Thursday, December 16, 2010

DEA Ban on Synethetic Marijuana Sold as Herbal Incense


The popular herbal incense drug known as Spice, K2, Blaze and Red X Dawn that mimics the effects of marijuana and has become increasingly popular with teens in Florida won't be legal for much longer.

On November 24, 2010, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration enacted an emergency ban on five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make "fake pot" products. This action will make possessing and selling the chemicals or products that contain them illegal in the U.S. for at least a year, while further studies are done.

Until the ban, the drug-laced incense was easy to find at gas stations, convenience stores, smoke shops, and over the Internet. Many people have been led to believe that "fake pot" is a safe and harmless alternative to marijuana, but it is actually more potent and dangerous. Synthetic marijuana is a plant material that has been coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. The chemicals used have not been approved by the FDA for human consumptions and there is no oversight on the manufacturing process.

Most victims with complications from smoking this drug suffer racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, paranoia, nausea and vomiting. The explosion in reports about bad reactions to synthetic marijuana from poison control centers, hospitals, and law enforcement over the past year prompted federal officials to take action. For our children's health and safety, the ban of these harmful products couldn't have come soon enough!

Holiday Cheer, Parental Fear?


Happy Holidays from the board and staff at
InnerAct Alliance!

Along with the good wishes comes a reminder for parents to be aware of the potential mixed messages to impressionable teens and young children that may result during holiday revelry. Children tend to see things in black and white, particularly when it comes to justifying personal behaviors. They may think "if adults drink to celebrate the holidays, why shouldn't I?"

Let your child see that there are healthier ways to celebrate and entertain with alcohol-free beverages and plenty of food. YOU are important role models for your children, even those who are fast becoming teenagers. Be consistent in your attitudes, behaviors and messages about alcohol and teen during the holidays and into the New Year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

InnerAct Alliance Seeks Community Support for Its "Prevention Paints a Brighter Tomorrow" Fundraiser

InnerAct Alliance is proud to celebrate 25 years of prevention education. In an effort to ensure that the nonprofit agency will be able to continue its mission to help prevent the devastating physical, emotional, and financial problems of addiction, a "Prevention Paints a Brighter Tomorrow" Fundraising Project is underway to fund future education programs and awareness events.

Commemorative tiles are being sold for $10 for children, families, and community supporters to decorate. The decorated tiles may be kept as a keepsake, or be donated to become part of a special monument that will be dedicated to the agency and displayed in a public location in Lakeland to be announced soon. An artist's rendering of the unique InnerAct Alliance sculpture appears above left.

A special package of 25 tiles is also available for purchase to sponsor a Birthday Party for a child or a Classroom Party that would be a fun, creative learning experience for students!

InnerAct Alliance has served the Polk County community since 1985 with education prevention classes, drug-free puppet shows, and popular awareness events including the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign, Red Ribbon Run, and Fifth Grade Motivational Rallies that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, and others in need.

For additional information on InnerAct Alliance's fundraising project, prevention programs and services in the community, please contact us at (863) 802-0777.

Monday, November 1, 2010

InnerAct Alliance Celebrates 25 Years of Prevention Education!


InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is proud to celebrate 25 years of prevention education to our community. The nonprofit agency was founded in 1985 through the efforts of concerned citizens who worked tirelessly to offer resources, provide drug education, and create awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. During its humble beginnings, the group literally had to pass a hat for money to pay the phone bill.

Over the past 25 years, the agency has proudly become a top-tier prevention provider in the tri-county area, dedicated to reducing the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development.

InnerAct Alliance has served an estimated one million people with an important substance abuse prevention message. The agency is committed impacting the community in a positive way by offering educational evidence-based prevention classes, drug-free puppet shows, and awareness events, such as the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign each fall, and Red Ribbon Rallies for fifth grade students in the spring, that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups, and others in need.

InnerAct Alliance needs your support! In an effort to ensure that the agency will continue its mission to help prevent the devastating physical, emotional, and financial problems of addiction, a special 25th Anniversary reception is planned on Friday, November 12, 2010, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at the Peggy Brown Building, in Lakeland. Agency founder, Kaye Blanton McConnell, and chief supporter, Lakeland Police Chief Roger Boatner, will be honored as community heroes at the fundraising event. Donation is $50 per couple.

