"Each year we bring our fifth graders to experience the Adventure Learning Center's alpine tower, giant swing, and team building exercises. They always come back energized, proud, and united! I believe it is one of the best field trips for kids! The staff is always positive, encouraging and totally dedicated to the kids. "

— 5th Grade Counselor, New Hanover County Schools

Author Archives: CoastalPrevention

Everybody Deserves a Massage Week July 16-22

Everybody Deserves a Massage Week was July 16-22, 2017. Even though the week has passed that doesn’t mean you should miss out on getting your massage!  

Benefits of Massages:

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage helps:

·         Anxiety

·         Digestive disorders

·         Fibromyalgia

·         Headaches

·         Insomnia related to stress

·         Myofascial pain syndrome

·         Soft tissue strains or injuries

·         Sports injuries

·         Joint pain

*Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before replacing the use of medications with massage therapy.*



July was Purposeful Parenting Month

Although July has passed, we can’t let Purposeful Parenting Month go by without talking about it. Purposeful Parenting Month promotes strong, positive, functional families and preparing children to achieve the best life possible

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

A few ways to promote strong/functional families is healthy communication, family values, and healthy environment.

Healthy communication between parents and youth can minimize the risk of mental disorder and substance misuse among youth. It is important to have regular open communication and to start these communications at a young age.

Family values provide a foundation for the family. Clear family values provide influence for decision making, guidance for raising children and protection from outside influences.

Healthy environments provide youth a safe place where they can experience love, trust, understanding and compassion.

Looking for parenting resources:

In Brunswick County, Coastal Horizons provides a Strengthening Families program which is a free 8-week program to the community. Strengthening Families is a program designed for children and their parent or caregiver to enhance parenting skills, build life skills in youth, and strengthening family bonds. Highly interactive sessions include learning games, small group sessions, family projects, discussions, and role-playing.

In New Hanover County, Coastal Horizons provides a Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) program which is a free 7-week program to the community. STEP lessons focus on understanding child behavior, positive learning, giving encouragement, exploring alternative parenting behaviors, expressing ideas and feeling. Parents engage in exercises and discussions of hypothetical parenting situations.

For more information please contact Erin Ditta at 910-202-0840 or [email protected]

Link Between Alcohol Use and Increased Cancer Risk

Did you know that only 39% of Americans are aware of the link between alcohol use and cancer? Scientist in the UK have found that certain cancers are more prominent within people that drink more alcohol over others that drink less or don’t drink at all. Alcohol causes 4% of cancers in the UK, around 12,800 cases, EVERY YEAR!

In our bodies, alcohol (ethanol) is broken down and converted into a toxic chemical known as acetaldehyde. This chemical can cause cancer by damaging the bodies DNA and keeping the cells within the body from repairing the damage. The International Agency of Research on Cancer have classified acetaldehyde formed as result of drinking alcohol as being a cause of cancer, along with alcohol itself. The acetaldehyde chemical also increases growth of liver cells, which can lead to changes in their genes and could potentially lead to cancer.

Of course the less you drink the better. Regularly drinking just one pint of beer or one glass of wine can increase the risk of mouth, upper throat, esophageal, breast, and bowel cancers. The more you reduce your alcohol intake, the more you reduce your risk for developing these certain types of cancers. Along with cancer, you will also be reducing the risk for accidents or injuries, high blood pressure, liver disease, and pancreatitis by decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed.

Here are some tips on how to cut down on alcohol use:

  • Have more alcohol-free days a week. Set certain days with your partner or friend and help each other stick to it.
  • If you are planning to drink alcohol, decide on a limit in advance and make sure you don’t go over it.
  • Swap every other alcoholic drink for a non-alcoholic drink.
  • Try shandy instead of a pint of beer, or swap some wine for soda and a spritzer.
  • Don’t stock up on beer, wine, or spirits at home.
  • Finish one drink before pouring another, because topping off drinks makes it harder to keep track of how much you’ve had and when you planned to stop.
  • Avoid buying drinks in rounds, that way you don’t have to keep pace with anyone.
  • Tell a friend or partner that you’re cutting down on alcohol, they can support you- or even join you.

Information from Cancer Research UK and American Institute on Cancer Research.

Take Back 420

See original posting by CADCA here

CADCA – Coalitions in Action: Making the time to Educate Parents and Students about 420

Coalitions are “re-mixing” what “420” means to youth, changing the perception that marijuana is not harmful, and are re-claiming April 20th from an unofficial marijuana smokers’ “holiday.”

