"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



Red Ribbon Week- Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free



The 2017 National Red Ribbon Week theme: Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free™.

Winner Iris Yu with teacher Cheryl Holsapfel and mom Wei Yu
The theme was created by Iris Yu, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

The school will receive national recognition and $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc. In addition to the attention she is receiving from her school community, Iris is receiving a great deal of support from her family.

“Our whole family is very excited and proud of Iris, especially her little brother,” said Wei Yu, Iris’ mom. “This topic is important to me as it’s important to everyone. Aside from all the social problems caused by drug abuse, as a parent, it’s just heartbreaking to see kids being victimized by drugs [when] they could have a bright future.”

Iris, who entered along with hundreds of classmates thanks to the dedication of her media arts teacher Cheryl Holsapfel, didn’t think she was going to win but had a good time trying.

“I [had] fun trying to think of various slogans,” said Iris. “I think that drug prevention is important because [drug use] has been popularized by pop culture and the media. I came up with the theme by first considering what doing drugs would affect, and the obvious answer to me was your future. The rest of the words kind of just fell into place afterwards.”

Holsapfel participates each year in the contest as a way to talk with her students about drugs. All of her students enter the contest and have done so for the past few years. Holsapfel’s intended message clearly got through to Iris.

“Drugs not only affect your brain, but your future as well,” said Iris. “You don’t get a second future. It’s why you do a lot of the things you do…in hopes of having a good future.”

To Iris’ mom, her daughter’s message for her peers across America is clear.

“There are so many beautiful places you could go. There are unlimited possibilities for you to explore. So don’t let drugs ruin it.”

Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 Red Ribbon Planning Guide and other wonderful materials available at www.redribbon.org/downloads.

Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business

Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business
September is National Suicide Prevention Month
Every day and Everyone has a role to play in Suicide Prevention
Signs and Symptoms…

 Often there may be signs that someone is at risk for suicide.
 The risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
 It’s okay to ask. It’s okay to get help. Most who attempt suicide do not want to die.
If you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)* Press 1 for Veterans or military members, or chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
• Talking about being a burden to others.
• Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
• Giving away their possessions.
• Sleeping too little or too much.
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
• Displaying extreme mood swings.
• Talking about being very tired; extremely fatigued with life or life events.
No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)* Press 1 for Veterans or military members, you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

*The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is staffed with trained professionals and can help with a wide range of issues including substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, trauma from abuse, bullying, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.
For more information or Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/


North Carolina Suicide Prevention Resources

1. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) North Carolina Chapter
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) established a new chapter in North Carolina in May 2014. The Chapter raises awareness about suicide and its prevention through community events, Out of the Darkness walks, AFSP programs, and gatekeeper trainings. The Chapter plans to expand training opportunities around the state, make more resources available to people whose lives have been affected by suicide, bring AFSP’s Interactive Screening Program (ISP) to North Carolina campuses and communities, and collaborate with other organizations in continuing to build a grassroots advocacy network that promotes legislation and policies to prevent suicide and improve mental health.
For support groups in your area for those touched by suicide loss https://afsp.org/find-support/

2. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMH/DD/SAS)
The Division provides strategic and operational leadership and oversight to the public mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse service system. The Community Policy Management Section is primarily responsible for leadership, guidance and management of relationships with local management entities (LME/MCOs). LME/MCOs are where people go to find information on receiving mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse services. They are available 24 hours a day. LME/MCO by county: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/mhddsas/lmeonblue.htm. The Division also operates the Crisis Solutions Coalition, which works statewide to decrease the use of emergency departments and increase access to other services to help individuals resolve the crisis and get back to their homes, families, friends, and work. Learn more at http://crisissolutionsnc.org/.

3. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in North Carolina 1-800-273-8255


Provides access to 24/7/365 crisis response services, such as screening, triage and referral; walk-in crisis; mobile crisis management teams; or facility based crisis services through the DMHDDSAS Local Management Entities/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs).

4. North Carolina Division of Public Health, Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB)
http://www.injuryfreenc.ncdhhs.gov/ For fact sheets and reports this link to read burden of suicide in North Carolina.
“It’s OK 2 Ask” website and provides suicide prevention trainings to communities. The Injury and Violence Branch also provides data and surveillance for suicide.

5. Students Against Destructive Decisions – North Carolina State Chapter
N.C. SADD has over 300 SADD chapters across the state. The chapters carry out projects during the school year such as seat belt checks of students driving to school, compliance checks of sales to minors, prevention activities at sports events, alcohol-free prom and graduation projects, school assemblies and community projects focusing on highway safety and underage drinking and drug prevention

6. North Carolina SAYSO (Strong Able Youth Speaking Out)
Strong Able Youth Speaking Out is a statewide association of youth aged 14 to 24 who are or have been in the out-of-home care system that is based in North Carolina.

7. North Carolina Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience)

Youth M.O.V.E

Youth M.O.V.E is a nationally recognized, youth-led (ages 16-26) and driven organization devoted to improving services and systems that support positive growth and development. The organization unites the voices of individuals who have had experiences in various systems including mental health, juvenile justice, education, and child welfare.

8. Crisis Text Line – Text GO to 741-741 https://www.crisistextline.org/

For more information: Susan E. Robinson, M.Ed. NC DHHS/DMHDDSAS [email protected] 919-715-2262

National Suicide Prevention Week- September 10-16, 2017

Suicide Prevention Week for 2017 is set for September 10th through 16th. North Carolina ranks 35th in the nation in its rate of suicide deaths. New Hanover County, NC ranks 37th in the state in its rate of suicide deaths. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with one suicide occurring on average every 11.9 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds. The elderly make-up 14.5% of the population, but comprise 16.6% of all suicides. Approximately 1,104,825 Americans attempt suicide each year. It is estimated that 5.1 million living Americans have attempted to kill themselves. Every year in the United States, more than 22,018 men and women kill themselves with a gun; two-thirds more than the number who use a gun to kill another person. An estimated 6.5 million Americans are survivors of suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

American Association of Suidcidology- www.suicidology.org
North Carolina Substance Use Prevention Planning Outcomes, Risks, and Trends

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.