Commemorative tiles and holiday ornaments will be available for purchase. Cost for a tile is $10. A tile and holiday ornament package will be sold for $20. Tiles may be personally decorated and kept as a family keepsake, or donated to become part of a special monument that will be dedicated to the agency.

For more information on the 25th Annivesary Event and fundraising activities, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

InnerAct Alliance Receives $100,000 Evidence Based Practices In Schools Grant!


InnerAct Aliance and its coalition partners are celebrating successful funding news for the second consecutive month! The agency, in collaboration with the Polk Education Foundation, has been awarded an Evidence Based Practices in Schools Grant of $100,000 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The grant will fund a successful program, developed by Dennis Embry, Ph.D. of Johns Hopkins University, to reduce classroom disruptions and incidences that hinder learning and affect long term behavior. Up to 2,500 students in the Polk County school system will be served by the StandUP for Polk's Children program over a period of 5 years. It is expected to involve 500 students in the first year, 1000 in the second, 1500 in the third, 2000 in the fourth, and 2500 in the fifth and final year. The population will include five elementary schools with free and reduced lunch services covering at least fifty percent of the student body.

The program's long term measurements show benefits including: a rate of 86% of participants attained their high school diploma, compared to 19% of similar students who did not participate in the program; 99% of non-participants used illicit drugs, compared to 66% of program participants; and 88% of non-participants demonstrated anti-social behavior in later years, compared to 43% of the program participants. Measured short term goals include reduced classroom disruptions and disciplinary actions.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, has worked diligently for the past 25 years to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult) and UthMpact (youth) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk to help educate about the dangers of substance abuse and bring about positive changes for Polk County. For information on the Evidence Based Practices in Schools Grant, StandUP Polk and InnerAct Alliance prevention programs and services, please contact Angie Ellison, Executive Director, at (863) 802-0777.

The Polk Education Foundation, also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, serves as the direct support organization for the Polk County School Board, raising funds to provide services to students and teachers in the school district over and above what tax dollars can provide. Providing student scholarships and classroom grants are a large part of the Foundation's work. For additional information on the Polk Education Foundation, please contact Susan Copeland, Executive Director, at (863) 534-0434.

Healthy Red Ribbon Family Fun Planned On November 6!


Mark your calendar and plan to attend the 19th Annual Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk County, on Saturday morning, November 6, 2010, at George Jenkins High School, 6000 Lakeland Highlands Road, in Lakeland.

Event registration is FREE for K-5 students. Participants who pre-register through their school will receive a FREE Drug Free Is Hot Red Ribbon Run t-shirt. All age groups are welcome. Adults and children in grade 6 and older may compete in the Open Run for a $10 registration fee. Registration check-in begins at 7 AM, with the first race starting at 8 AM. Prizes will be awarded and the school with the largest percentage of students in attendance will win a special participation trophy.

Run festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival, from 9 AM to 1 PM, to celebrate the benefits of healthy living. Wristbands will be sold for $5 admission to enjoy interactive attractions including an obstacle course, bounce house, giant slide, and other fun activities, refreshments and entertainment. To promote healthy minds as well as healthy bodies, each K-5th grader who attends and participates in the Run and Carnival events will receive a FREE children's book! Local youth groups and organizations will also be on hand.

For more information on Red Ribbon activities, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Friday, October 1, 2010

2nd Countywide Purge Your Pills Drop Off Nets Over 400 lbs. of Pharmaceuticals

The second countywide prescription medication collection by StandUP Polk and its partners in the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk was a great success! The event, held in conjunction with the DEA's National Pill Take Back Initiative on Saturday, September 25, 2010, resulted in a estimated 400 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals. An earlier pill collection held by the coalition in March 2010 brought in 245.5 pounds of medication.

Over 300 people brought human and pet medications to drop-off sites throughout the county including Auburndale Police Department; Florida Department of Transportation (hosted by Bartow Police Department), Haines City Police Department, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, and Winter haven Police Department. All medications have been safely disposed of via incineration.