The most widely accepted theory of “420’s” origination is that in the 1970s, high school-age stoners in Northern California congregated at 4:20 p.m. daily. “420” has evolved into an unofficial marijuana holiday.

Rather than celebrating such a “holiday,” coalition members want parents to speak openly about the harm of marijuana use with their kids and change the social norm amongst all ages. They want to reclaim the day.

Recognizing that the legalization of a commercial marijuana industry in Washington state has a significant impact on shaping the social norms that influence a youth decision to use, a coalition member requested the governor proclaim 420 “Talk With Your Kids About NOT Using Marijuana Day” in Washington state. In response to that, agencies are planning a social media campaign and other activities through community coalitions based on this proclamation leading up to 420.

“Now signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, this proclamation not only points out several risk factors about underage marijuana use, but gives parents a legitimate tool to push back on constructs like 420 that would otherwise encourage and normalize marijuana use,” said Derek Franklin, Project Director, Mercer Island Communities That Care Coalition on Mercer Island, Wash.

Other communities across the country are participating in anti-420 activities. The North Coastal Prevention Coalition in Southern California will hold an annual social media campaign and an event for 6th through 9th graders called “420 Remix, A Celebration of Sober and Drug-Free Life Choices” at a local amusement park. New this year to the mix is a public service announcement contest that the coalition is holding to engage youth in developing messages for their peers to increase youth perception of harm from marijuana use, and decrease marijuana use by youth.

Share what your coalition is doing around 420 on CADCA’s Facebook page. 

Know! April is Alcohol Awareness Month

NC Parent Resource Center

brings you


Talking regularly with kids about the dangers of alcohol,
tobacco and other drugs reduces their risk of using.

Click here to view in your web browser.

Know! April is Alcohol Awareness Month

The media has done a good job bringing to light the prevalence and severity of the use of heroin, prescription drugs and marijuana among our nation’s youth. But what about alcohol? We don’t hear much about it in the news anymore. Is underage drinking still that widespread? And c’mon, is it really that big of a deal? YES and YES.

Alcohol remains the number one drug of choice among youth, and excessive drinking continues to lead to more than 4,300 adolescent deaths each year.

The good news is that overall, underage drinking has declined. The 2016 Monitoring the Future Survey found that 7% of 8th graders, 20% of 10th graders and 33% of 12th graders had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days – all down from past years. Similarly, when it comes to binge drinking (defined as five or more drinks in a row by males or four or more drinks in a row by females), it has also decreased, with 3% of 8th graders, 10% of 10th graders and 16% of 12th graders reporting recent binge drinking. However, anytime young people are drinking alcohol, it is a problem. Furthermore, the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that 8% of high school students admitted to getting behind the wheel after drinking and 20% said they rode in a car with a driver who had been drinking.

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for adolescents. And stepping into a car as either an impaired driver or as the passenger of an impaired driver can be a fatal mistake.

The hazards of underage drinking include a long list of risks and should never be taken lightly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience:

  • School Problems – missing school and poor or failing grades
  • Social problems – fighting and loss of interest in extracurricular activities
  • Legal problems – from impaired driving or physically hurting someone while under the influence
  • Physical problems – hangovers and illnesses
  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development
  • Changes in brain development – some that may have lifelong effects, including memory issues
  • Unwanted, unplanned and unprotected sexual activity
  • Abuse of other drugs
  • Physical and sexual assault
  • Increased risk for suicide and homicide
  • Unintentional alcohol-related injuries and fatalities – due to burns, falls, drowning and alcohol poisoning (in addition to car crashes)

There are also certain times and circumstances in our children’s lives where they may be at greater likelihood for underage drinking. When youth transition into middle school or high school, or acquire a driver’s license – these are especially risky times for teen alcohol use. Youth with conduct problems, depression or other emotional issues; anyone with a family history of alcoholism; young people whose friends drink or are involved in other deviant activities – are all at increased risk for the onset of teen drinking.

It is also important to keep in mind that young people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop alcoholism or have problems with alcohol later in life, compared to those who wait until turning 21. With this in mind, the importance of delaying drinking is immense. In the following tip we will share some ideas to assist you in keeping your child alcohol-free.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol Fact Sheets – Underage Drinking. 2016 Monitoring the Future Survey. 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Know! To Secure, Monitor and Properly Dispose

NC Parent Resource Center

brings you Know!

Talking regularly with kids about the dangers of alcohol,
tobacco and other drugs reduces their risk of using.

Click here to view in your web browser.

