Northern Kentucky Prevention Coalitions

Kenton County Alliance – Vicki Dansberry (
Carroll Co. Champions- Misty Wheeler (
Boone County Alliance- Michelle Eversole (
Owen Wellness Engagement Network- Katie Gilson (
Campbell County Drug Free Alliance- Sherri Chan (
Champions for a Drug Free Pendleton County- (
Champions for a Drug Free Gallatin County- Larry Vaught (
Champions for a Drug Free Grant County- Camille Croweak (
ASAP/Drug Free Communities- Chris Saunders (
Covington Partners – Stacy Strotman (

Baby is Born Every Hour in the United States With Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

By Join Together Staff | May 1, 2012 | 1 Comment | Filed in Addiction, Drugs, Healthcare, Parenting, Research, Treatment & Youth

Every hour, a baby is born in the United States with symptoms of opioid withdrawal, according to a study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found the number of pregnant women who are addicted to opioids, and the number of infants born with opioid withdrawal symptoms, has jumped in the past decade.
An estimated 13,500 babies are born with withdrawal symptoms each year in the United States, The New York Times reports. Many babies who experience these symptoms must be hospitalized for weeks, the article notes. Babies going through opioid withdrawal can have seizures, dehydration, breathing problems, tremors, difficulty feeding and irritability.
“The incidence has gone crazy and I think it has the potential to become a national or international issue,” Marie J. Hayes of the University of Maine, who co-authored an editorial accompanying the study, told the newspaper. “People who previously might not have used heroin or the needle are more likely to use prescription opiates.”
It is not known whether infants exposed to opioids in the womb will suffer long-term consequences, according to the article.
The researchers found the number of pregnant women using opioids increased fivefold from 2000 to 2009, while the number of infants with withdrawal symptoms almost tripled. Babies in the study were hospitalized for an average of 16 days, generally in the neonatal intensive care unit. The amount of time these babies spend in the hospital has not decreased since 2000, study co-author Dr. Stephen Patrick pointed out. He said this suggests that doctors have not yet learned how to improve treatment for these infants.
Taken from Newsroom, the e-newsletter for Join Together, By Join Together Staff | May 1, 2012

Middle School Teachers – They May Be More Influential Than You Think

By the time most kids are in Junior High, they’re navigating a world that’s hard for most of us to even imagine. There’s bath salts and spice, fruit flavored cigars, cotton candy flavored vodka and much more, all sold at neighborhood gas station convenience stores. Some of these items are on the counter as you pay, so you can’t miss them. Are these purposely marketed to children or does it just seem that way? I don’t know. That’s a subject for another article, but here is the reality: Surveys of Kenton County youth show that youth who use tobacco begin smoking at the average age of 12 years and on average, youth alcohol or marijuana use begins by age 13. Twelve and thirteen years old – that’s Middle School!

A recent study of middle school students in Seattle reveals some interesting information. “Emotional support from middle school teachers may reduce the risk their students will engage in early use of alcohol and other illicit substances…”(1) “The students defined teacher support as feeling close to a teacher, or being able to talk about their problems with a teacher.”(2) All teachers are influential and very important in a child’s life, but this is the first study to show that “teacher support is associated with lower levels of early alcohol use.” (3)

What does this mean? Besides that teachers are even more important than we thought, it means that all of us influential adults have a responsibility to “tune into” kids and offer them support. We might be parents, neighbors, fellow church members, or school personnel. I bet we all know a teen and we probably know a teen who would like to feel accepted and valued by adults.