The coalition partners recognize the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and planned this event for two important reasons - to help Polk County residents properly dispose of old and unused prescription medications in an environmentally safe manner that will not be harmful to the aquifer or ground water, and to help reduce prescription drug abuse by decreasing the availability of expired or unwanted medications. The coalition is planning future pill drop events and discussing permanent pill drop off venues in the county.

Prescription medication has become one of the fastest-growing abused drugs of adults and especially teens, who report finding painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and other medications to abuse right in their own family medicine cabinet. Preventing youth from gaining access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs is one way to prevent and stop this epidemic. Parents should also talk with their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug Free Polk, is a group of concerned citizens, law enforcement, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County. All are welcome to join this important initative and take part in monthly meetings. Key support for the Rx Pill Drop event has been provided by: Auburndale Police Department, Bartow Police Department, Florida Department of Transportation, Haines City Police Department, Lake Alfred Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Waste Resource Management, and Winter Haven Police Department. For more information, please call Angie Ellison at InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.







Thursday, September 9, 2010

InnerAct Aliance Awarded Drug Free Communities Grant



InnerAct Alliance is the proud recipient of a Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) Grant awarded on August 31, 2010 by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant provides community coalitions needed support to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, has worked diligently for the past 25 years to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency also serves as the fiscal agent for the StandUP Polk (adult-based) and UthMpact (youth-based) Coalitions for a Drug-Free Polk to help educate about the dangers of substance abuse and bring about positive changes for Polk County.

"We are honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the DFC grant for our community!" said Angie Ellison, executive director. "StandUP Polk and InnerAct Alliance are blessed with the support of an active group of concerned citizens, community leaders, parents, youth, educators, health care, business professionals, law enforcement, and local media dedicated to youth prevention initiatives for reducing prescription drug abuse and underage drinking. The $125,000 funding over a period of five years will allow our coalition efforts to continue to grow and expand to strengthen our community."

InnerAct Alliance is one of only 169 new grantees selected from 521 applicants through a competitive, peer-reviewed process. To qualify for one of these matching grants, awardees must show a six-month history of working together on youth substance use reduction initiatives with representation from 12 sectors of the community, and have a long-term plan to reduce youth substance abuse.

For additional information on StandUP Polk, UthMpact and InnerAct Alliance's prevention programs and services in the community, please contact Angie Ellison, Executive Director, at (863) 802-0777.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Red Ribbon Safe Kids Walk & Roll - October 16, 2010!

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2010
Lake Region High School
1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake (Winter Haven)
8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon
Fun for all ages is planned at the 2nd Annual Red Ribbon Safe Kids Walk & Roll on Saturday, October 16, 2010, from 8 AM to 12 Noon, at Lake Region High School. Enjoy a bike rodeo, safety walk, prevention and safety information and more!
Free Bike Helmets for All Ages!! (while supplies last)
Free T-Shirt to first 400 Children in K-8th to register at event!!
For information, please contact: Amy Heinzen, Safe Kids Coordinator at All Children's Hospital at 1-800-756-SAFE (7233) ext. 2
Special thanks to event sponsors: All Children's Hospital, InnerAct Alliance, StandUP Polk, All Children's Speciality Care of Lakeland and Safe Kids/Florida Suncoast.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

InnerAct Alliance's Drug Free is HOT Red Ribbon Bus!


It's Red Ribbon Time!

Be on the Lookout for InnerAct Alliance's Drug Free is HOT Red Ribbon Bus traveling on the roads throughout Polk County during September and October! Special thanks to Citrus Connection, Madden Brand Identity and Dixie Signs for their kind support and helpful assistance in making this a reality for our agency!









Monday, August 30, 2010

Celebrate Family Day on Monday, September 27, 2010!

Make A Date For Dinner With Your Kids!
Monday, September 27, 2010

Did you know that eating dinner frequently with
your children reduces their risk of substance abuse?


Whether you're cooking a gourmet meal or ordering from your favorite restaurant, what your kids really want at the dinner table is YOU! Research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) consistently finds that the more children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use drugs. Family meals are the perfect time to talk to your kids and to listen to what's on their mind.

