Thursday, September 19, 2019

Inneract Alliance Stands with Drug Free America Foundation to Encourage the Ban of THC Products along with Flavored E-Cigarettes

Inneract Alliance Stands with Drug Free America Foundation
to Encourage the Ban of THC Products along with Flavored E-Cigarettes

InnerAct Alliance together with its coalition partners, StandUP Polk and UthMpact, stand with Drug Free America Foundation, a drug prevention and policy organization based in St. Petersburg, FL that is committed to developing strategies that prevent drug use and promote sustained recovery, in agreement with President Donald Trump and his administration’s recent proposal to ban thousands of flavors used in e-cigarettes. This effort comes in response to the recent deaths and serious injuries of young people as a result of vaping.


In our home state, statistics from the recent Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) show that the percentage of Florida youth who currently use e-cigarettes has risen from 9.6 in 2016 to 13.7 in 2018. While the state’s rate of youth e-cig use surpasses that of our county, Polk’s rate still increased from 10.2% (2016) to 12.5% (2018), which translates to approximately 1 in 8 Polk middle and high school students who used e-cigs just last year.

According to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, the Food and Drug Administration will develop guidelines to remove from the market all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco. Amy Ronshausen, executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, is also urging the administration to take this ban one step further to prohibit the sale of all THC vaping products stating, “The dangers of marijuana and other THC products to our young people are so significant that the Surgeon General recently issued a health advisory concerning the physical and mental health risks associated with marijuana. The logical next step is to remove THC products, along with flavored e-cigarettes, from the marketplace.”

Locally, citizens can show support for prevention of substance abuse by participating in the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign events presented by InnerAct Alliance. The Red Ribbon Run, which takes place on Saturday, November 9, 2019, is a family-friendly event that offers three races to accommodate all ages: a new 15K added this year (9.3 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles), plus a Kids' Fun Run (1K - just over a half mile). Kids' Run registration is FREE to students in grades K-8 who are pre-registered before November 1 ($5 fee after 11/1/19) and includes a commemorative Run t-shirt and free refreshments. Online registration is available on the event website at www.RedRibbonRun.com

"The Red Ribbon Run encourages healthy family activities, which reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, bullying, violence, and other risky behaviors," said InnerAct Alliance's Executive Director, Angie Ellison. "Please join us on November 9 by sponsoring, running, or volunteering at www.RedRibbonRun.com or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RedRibbonRunSeries"

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

FAMILY DAY: A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children on Monday, September 23




InnerAct Alliance and coalition partners StandUP Polk and UthMpact encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to make plans now to participate in Family Day – A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children next Monday, September 23, 2019. Take a family selfie and use the hashtag #myfamilyselfie to share on the Own The Upside Polk Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/owntheupsidepolk/ showing how you are celebrating together!

Family Day began in 2001 as a national effort to promote family dinners as an effective way to help kids grow up safe, healthy, and drug free. Research from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University consistently finds that the more frequently children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they will be to smoke, drink, or use illegal substances. To learn more about this initiative, sign the family day pledge, and receive helpful tips to talk with your children, visit www.flfamilyday.com

Your family can also show support for prevention of substance abuse by participating in the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign events presented by InnerAct Alliance. The Red Ribbon Run, which takes place on Saturday, November 9, 2019 at Lake Mirror in Lakeland, is a family-friendly event that offers three races to accommodate all ages: a new 15K added this year (9.3 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles), plus a Kids’ Fun Run (1K – just over a half mile). Kids’ Run registration is FREE to students in grades K-8 who are pre-registered before November 1 ($5 fee after 11/1/19) and includes a commemorative Run t-shirt and free refreshments. Online registration for the races is available on the event website at: www.RedRibbonRun.com
“The Annual Red Ribbon Run encourages healthy family activities which reduce the likelihood of substance abuse, bullying, violence, and other risky behaviors,” said InnerAct Alliance’s Executive Director, Angie Ellison. “Please join us on November 9 by sponsoring, running, or volunteering at www.RedRibbonRun.com or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RedRibbonRunSeries.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Register Now for the Red Ribbon 15K, 5K and Kids Fun Run
Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our community’s Red Ribbon tradition in support of substance abuse and bullying prevention continues on Saturday, November 9, 2019 with InnerAct Alliance’s Red Ribbon Run events presented by Title Sponsor Publix Super Markets, Inc. and Kids Run Sponsor MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

The Red Ribbon Run is a family-friendly event with three races to accommodate all ages: the new 15K added this year (9.3 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles), plus a Kids’ Fun Run (1K-just over a half-mile). Kids’ Run registration is FREE to students in grades K-8 who are pre-registered before November 1st ($5 fee after 11/1/19) and includes a commemorative Run t-shirt and free refreshments. 