How you can connect to and support teens(4)
• Find out what interests them
• Encourage teens to pursue their interests
• Volunteer to mentor a teen
• Dwell on what they do right – not what they do wrong
• Let them know you are proud of them
• Listen to them

Written by Diane Rumer and Kathy Nafus for Kenton County Alliance, 859-760-2051.
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2) Ibid.
3) Ibid.
4) These are some of the 40 Developmental Assets. More information about them can be found at

Bulletin Blast – August 2012

A recent study of middle school students in Seattle reveals some interesting information. “Emotional support from middle school teachers may reduce the risk their students will engage in early use of alcohol and other illicit substances…” What does this mean? Besides that teachers are even more important than we thought, it means that all of us influential adults have a responsibility to “tune into” kids and offer them support. Find out more at

Bulletin Blast – July 2012

Parents and faith communities are powerful when it comes to preventing youth drug use. Talk to teens and give them information. Here is an example: Some drugs produce a flood of dopamine in the brain, which causes the “high” or euphoria that people experience. Continued drug use causes the dopamine system to adapt, eventually becoming less responsive to normal rewards, such as listening to your favorite music or holding hands with a new boyfriend or girlfriend. 1) Learn More:
1)National Institute on Drug Abuse (n.d.), National drug IQ challenge. p.4.

Back to School Already?!, July 2012

Can’t be time to think about that, can it? But it must be – there are school supplies everywhere, taking up the aisle space that a few weeks ago had summer grilling supplies. Newspaper ads show cute dorm room accessories. Remember when all we had to worry about was what color to decorate our dorm room? And what about the smell of a new box of crayons or choosing a new loose leaf binder? Do kids today even use those? Maybe, I’m dating myself, but I enjoyed preparing for a new school year full of new experiences and possibilities. Today, however, the new experiences and possibilities can be a bit scary.

The Kentucky Poison Control Center recommends “talking to your children about the substances that can harm them” to “help them get the best experience out of their prime learning years.” 1) The Center offers these tips for parents:
• Be wary of energy drinks. The same energy drinks that students take to cram during late-night study sessions or student athletes take to get through long days of sports practice pose more of a threat to their health than a benefit to their performance. Energy drinks contain large doses of caffeine. Some contain additional stimulants promoted to increase energy, enhance mood and delay sleep. The amount of caffeine in many energy drinks is much greater than the amount found in soda and is often much greater than the amount found in a cup of coffee, putting consumers at a far greater risk of caffeine overdose and related health problems. If improperly consumed, these products can cause symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, nervousness, tremor, insomnia, restlessness, delirium, sweating, headache, seizures, and increased heart rhythm. Many energy drinks are consumed by teens participating in sports activities because they are believed to boost performance and to replenish fluids. In fact, they are actually diuretics that increase dehydration. Do your child a favor and keep him or her away from energy drinks.
• It’s easy to laugh off alcohol use among teens and college kids. Don’t. What might seem like lighthearted teenage experimentation can contribute to academic failure, violence, injuries, sexual assaults and death. Alcohol poisoning is often fatal or could result in permanent brain damage. Signs include mental confusion, low body temperature, coma, irregular or decreased breathing, and pale or bluish skin. Excessive alcohol use can lead to vomiting and unconsciousness. Talk to your teen and college student about drinking and its consequences.
• For younger kids, the dangers of inhalants are real – and deadly. These substances, which can include solvents and gases that are abused to get a high, are increasingly common among children ages 10 to 12, and are a special concern because kids can die the first, tenth or hundredth time they sniff or huff. Tweens can experience toxic effects like a dazed appearance, slurred speech, nose bleeds and loss of muscle control. Look for unusually large collections of paint, spray cans, or room deodorizers and notice red eyes or chemical smells on the breath or clothing. Be wary of the dangers of “huffing,” and don’t tolerate experimentation.
• Prescribed and used correctly, prescription drugs have legitimate uses and positive results. But prescription pain medicine, also known as opioids, are commonly misused and abused among all age groups. Opioids can slow the body’s systems down to the point where a person stops breathing. Other potential dangers include ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, which are abused as “brain boosters” or “academic enhancers.” Misusing or abusing them could lead to an increased heart rate, restlessness, seizures and difficulty breathing.
• Teens are increasingly casual about their use of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, recreationally abusing them without regard for the potential health impacts of mixing these drugs. Many times alcohol is used as a chaser, complicating the effects of the drugs. While most adults think that this is insane, try to put on “kid lenses” and see how the daring and unknown would appeal to some risk-takers. Then have a frank discussion with your child about the dangers of experimenting with drugs.
If you believe you’ve been exposed to a poison or have questions about whether a substance is poisonous, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
The Kentucky Poison Control Center Offers Tips on a Safe Back-to-School Season. Page 1-2. Retrieved from
Last accessed on 7/26/12.