InnerAct Alliance is proud to partner with CASA and Crispers to celebrate Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children on Monday, September 27, 2010!
Crispers locations throughout the state are offering a Family Day Meal Special, which includes a FREE KIDS MEAL WITH THE PURCHASE OF AN ADULT MEAL (one child per adult). This offer is good on Monday, September 27, 2010 from 4 PM to 8 PM.

For more information, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Prescription Drug Summit & Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off Events

1st Annual Prescription Drug Summit & Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off
presented by InnerAct Alliance and Members of StandUP Polk, Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk

InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to present the 1st Annual Prescription Drug Summit on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 7:30 AM, at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene in Lakeland, to raise awareness about the alarming trend of abuse of prescription drugs and how it affects Polk County schools, businesses and families. The Keynote Speaker will be Sharon Kelley, MS, PMD, and CEO of Alliance for Global Narcotics Training, who will address attendees from 7:30 - 9:00 AM. Solution-planning group sessions led by Ms. Kelley and local experts in the field will take place from 9:00 - 11:00 AM. The first 100 registrants to RSVP to InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777 will receive free breakfast at 7:00 AM.

StandUP Polk and its partners in The Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk are also planning a second Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off event in conjunction with the DEA's National Take Back Initiative on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, for citizens to turn in unused, expired or unwanted Human and Pet Medication for safe and proper disposal. The first countywide medication collection held on March 20, 2010 resulted in an estimated 245.5 lbs. of recovered pharmaceuticals.

Locations for the Pill Drop off are:

Auburndale Police Department - 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL

Florida Department of Transportation - 801 North Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL (hosted by Bartow PoliceDept.)

Haines City Police Department - 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL

Lake Alfred Police Department - 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL

Lakeland Police Department - 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL

Winter Haven Police Department - 125 North Lake Silver Drive, NW, Winter Haven, FL
All medications should be secured in a clear, air-tight sealed plastic bag.
With an average of 7 Rx drug-related deaths in Florida each day, the intentional abuse of prescription drugs to alter brain activity is quickly becoming an epidemic! This alarming trend is especially prevalent in teenagers. Over 70% of young people age 12 & older who abuse prescription painkillers get them free from the homes of family or friends. Preventing youth from gaining access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs is one way to prevent and stop this epidemic. Clean out medicine cabinets regularly and properly dispose of any old and unused medication to alleviate the potential danger that can be found within the confines of our homes. Parents also need to talk with their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, is a group of concerned citizens, community and business leaders working together to take a stand against drugs and bring about positive change for Polk County. All are welcome to join this new initiative and take part in monthly planning sessions. Key support for the Prescription Drug Summit has been provided by: Clark & Daughtrey Medical Group, P.A., Watson Clinic Foundation, Inc., and the Lakeland Police Department.
For information, please call Angie Ellison at InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Mark Your Calendar For Red Ribbon Campaign Special Events This Fall!

Bright Red Ribbons signify that it is time for the Red Ribbon Campaign 2010, the national public awareness campaign to raise awareness of substance abuse. Wear a Red Ribbon on your clothing and display a ribbon on the door of your home or business, or on your vehicle, to show support for a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Join us to celebrate InnerAct Alliance's 25th Anniversary of providing prevention services to the community with the following activities:

Monday, September 20 - 1st Annual Prescription Drug Summit - 7:30 AM to 1 PM - InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to present an informative Prescription Drug Summit to raise awareness about the alarming trend of prescription drugs and how it affects Polk County schools, businesses and families. Keynote Speaker, Sharon Kelley, MS, PMD, CEO of Alliance for Global Narcotics Training, will address attendees from 7:30 AM to 9 AM and Planning Breakout Groups will be held from 9 AM to 11 AM, at Highland Park Church of the Nazarene, 4777 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland. First 100 registrants to RSVP to InnerAct Alliance at 863/802-0777 receive free breakfast at 7 AM.

