program kicks off in conjunction with October Medicine Misuse and Abuse Prevention Month in Iowa.

The improper use of medicines is the fastest growing form of substance abuse in Iowa. Teens are more likely to misuse or abuse prescription or OTC medicines than illicit drugs due to the ease of access to prescription medicines, according the 2012 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS). More than four in 10 teens nationally who have misused or abused a prescription drug say they took it from their parents medicine cabinet.

Iowa parents must be informed of this dangerous and growing problem and start taking the right steps to protect their teens from prescription and OTC medicine misuse and abuse, said Emily Blomme, program manager, Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center. Prevention starts with talking with your teens, securing these drugs and connecting with our center for help and to learn more. Iowa Medicine TLC is a new kind of TLC we encourage all parents to give to their teens.

PATS results show the most effective way to prevent Iowa teens from misusing or abusing medicines is for parents to discuss the dangers with their teens. PATS found only 14 percent of parents have discussed the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs with their teens, as opposed to about 80 percent of parents who talk to their teens about alcohol or marijuana.

Many parents may not realize that prescription and OTC medicines, when misused, can be just as dangerous or deadly as street drugs like heroin or cocaine. According to the most recent data available from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, more Americans die of drug overdoses than car crashes. The study showed that 60 percent of these overdoses were from prescription drugs and 74 percent of the overdoses were unintentional.

Mary Patch of Dubuque, Iowa, knows firsthand that it only can take the misuse of three prescription pills to take your childs life. Patch was the guardian of her niece, Vanessa, who died in 2007 of an accidental overdose of prescribed medicinestwo antidepressants and one painkiller.

Since Vanessas death, teen prescription abuse has been on the rise. According to PATS, one in four American teens reported having misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, which is a 33 percent increase from 2008 to 2012. Iowa has had one of the lowest self-reported rates of prescription drug misuse in the pastwith only 6 percent of Iowa 11th graders reporting to have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, according to a 2012 Iowa Youth Survey.

Although teen self-reporting is lower in our state, other indicators are showing a steep rate of increase of prescription drug misuse and abuseand this has us very concerned, said Steve Lukan, director, Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy. During the last decade, the number of Iowans age 12 or older treated for prescription pain reliever abuse has increased more than 250 percent, and overdoses due to pain medicines have increased 1,200 percent.

Taryn Erbes, a 17-year-old Kennedy High School student, was a good student, involved in extracurricular activities like track and wrestling. She was introduced to prescription pain relievers, including the opiate Oxycontin, and the tranquilizer Xanax, at a local Pharm Party, where kids bring prescription medicines (often their own meds or meds stolen from a parent), mix them in a bowl and take a variety of unknown medicines to get high. Erbes is currently in Area Substance Abuse Councils (ASAC) inpatient recovery program in Cedar Rapids for prescription drug abuse.

Parents need to be aware of the most commonly abused medicines to protect their teens from medicine misuse and abuse. In addition to prescription pain relievers and tranquilizers, prescriptions to monitor carefully include stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as Adderall and Ritalin. According to Lukan, college students are more apt to misuse ADHD medicines in an effort to perform better on exams, while tweens are more apt to abuse Dextromethorphan, a cough-suppressant ingredient found in many OTC cold medicines.

An indicator Iowans are more aware of the risks of prescription drugs is the volume of prescription drugs subject to abuse collected through the Iowa Take-Back initiative, which includes biannual prescription drug drop-off events. Iowans returned nearly 8,000 pounds of unused or expired drugs during the April 2013 event, versus roughly 5,000 pounds for the September 2012 event. The next series of community Take Back events is scheduled for October 26.

Iowa parents are encouraged to not only talk to their own teens about proper medicine use, but also prevent more cases of teen medicine misuse by properly securing and disposing of medicines. For proper disposal at home, ODCP recommends removing identifying labels and mixing prescriptions with used kitty litter or coffee grounds in a plastic bag, sealing the bag and placing it in household trash.

The ISAIC public education program includes mass-media public service announcements and digital strategies targeting parents, including social media and email campaigns and a new website, IowaMedicineTLC.org, complete with resources and tools. Funding for this project is from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS CFDA #16.710, Grant #2009CKWX0379).

ISAIC is a Cedar Rapids Public Library program funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health. ISAIC, a member of Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists, provides individuals and organizations with educational tools to aid in the prevention and recovery of substance abuse. The Governors Office of Drug Control Policy improves the health and safety of all Iowans by promoting strategic and collaborative approaches to reduce drug use and related crime. To learn more about the Iowa Medicine TLC public education program, visit IowaMedicineTLC.org or call 866-242-4111.