Talking to your Teen about Prescription Drug Abuse

This group of scenarios is designed to give you, the parent, factual and useful information to help you talk to your children about prescription drugs. Keep the discussion open and the mood relaxed, so that your child does not feel defensive or afraid to share his/her feelings.
YOUTH: I have heard so much hype over these pain meds. I just want to try it once. It’s not a big deal.
PARENT: With all the recent attention on pain meds, I can understand your curiosity. But it is important to know that even experimenting with these medications can bring about dangerous consequences. These pain meds (also known as opiates) can cause a number of short-term side effects like nausea, constipation, fatigue and confusion. Long-term use can lead to physical dependence and addiction on the drug. Once addicted, both the body and mind crave more of it…leading a person down a dark path. And if opiates are taken with alcohol, antihistamines (found in cold medicines) or other substances that slow the central nervous system, it can be a fatal situation, even with first use. So using medicines for a high is a big deal.
YOUTH: I know it’s not “ok” to use drugs, but at least it’s a medicine prescribed by a doctor, which is better than an illegal drug off the street.
PARENT: You‘re right on your first point, it’s absolutely not ok to use drugs (make clear your stance). And I understand why you would think a medicine prescribed by doctors is safer than illegal street drugs. But the fact is legal does not equal safe (reference the short and long term side effects of Rx pain meds in the above scenario). Medicines have a system which controls who can get them and when. That system is there for a reason: to protect us.
YOUTH: This medicine helped my friend’s mom with her back pain, so there is nothing wrong with borrowing a few pills to help with my ankle injury.
PARENT: While it may appear that your injury or the pain you are suffering is similar, there are many other things a doctor takes into consideration when prescribing a medication to an individual including: medical history, allergies and other side effects, a person’s weight for appropriate dosage, interactions with other medicines being taken, etc. By borrowing or sharing a prescribed medication you are risking making the health condition gravely worse for yourself or someone else. Bottom line – this is when sharing is not a good thing.
YOUTH: If a small dose of my prescription helped me feel good, a little more will make me feel even better.
PARENT: Familiarize your child with the Point of Diminishing Returns. To put it in youth terms, try this analogy. “You are hungry, you eat one cheeseburger, you then feel satisfied. If you eat two cheeseburgers or even three cheeseburgers, will that make you feel even more satisfied? No – You are more likely to feel overstuffed and sick (because you’ve hit the point of diminishing returns). The same holds true for prescription medication. Your doctor prescribes just the right amount of a given medicine to help you achieve the greatest results. Go beyond that amount and the side effects can be dangerous and at times, even deadly. More is not always better.
There are many different scenarios that could be discussed. We encourage you to come up with more. The important thing is that you are talking. Because talking with children about the risks of prescription drug abuse can positively impact their attitudes and empower them to make healthy, substance-free lifestyle choices.
For resources and information on combating prescription drug abuse visit The Generation Rx Initiative.
Sources:,, Prevention Research Institute: PRIME for Life for Parents
From: last accessed on 11/22/11

Bulletin Blast for June

Would you let your child have heroin? Of course not, but did you know that many painkillers are derived from the same source as heroin. Both are opioids. Both are addictive. Secure your medications and talk to your teens. For more information contact Kenton County Alliance, 859-760-2051,

Bulletin Blast for May

Youth who begin drinking before age 15 are 4x more likely to develop alcohol dependence compared to those who wait until age 21.

I know a lot of these are about alcohol! We are approaching National Prevention Week and May 21st is the day to focus on underage drinking. This is the season for graduation parties. Maybe if we talk about teen alcohol use enough we’ll eventually get to a point where we won’t need to talk about it. Let’s keep that thought in mind.