Saturday, September 25 - Countywide Purge Your Pills Drop Off - 9 AM to 1 PM - StandUP Polk and its coalition partners are planning a second Purge Your Pills Drop Off event, in conjunction with the DEA's National Take Back Initiative, for citizens to turn in unused, expired or unwanted medication for safe and proper disposal. Drop off locations: Auburndale Police Department (2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL); Florida Department of Transportation (801 North Broadway Avenue, Bartow, FL - hosted by Bartow Police Department); Haines City Police Department (35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL); Lakeland Police Department (219 N. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland, FL ); and Winter Haven Police Department (125 North Lake Silver Drive, Winter Haven, FL). All medication should be secured in a clear, air-tight sealed plastic bag.

Saturday, September 25 - Red Ribbon Distribution - 9 AM to 1 PM - Red satin lapel ribbons will be distributed to the community free of charge in coordination with the Countywide Purge Your Pills Drop Off event at locations listed above.

Monday, September 27 - Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner With Your Children - Parents, what kids really want at the dinner table is YOU! Eating frequently with your children reduces their risk of substance abuse. InnerAct Alliance is partnering with Crispers locations throughout the state to offer a Family Day Meal Special of a FREE Kids Meal with the Purchase of an Adult Meal (one child per adult) from 4 PM to 8 PM on 9/27/10!

Monday, October 4 - City of Lakeland Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month - 9 AM at City Hall.

Wednesday, October 6 - Polk County Commission Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month - 9 AM.

Tuesday, October 12 - Polk County School Board Proclamation of Red Ribbon Month - 1:30 PM.

Saturday, October 16 - Red Ribbon Safe Kids Walk & Roll - 8 AM to 12 PM - Fun for all ages is planned at the 2nd Annual Red Ribbon Safe Kids Walk & Roll at Lake Region High School, which features a bike rodeo, safety walk, prevention and safety information and more. First 400 K-8th graders to register the morning of the event receive a FREE T-Shirt!

Saturday, November 6 - 19th Annual Red Ribbon Run and Kids Health & Wellness Carnival - Over 1,800 youth in grades K-5 will participate in the popular Red Ribbon Run, the largest youth running event in Polk county, which will be held this year at George Jenkins High School. All ages are welcome to participate. Registration for K-5 students is FREE and pre-registered children will receive a FREE T-SHIRT! Registration fee is $10 for students in grade 6 & above and adults to participate in the Open Run. Registration check-in begins at 7 AM. First race begins at 8 AM. Festivities also include the Kids Health & Wellness Carnival from 9 AM to 1 PM to celebrate the importance of good health. Wristbands will be sold for $5 admission for kids age 3 and up to enjoy interactive attractions, healthy activities, and entertainment. K-5th grade participants will receive a FREE BOOK to take home!

Friday, November 12 - InnerAct Alliance's 25th Anniversary Celebration - 6 PM to 8 PM - Plan to attend a special event to celebrate InnerAct Alliance's 25th Anniversary at the Peggy Brown Building in Lakeland! Additional details will be announced soon or call InnerAct Alliance at 802-0777.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walk to Help Stop Prescription Drug Abuse!

Join your family, friends and co-workers at the 2nd Annual Walk-A-Thon In Memory of Kyle Hall, the 19-year-old son of Kirk and Cathy Hall of Lakeland, who died in November 2007 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

The event is being held to raise funds to help educate children about prescription drug use and to establish a scholarship that will be awarded each year to a deserving Polk County high school student.

The 2-Mile Walk will take place on Saturday, July 31st, at Lake Parker Park's Blue Heron Pavilion in Lakeland. Registration will begin at 4:00 PM and the Walk will start at 5:00 PM. Adults $20.00; Students $15.00; Children under age 10 Free.

Part of the proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the substance abuse prevention programs and services at InnerAct Alliance. For more information, please call Kirk Hall at (863) 640-2915 or e-mail: rkh1952@aol.com

Celebrate Summer Safely!



Summer should be a time for chilling out, not stressing out! That goes for parens as well as kids. So, what's your plan to keep your teen out of trouble this summer?

Summer vacation can be a risky time for teens. Some tend to make poor decisions when they have unstructured, unsupervised time. In this economy, summer jobs for teens may be scarce and recreation programs may not be as plentiful due to the lack of funding.