Know! To Secure, Monitor and Properly Dispose

Tis the season for spring cleaning. As you’re working hard to get your home decluttered, organized, spotless and sparkling, be sure to include the clearing out of old, unused or unwanted medicines – it’s a vitally important task.

Families are continuing to be devastated and destroyed as children end up in the ER, become addicted, suffer physical pain and emotional turmoil, and some lose their lives altogether – all in the name of prescription drug abuse. Medicine abuse among youth continues to trend at an alarming rate and for what? According to youth, they use to get high, treat pain, sleep, stay awake, fit in or do better in school. And the majority say they can get these drugs easily and for free, from unknowing, unsuspecting family members and friends through unlocked medicine cabinets.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs fall into three categories: Painkillers, Depressants and Stimulants. Because so much attention, nationwide, has been drawn to the dangers of prescription pain pills (and rightfully so), many people are now aware of the hazards they present and are hopefully more vigilant in keeping them properly stored and monitored. However, many people are not aware of the risks other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and how common the abuse of these medications have become.

Doctor-prescribed stimulant medications used to treat anxiety, for instance, are common drugs of abuse, as well as doctor-prescribed depressants, like sleep medications. Young people typically abuse stimulants to stay awake or get ramped up for a night of partying, while depressants may be later used to then come back down, help users relax or to induce sleep.
Some teens are known to grab pills from home, or from the homes of relatives and friends, not knowing what they are or what they do, with the intention of taking them to teen “Skittles” parties, where everyone brings pills, dumps them in a bowl, and pops them in their mouths like candy. In this situation, users have no idea what they’re ingesting or the side effects that might accompany any one particular pill, let alone the outcome of mixing with alcohol or multiple other drugs.

Then there’s cough medicine; the sticky, syrupy stuff that most children turn their nose up to when they’re actually sick, because of the bitter taste…both the prescription strength that contains codeine, as well as the over-the-counter version that contains DXM, are both being abused by teens. Mixed typically with sprite (or other soda) and a Jolly Rancher, this nasty-tasting medicine, often referred to as Purple Drank, Syrup, Sizzurp and Lean (because it literally causes users to lean over), becomes a candy-flavored cocktail that produces a relaxed, euphoric high, when taken in high doses.

ADHD medicines are also popular drugs of abuse among youth, frequently being abused for purposes of weight loss or academic performance enhancement. And as youth get older, parents are more likely to entrust them to handle and self-administer their own medications. But far too often, these pills end up in the hands of unintended users, like friends or classmates.

The side-effects and drug interactions of these medicines can be highly dangerous, and even deadly. It is immensely important for parents, grandparents and other adults to eliminate the ease of access of these drugs by removing medications from nightstands, kitchen cabinets and any other unsecured location, and to then follow these three simple steps:
SECURE: Safeguard all your prescription and over-the-counter medications in a locked cabinet, drawer or safe that is inaccessible to your teens and their friends.

MONITOR: Make note of how many pills or the amount of liquid in each medicine bottle you have in your home. Keep track of refills and be sure you control any medication that is prescribed to your child.

DISPOSE: Take advantage of the many drug drop boxes and drug take-back days that are available across the country. Otherwise, follow these guidelines for proper drug disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications.

Click here to find a drug drop box in your area.

Click here for local information of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) coordinated National Take Back Day on Saturday, April 29, 2017.

Sources: United States Environmental Protection Agency. U.S Department of Justice – drug Enforcement Administration – diversion control Division. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Know! To Stop, Drop and Breathe

NC Parent Resource Center brings you Know!

Talking regularly with kids about the dangers of alcohol,
tobacco and other drugs reduces their risk of using.

Click here to view in your web browser.

Know! To Stop, Drop and Breathe

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” ― Ambrose Bierce

Even as adults, anger can be a difficult emotion to control, especially when it involves a child who continues to defy his or her parents. No one can push our buttons like our own children. However, the importance of exhibiting self-control in order to discipline a child appropriately, is monumental.

An angry parent is scary enough. An angry parent who is in the habit of yelling and screaming, swearing and/or calling their child names, is likely to cause even more harm, since a child’s very sense of ‘self’ depends so greatly on mom and dad. As for hitting, slapping or other physical force toward a child; it is likely to not only cause fear and hurt in the present, but can leave lasting, negative impressions that follow the child into adulthood, including relationship problems, as well as increased risk for substance abuse, among other issues.