The FACTS about Underage Drinking in Kentucky

Underage Drinking in Kentucky
The Facts
Tragic health, social, and economic problems result from the use of alcohol by youth. Underage drinking is a causal factor in a host of serious problems, including homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence.
Problems and Costs Associated with Underage Drinking in Kentucky
Underage drinking cost the citizens of Kentucky $0.7 billion in 2010. These costs include medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth.1 This translates to a cost of $1,698 per year for each youth in the State or $2.55 per drink consumed underage. Excluding pain and suffering from these costs, the direct costs of underage drinking incurred through medical care and loss of work cost Kentucky $261 million each year or $0.97 per drink. In contrast, a drink in Kentucky retails for $1.02.
Total: $0.7 billion
Costs of Underage Drinking by Problem, Kentucky, 2010 $
Youth violence (homicide, suicide, aggravated assault) and traffic crashes attributable to alcohol use by underage youth in Kentucky represent the largest costs for the State. However, a host of other problems contribute substantially to the overall cost. Among teen mothers, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) alone costs Kentucky $20 million.
Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and are two and a half times more likely to become abusers of alcohol than those who begin drinking at age 21.2 In 2009, 458 youth 12- 20 years old were admitted for alcohol treatment in Kentucky, accounting for 6% of all treatment admissions for alcohol abuse in the state.3
Total Costs
(in millions)
Youth Violence
Youth Traffic Crashes
High-Risk Sex, Ages 14-20
Youth Property Crime
Youth Injury
Poisonings and Psychoses
FAS Among Mothers Age 15-20
Youth Alcohol Treatment
Costs of Underage Drinking
Kentucky, 2010 $
Pain &
Suffering Costs
Medical Costs
Work Lost
Alcohol Consumption by Youth in Kentucky
Underage drinking is widespread in Kentucky. Approximately 165,000 underage customers in Kentucky drink each year. In 2009, Kentucky students in grades 9-12 reported: 4
• 69.3% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life.
• 21.7% had their first drink of alcohol, other than a few sips, before age 13.
• 37.8% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more occasion in the past 30 days.
• 23.6% had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row (binge drinking) in the past 30 days.
• 5.2% had at least one drink of alcohol on school property in the past 30 days.
In 2009, underage customers consumed 16.5% of all alcohol sold in Kentucky, totaling $276 million in sales (in 2010 dollars). These sales provided profits of $135 million to the alcohol industry.1 Ranking states based on the percentage of alcohol consumed underage, with 1 the highest, Kentucky ranked number 8. This percentage is affected by both adult and youth drinking levels.
Annual sales of alcohol consumed by youth in Kentucky averaged $1,670 per underage customer. Underage customers were heavier consumers than adults. They drank an average of 4.5 drinks per day; in contrast, legal customers consumed only 1.3.
Harm Associated with Underage Drinking in Kentucky
Underage drinking in Kentucky leads to substantial harm due to traffic crashes, violent crime, property crime, unintentional injury, and risky sex.
• During 2009, an estimated 18 traffic fatalities and 575 nonfatal traffic injuries were attributable to driving after underage drinking.
• In 2009, an estimated 22 homicides; 9,100 nonfatal violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault; and 21,500 property crimes including burglary, larceny, and car theft were attributable to underage drinking.
• In 2007, an estimated 7 alcohol involved fatal burns, drownings, and suicides were attributable to underage drinking.
• In 2009, an estimated 498 teen pregnancies and 12,457 teens having risky sex were attributable to underage drinking.
For comparison with other states, in US rather than state prices, the harm from underage drinking per youth in Kentucky averages $1,173. Such comparisons require caution. In part, they may reflect differences in crime and crash rates, problem-reporting to police, and co-occurring drug use.
Produced by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) with funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), September 2011.
1 Levy, D.T., Miller, T.R., & Cox, K.C. (2003). Underage drinking: societal costs and seller profits. Working Paper. Calverton, MD: PIRE.
2 Grant, B.F., & Dawson, D.A. (1997). Age at onset of alcohol use and its association with DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence: Results from the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Journal of Substance Abuse 9: 103-110.
3 Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Treatment Episode Data Set. (2011). Substance Abuse Treatment by Primary Substance of Abuse, According to Sex, Age, Race, and Ethnicity, 2009. Available [On-line]: .
4 Center for Disease Control (CDC). (2011). Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS). Available [On-line]: .