The lack of structure and supervision, added freedom and more time with friends may increase temptation and access to alcohol and drugs. According to recent research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the rate of marijuana use among teens spikes in June and July.

Planning ahead could be the key for your family to enjoy a safe and happy summer break. Ensuring that teens are engaged in positive activities like camps, volunteering, or supervised outings with friends can be a great way to deter youth from things that are harmful to them, like alcohol and other drug use.

The following are some creative ideas you can discuss and plan with your teen for the summer:
  • Plan a supervised camping trip with friends
  • Visit some colleges online or plan a trip to visit some colleges
  • Volunteer in the community
  • Take a dance, art, or cooking class or learn some other new skill
  • Attend a summer camp for teens
  • Become a mentor or camp counselor
  • Babysit, pet care, yard work, painting or other odd jobs to earn money

Besides structured activities, it's also a great idea to schedule time to do some fun things as a family, such as going to the movies together, taking a walk, or sharing a meal. Teens who spend time, talk, and have a close relationship with their parents are much less likely to drink, take drugs, or have sex.

Have a safe and fun summer!

Monday, May 24, 2010

InnerAct Alliance Recipient of 2010 Community Champion Award

Lakeland, FL - InnerAct Alliance is proud to be named a recipient of the 2010 Community Champion Award from the Florida Department of Children and Families for effectively using evidence-based practices to prevent Substance Abuse in the 10th Circuit of Florida.

InnerAct Alliance has been recognized for providing evidence-based prevention education to 4th-9th grade students in Hardee, Highlands and Polk County schools through programs including Project: ALERT, Too Good for Drugs, and Keep A Clear Mind. These best practice educational programs have been proven to positively influence students' attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. The Too Good for Drugs program also offers the added value of Too Good for Violence lessons built into the curriculum to address elevated school-based bullying incidents as a contributing factor for substance abuse.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2010. The agency's mission is to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support and Leadership Development.

Our efforts to serve the community include providing science-based education programs to nearly 15,000 students in 69 schools, as well as outreach to over 100,000 citizens via informative presentations, drug-free puppet shows, and family-oriented awareness events including the Annual October Red Ribbon Campaign and motivational rallies for fifth grade students countywide.

For additional information on InnerAct Alliance's prevention programs and services in the community, please contact Angie Ellison, Executive Director, at (863) 802-0777.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

WinterHaven/HainesCity Area Winners of the Red Ribbon Rallies Poster, Poetry & Essay Contest

Lakeland, FL - InnerAct Alliance is proud to announce the winners of its Poster, Poetry & Essay Contest for Fifth Grade Students in the greater Winter Haven/Haines City area schools. Contest participants will be recognized during the "Red Ribbon Rally" this morning at 10:00 a.m. at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven.

The anti-drug rally will focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Students were challenged to use their creative talents to compose essays, write poems, or draw posters to illustrate topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and others drugs. Overall winners in each category will receive cash prizes of $100 (first place), $50 (second place), and $25 (third place) in each contest category.

Guest speaker for the Rally will be Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator who now travels full-time throughout North America inspiring and encouraging individuals to do their best in all of their endeavors.

A similar rally for Lakeland area schools took place last week on Tuesday, May 4th at The Lakeland Center.

InnerAct Alliance congratulates the following Overall Contest Winners:

Poster Contest:
1st Place - $100.00 - Serena Mercado, Davenport School of the Arts
2nd Place - $50.00 - Viktoria Dvorska, Eastside Elementary
3rd Place - $25.00 - Christian Otero, Lena Vista Elementary

Poetry Contest:
1st Place - $100.00 - Donavan Macomber, Lena Vista Elementary
2nd Place - $50.00 - Michemana Jean, Pinewood Elementary
3rd Place - $25.00 - Christina Fail, Lake Shipp Elementary

Essay Contest:
1st Place - $100.00
- Bryson Bova, Garden Grove Elementary
2nd Place - $50.00 - Kaitlyn Short, Elbert Elementary
3rd Place - $25.00 - Scott Glidewell, Pinewood Elementary

Congratulations also to the School with the Most Contest Participants Overall - Berkley Elementary!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Encourage Safe Celebration This Graduation & Summer Season

Lakeland, FL - Teens and alcohol or drugs are combustible combinations. This time of year, when kids are attending proms and graduation celebrations, is especially volatile. There may be more pressure to end the school year on a "high" note by partying with illicit drugs, alcohol, or even prescription drugs.