We love our children more than anything, but we all get frustrated and angry with them at times – that’s human nature. We are the adult in the relationship, however, so we must behave like one to express that frustration and anger properly. We must also keep in mind that we are our children’s role models. They, of course, get angry too. And how they handle their anger will depend a great deal on what they’ve learned by watching us. So think about the qualities and characteristics you want to create and nurture within your child, and the type of person you want your child to become. Dr. Laura Markham, clinical psychologist and author of Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids, offers these tips as effective, positive ways to discipline your child, that encourage better behavior, while keeping your emotions in-check:

Set limits and expectations BEFORE you get angry: Make sure the rules are clear and clearly known.

Calm down BEFORE you take action: Anger causes us to lose our ability to think clearly. So if your heart is beginning to race and your body is starting to tense, it is time to STOP, DROP (your agenda, just for a minute), and BREATHE. This is like hitting the pause button on the situation.

Take five or 10: You may need to step away for a moment to gain your composure and harness your self-control. Exiting does not let your child win. Instead it lets them know how serious the situation is, plus it models self-control. Just say, as calmly as you can, “I am too mad right now to talk about this. I am going to take a moment and calm down.”

WAIT before disciplining: Make it a point NEVER to act while angry. Nothing says you have to hand out a punishment on the fly. In fact, when we do, it is more likely to be irrational. Give yourself time to think; you can say something like, “I want to think about what just happened, and we will talk about it later. In the meantime, I need to make dinner and you need to finish your homework, please.” The suspense will be much more powerful than a list of empty threats that are not enforced because they were said in the heat of the moment.

AVOID PHYSICAL FORCE, NO MATTER WHAT: This is an instance where hands-off parenting is a must. According to Dr. Laura, getting physical may make YOU feel better temporarily because it discharges your rage, but it is bad for your child, and ultimately sabotages everything positive you do as a parent.

Monitor your tone and word choice: Nothing positive comes from swearing and/or speaking disrespectfully to children. It will only cause upset and further escalate the situation. Speaking in a calm tone, using appropriate language, helps us to remain calm and helps our children to respond more calmly.

Consider that you’re part of the problem: Angry parents are more likely to produce angry kids. Be open to emotional growth, take responsibility to manage your own emotions first, and seek assistance if needed. Your positive example will bring your child closer to you, make them want to please you more and it will set the foundation for them in knowing how to appropriately deal with negative emotions.

For the full article, How to Handle Your Anger at Your Child, and more detailed tips on peaceful parenting by Dr. Laura, click here.

Source: Aha!Parenting.com – Laura Markham Ph.D., Peaceful Parents, Happy Kids: How to Handle Your Anger at Your Child.

Poison Prevention Month

Tune into WECT and see Jane McDonald discuss Poison Prevention/Medication Safety

Date: Thursday, March 9, 2017

Time: 5am to 7am

Safety Facts:

  • Poison Prevention Week is March 19-25, 2017
  • Poisoning is the #1 cause of injury-related death in the U.S.
  • One child every eight minutes is rushed to the emergency room due to medication poisoning.
  • Although children under the age of 6 were involved in about half of poisoning exposures in 2014, they comprised only 1.4% of poisoning deaths.  Most (66%) of deaths occurred among 20-59 year olds.

Let’s face it, sometimes kids get into things that they probably shouldn’t. Here are a few tips to keep little explorers from finding their way into household items that could be dangerous.

But just in case, we’ll also show you what to do if your child accidentally ingests something harmful.

