"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



To Practice Kindness

Know! To Practice Kindness

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” —The 14th Dalai Lama

February 14-20, 2016 is Worldwide Random Acts of Kindness Week – recognizing the incredible impact of human kindness on one another.

When kindness is a priority in the lives of young people, they are likely to have an increased overall sense of well-being, purpose and happiness.

We all want our children to be happy, right? So as parents and teachers, we find ourselves going out of our way, doing many small acts of kindness every day, solely for their benefit. But what we quickly learn is that these acts of kindness actually benefit us as well, even if unintended. Why? Because we care deeply about our children and students, and it feels good to do good for them.

Click here to keep reading.

Brunswick County Coalition buys billboards to raise prescription abuse awareness

By Sam Hickman with Brunswick Beacon — The Brunswick Coalition, which has been established to combat prescription drug abuse, has purchased billboards to create awareness about the potentially deadly consequences of leaving prescription medications unattended.

<div class="source">Photo contributed</div><div class="image-desc">The Brunswick Coalition, a group of community leaders working to combat prescription drug abuse and misuse in the county, recently purchased two billboards that will be located on U.S. 17. The billboards’ message encourages parents, grandparents and older family members to lock their prescription narcotics securely inside the house. The billboards pictured here will be located at 7270 U.S. 17 South just south of N.C. 87 in Leland and at 2618 Ocean Highway, 0.1 miles south of Royal Oak Road in Shallotte. </div><div class="buy-pic"></div>

The Brunswick Coalition, a group of community leaders working to combat prescription drug abuse and misuse in the county, recently purchased two billboards that will be located on U.S. 17. The billboards’ message encourages parents, grandparents and older family members to lock their prescription narcotics securely inside the house. The billboards pictured here will be located at 7270 U.S. 17 South just south of N.C. 87 in Leland and at 2618 Ocean Highway, 0.1 miles south of Royal Oak Road in Shallotte.

The coalition used grant funding to purchase spaces for two billboards, one at 2618 Ocean Highway 0.1 miles south of Royal Oak Road in Shallotte and another at 7270 U.S. 17 just south of N.C. 87 in Leland.

One poster features the eyes of a young woman with an adjacent message that reads, “She gets her hair from her mom. Her eyes from her dad. And her drugs from her grandma’s purse.”

The billboards are part of a National Family Partnership and Lock Your Meds campaign designed to reduce prescription drug abuse “by making adults aware that they are the ‘unwitting suppliers’ of prescription medications being used in unintended ways, especially by young people,” according to its website. The campaign includes an array of high-quality advertisements, posters, educational materials, publicity opportunities, interactive games and slide show presentations. Read the whole article here.

Suicide Safe App Now Available

Dear Colleague,

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2014, 2.4 million adults aged 18 or older with a substance use disorder had serious thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months, including 779,000 who made suicide plans and 429,000 who made a nonfatal suicide attempt. Adults with a substance use disorder were more likely to report suicidal thoughts or behavior than adults who did not have a substance use disorder. Health care settings provide critical opportunities for individuals at risk of suicide to access effective treatment.

As the federal leader in behavioral health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is committed to continuing to work with its partners to provide states, territories, tribal entities, communities, and the public with the assistance and resources they need. We would like to share with you SAMHSA’s newest tool for suicide prevention, the Suicide Safe mobile app.

Suicide Safe is a free app that helps health care providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and assess suicide risk among their patients. The award-winning Suicide Safe is based on the nationally recognized Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) card and helps providers:

  • Confidently assist patients who present with suicidal ideation.
  • Communicate effectively with at-risk patients and their families.
  • Determine appropriate next steps.
  • Make referrals to treatment and community resources.

The app, which features SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, is available for download on Apple® and Android™ smartphone and tablets.

To download Suicide Safe, visit http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/suicidesafe. Please also help us spread the word about Suicide Safe with your colleagues and peers. Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide.

For further information or if you have any questions, please contact Mitra Ahadpour, MD at mitra.ahadpour@samhsa.hhs.gov at any time.


Tom Hill
Acting Director
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

Know! How To Reduce Holiday Stress


The holidays are meant to be a joy-filled season of gathering with friends and relatives, enjoying festive lights and music, exchanging goodies and giving generously. However, when time and money are stretched, relationships are strained and expectations are not met, what is meant to be a time of celebration may become a time of overwhelming stress, leading many to turn to unhealthy coping behaviors, including alcohol and other drug use.

While it is unrealistic to think we can eliminate holiday stress completely, it is vital to our health and well-being to do what we can to keep it at a minimum.

Click here for the whole post.

National Impaired Driving (3D) Prevention Month, 2015

impaired-driving-prevention-monthPresidential Proclamation — National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, 2015

No person should suffer the tragedy of losingsomeone as a result of drunk, drugged, or distracted driving, but for far too long the danger of impaired driving has robbed people of the comfort of knowing that when they or a loved one leaves home they will return safely.  Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans.  During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, we recommit to preventing these incidents by acting responsibly and by promoting responsible behavior in those around us.  Together, we can enhance public safety and work to ensure a happy, healthy life for all our people.

Click here for the whole article.

Great American Smokeout

Even with smoking rates declining, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States.  Every third Thursday of November The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event encourages smokers to go the distance, and give up smoking. The American Cancer Society has various tools to help individuals through the planning and quitting process.

Take the Stop Smoking Quiz. The Stop Smoking Quiz provides individuals with a profile of their nicotine dependence and some ideas about how to tame cravings and become a non-smoker.

Looking for a guide to quit smoking? A guide will provide you with information on what you’re up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. Having information will give you the best chance of quitting and staying a non-smoker.

Need a desktop helper? The Countdown Clock give daily tips and the Craving Stopper offers distractions when cravings appear

Looking for the true cost of smoking. Download the PDF here.

For more information on the Great American Smokeout check out the American Cancer Society’s website. 



Serving Veterans

Veteran’s Day is a time for us to reflect and thank the veterans in our lives. However, let us also remember how we can play a part in ensuring veterans, service members and their families receive access to the services they need.

  • According to SAMHSA “There are an estimated 23.4 million veterans in the United States, and about 2.2 million military service members and 3.1 million immediate family members.
  • Approximately 18.5% of returning service members have PTSD or depression, and 19.5% report experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during deployment.
  • Between 2004 and 2006, 7.1% of U.S. veterans met the criteria for a substance use disorder.
  • Veterans make up 20% of national suicides.
  • About 10% of homeless people are veterans and about 70% of homeless veterans also experience a substance use disorder.
  • Mental and substance use disorders caused more hospitalizations among U.S. troops in 2009 than any other cause.

How can you help? Help make sure veterans, service members and their families receive the resources they need. The SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions released an updated guide that features an array of resources to support you in serving veterans, service members and their families. The guide is broken up into two sections:

  • Key sources of information, trainings, and clinical tools to support primary and behavioral health care providers in the delivery of culturally competent, quality care to veterans.
  • Resources you can share directly with veterans and family members so they can learn how to access an array of services and benefits they have earned.


For more information on the work SAMHSA is doing to help Veterans and Military Families click here.