Online Registration takes place on the event website at: www.RedRibbonRun.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Register Now for Polk County’s Red Ribbon 15K, 5K & Kids Fun Run Saturday, November 9, 2019


Register Now for Polk County’s Red Ribbon 15K, 5K & Kids Fun Run
Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our community’s Red Ribbon tradition in support of substance abuse and bullying prevention continues on Saturday, November 9, 2019 with InnerAct Alliance’s Red Ribbon Run events presented by Title Sponsor Publix Super Markets, Inc. and Kids Run Sponsor MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.

The Red Ribbon Run is a family-friendly event with three races to accommodate all ages: the new 15K added this year (9.3 miles), a 5K (3.1 miles), plus a Kids’ Fun Run (1K-just over a half-mile). Kids’ Run registration is FREE to students in grades K-8 who are pre-registered before November 1st ($5 fee after 11/1/19) and includes a commemorative Run t-shirt and free refreshments. Online Registration takes place on the event website at: www.RedRibbonRun.com

A Red Ribbon Team Challenge is also offered for teams of 10 or more runners from businesses, organizations, and other groups to come together and compete. It’s a great wellness or team building project and a selected captain can register teammates online at RedRibbonRun.com or call (863) 802-0777. A traveling trophy and bragging rights for a year will be awarded to the top 3 5K teams and top 15K team!

The course for the 5K and 15K is run around the picturesque Lake Mirror, downtown, and Lake to Lake areas and races are timed with results posted at the end. The start and finish line for the Kids’ Fun Run for K-8 students is located near the Main Stage on Lake Mirror.

“The Annual Red Ribbon Run encourages healthy family living, which reduces the likelihood of substance abuse, bullying, violence, and other risky behaviors,” said InnerAct Alliance’s Executive Director, Angie Ellison. “Please join us on November 9th by sponsoring, running, or volunteering at www.RedRibbonRun.com or on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/RedRibbonRunSeries.”


Monday, June 24, 2019

Socializing Safely This Summer!


As the song goes, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy…” but the summer months also bring new challenges for parents to keep kids safe with more free time on their hands and invitations to attend beach outings, barbecues, and pool parties. All these social events create great memories but they also present opportunities for teens to face pressure to engage in unhealthy behaviors with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. This makes the start of summer a critical time for parents to talk with their kids, set clear expectations about behavior, and keep in close contact, to help them make smart decisions, stay safe, and avoid risky situations.
According to statistics reported by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in their National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), teens and college students most often use substances for the first time during the months of June and July. Parents need to be vigilant to recognize signs that their child might be experimenting with substances. Clues may be hidden away deliberately or visible in plain sight. Parents need to know what to look for because, in today’s world, there are many items that can be purchased online to hide substance use including JUUL e-cigarettes that look like USB flash drives, flasks disguised as sunscreen or lotion containers, smart phone cases, or even CBD gummy candies.

The Good News is that there are resources available to help parents become more aware and set firm guidelines for their children regarding acceptable choices and behaviors to help navigate them through summer months when socializing peaks! Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership is a nonprofit organization that offers awesome parenting tips for talking to kids about alcohol and drugs as well as healthy living messages and information about the latest drug trends on its website at www.informedfamilies.org. Their new campaign “Safe Homes Smart Parents” is part of a statewide initiative to ensure that drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes will not be permitted at parties that parents host at their home as well discouraged at parties held by others in the community. You can be held liable both civilly and criminally if any person under the age of 21 has been found drinking alcohol in your home or on your property. This is especially important if parents are planning to go out of town without their kids because homes where parents are absent can often become party sites.

InnerAct Alliance has an informative new resource to educate parents of teens in our community. Offered in partnership with the Polk Sheriff’s Charities, Inc., the “Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” trailer is a mobile, interactive exhibit housing a replica of a teens’ bedroom. Parents can walk through to learn how to recognize clues signaling potential involvement in drugs and risky behaviors visible in plain sight or easily concealed in everyday items and seemingly ordinary belongings in the room. Civic groups and organizations may invite a representative to visit with the “Own the Upside…Avoid the Downside” trailer and share an informative presentation. Call (863) 802-0777 or visit https://www.owntheupsidepolk.com/ to arrange a presentation.

Your kids will listen to you! Open family communication helps teens understand the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse and reassures them that they can still have fun while staying out of harm’s way. Stay safe and enjoy summertime!



Annual InnerAct Alliance Board of Directors Planning Retreat




The Annual InnerAct Alliance Board of Directors Planning Retreat was held on Monday, June 10th to accomplish long-range planning for the agency’s programs and services. Special thanks to LVIM in Lakeland for hosting our event!

Welcome 2019-2020 Executive Committee: Jeanette Crowley, President; Hazel Sellers, Past President; Lesley Corban, Vice President; Willie Mincey, 2nd Vice President; Ryan Rogers, Treasurer; Ginny Wolfe, Secretary; Ken Hall and Cindy Sharp, Members At Large and Board of Directors: Candace Barnes, Sonia Browning, Carrie Hall, Brian Heipp, Margaret Keeler, Karen King, Rev. Eddie Lake, Karen Moore, Dub Palmore, Catherine Simon, Holly Vida and Lori Winstead.