  • Safe Storage
    • Always place medicines, including vitamins, in high storage places out of a child’s reach.
    • Most children get into medicines that are found on the ground or misplaced (27%), left in purses (20%), and on nightstands (20%).
    • Remember that child-resistant does not mean child-proof; with time and persistence a child may be able to open the packaging.
    • Common forgotten medications include: make-up, art supplies, eye drops, diaper rash cream, laxatives, vitamins, and vapor rub creams.
    • The leading cause of nonmedical exposure calls to poison control centers for children age 5 and under were due to cosmetic and personal care products.
    • Grandparents medication account for majority of poisonings (38%); mother’s medicine (31%); sibling’s medicine (12%); father’s medicine (8%); Aunt/uncle medication (5%); known/other source (6%).
    • Install child safety lock on cabinets or consider a personal lock box and clean out old, unused and expired medications frequently.
  • Safe Use
    • Always use medications the way they were intended and prescribed to be used.
    • Read the label and use the measuring device that came with the medication.
      • Kitchen utensils such as teaspoon and tablespoon will not measure the same as the device that came with the medication.
    • Never share medications, even amongst household members.
    • Never use “leftover” medications. The integrity of medications can change over time.
    • Don’t adjust your dosage without consenting your prescriber.
    • Give clear instructions for medications to grandparents or caregivers that may watch the child in your absence. Include time of dose given, amount of dose given, and the next time the dose can be administered.
  • Safe Disposal (Main Topic)
    • Unused medications should be disposed as soon as possible to prevent unintentional use, diversion, or accidental ingestion.
    • Medications should not be thrown in the trash, sink or toilet.
    • There are Medication Disposal events and Permanent Medication Drop Boxes in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender County.
      • Locations: Safe Kids NC site: http://www.ncdoi.com/OSFM/safekids/
      • Upcoming drop off events:
        1. NHRMC Medical Mall on Saturday, April 1st from 9am-12pm.
        2. Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport on Thursday, April 6th from 9am-1pm.
  • What to do if your child ingests a potentially harmful substance
    • Store the number to the Poison Control in your phone: 1-800-222-1222; also place the number on your refrigerator for babysitters or other caregivers to access quickly.
      • Trained Pharmacists, Nurses and Doctors with backgrounds in poisons and medications are the ones that answer the phone.
      • It’s a confidential call and available 24/7.
      • http://www.ncpoisoncenter.org/
    • If the child has collapsed, is not breathing, or has a seizure, call 911.
    • Do not give the child anything to ingest until you have discussed it with the poison control center.
      • Drinking water may make the situation worse and activate the substance.
    • Have the container or bottle on hand to answer questions when calling.



What a Healthy "Dating" Relationship Is, And What It Is Not

Originally brought to you by the NC Parent Resource Center

Click here to view in your web browser.

Know! What a Healthy “Dating” Relationship Is, And What It Is Not

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month; a time to focus attention on abuse in young people’s relationships and provide information to help prevent it.

In the previous tip, Know! The Not-So-Innocent Side of Teen Romance, we discussed the prevalence of physical, emotional and verbal dating abuse that takes place among youth, as well as the long-lasting problems that can develop because of it, including substance abuse, eating disorders and risky sexual behaviors.

In this tip, we highlight the importance of regular and ongoing, positive communication with your child on the topic of What a Healthy “Dating” Relationship Is, and What It Is Not; teaching them early on that healthy relationships are based on equality and respect while abusive ones are based on power and control.

A HEALTHY DATING RELATIONSHIP includes a partner whom:

  • Treats you with respect
  • Listens to your ideas and is willing to compromise at times
  • Shares some of your same interests such as movies, sports, reading, dancing or music
  • Is able to share their thoughts and feelings with you
  • Is comfortable around your friends and family
  • Is proud of your accomplishments and successes
  • Respects your privacy and your boundaries
  • Is caring and honest
  • Encourages you to do well in school and in your extracurricular activities

A healthy relationship is a two-way street, of course, so positive communication, kindness and mutual respect must come from both partners.

A HEALTHY DATING RELATIONSHIP does NOT include a partner whom:

  • Checks your cell phone, social media or email without permission
  • requires you to “check in” or needs to know where you are all the time
  • constantly puts you down
  • Is extremely jealous or insecure
  • Has an explosive temper
  • Tries to isolate you from family or friends
  • Makes false accusations about you
  • Has extreme mood swings
  • Is possessive of you
  • Tells you what to do
  • Threatens you or makes you feel scared
  • Physically hurts you in any way
  • Tries to pressure you or force you into any type of high risk behavior, including sexual contact and/or drug and alcohol use

It is especially important for both partners to always be clear and specific in communicating their sexual boundaries.  One may wrongly take an “I’m not sure,” comment to mean that with a little pressure or push, she/he might say, “Yes.”  Young ladies in particular, need to be firm in saying, “No,” and boys in particular,  need to know that if a girl says, “No,” and he/she continues anyway, it is rape.  NO MEANS NO!  This is a reminder that should be shared with your child often.

Young people should also be taught to trust their gut and listen to their inner voice. If they find themselves feeling uncomfortable in a situation with their partner or with the relationship itself, they need to have an exit plan. Talking regularly with your child, ideally, before a teen “dating” issue has a chance to arise, will help to build their trust and confidence in you, increasing the likelihood of them coming to you for support and guidance if or when needed.

You can refer your tweens/teens to loveisrespect.org to access information and get help in an environment that is designed specifically for them. This is also an excellent resource for parents, educators and other caring adults, with trainings, toolkits and curriculum to promote healthy relationships and prevent future patterns of abuse.

Loveisrespect offers free and confidential phone, live chat and texting services 24/7/365. Chat at www.loveisrespect.org; text ‘loveis’ to 22522; or call 1-866- 331-9474

Source: Loveisrespect.org.