How will your teen celebrate? Statistics from a recent study released by The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and the MetLife Foundation show that the percent of teens who say that their friends get high at parties increased from 69 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2009. The study further reported that 56 percent of teens believe Rx drugs are easier to obtain than illegal drugs, and more than half (55.9%) of people who use Rx drugs non-medically say they got the drugs from a friend or relative for free. The National Study on Drug Use and Health Report also reports that there is significant increase in first time use of marijuana during the summer months.

What's a parent to do? You want your child to enjoy the freedoms that come with the end of school, graduation and summer time, but it is important to encourage fun within certain parameters. Parents, YOU are in the best position to help your child make good decisions. It is critical that you be firm, clear and consistent when talking with your teens about drinking and drug use, and make sure they know they'll be held accountable for their actions.

Here are a few simple tips, offered by the partners of StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, on what you and the parents in your community can do to keep teens safe during upcoming graduation celebrations and throughout the summer months:
  • Set clear rules about no drug and alcohol use, establish consequences, and reinforce expectations.
  • Talk to your child about peer pressure and provide them with strategies to resist it.
  • Provide safe, fun alternatives such as chaperoned alcohol and drug-free graduation and summer parties.
  • Be aware and ask questions; know who your teen will be with, where they will be, and at what times.
  • Be sure that teens know that one bad choice to use drugs or alcohol can change their lives forever.
  • Be a good role model.

For more information on talking with your teens about the dangers of substance abuse, call StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777. Visit the interactive Be The Wall web site at www.bethewall.com and take the pledge to keep alcohol out of the hands of teens so they will enjoy a safe, happy, and alcohol and drug-free graduation and summer season.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lakeland Area Winners of 5th Grade Rallies Poster, Essay & Poetry Contests

InnerAct Alliance is proud to announce the winners of its Poster, Poetry and Essay Contests for 5th Grade Students in the greater Lakeland area schools. Contest participants will be recognized during the "Red Ribbon Rallies," which take place this morning at 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM at The Lakeland Center.

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Students were challenged to use their creative talents to compose essays, write poems, or draw posters to illustrate topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Overall winners in each category will receive cash prizes of $100 (first place), $50 (second place, and $25 (third place) in each contest category.

Guest speaker for the Rallies will be Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator who now travels full-time throughout North America inspiring and encouraging individuals to do their best in all of their endeavors.

Another Rally for Winter Haven and Haines City area schools will be held next week on Wednesday, May 12th, at 10 AM in the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven. Contest winners for those schools will be announced next week.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The mission of InnerAct Alliance is to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency is proud to have provided substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities since 1985 with services including science-based education in elementary and middle schools, drug-free puppet shows, informative presentations and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups, and others in need with an important substance abuse message.

Congratulations to the following Contest Prize Winners:

Poster Category:
1st Place - $100.00 - Rachel Oestreich, South McKeel
2nd Place - $50.00 - Zackhary Ebare, Southwest
3rd Place - $25.00 - Lesley Marrero, Sleepy Hill

Poetry Category:
1st Place - $100.00 - Thalia Gonzalez, Medulla
2nd Place - $50.00 - Ashton Serrano, Highlands Grove
3rd Place - $25.00 - Emma Kratt, North McKeel

Essay Category:
1st Place - $100.00 - Christian Cody, Sleepy Hill
2nd Place - $50.00 - Paige Sharrow, South McKeel
3rd Place - $25.00 - Katya Viegas, Scott Lake

Congratulations also to the School with the Most Contest Participants Overall - Highlands Grove Elementary!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fifth-Graders To Participate In Red Ribbon Rallies - May 4 & 12, 2010

Nearly 6,000 fifth grade students have been invited by InnerAct Alliance to attend Red Ribbon Rallies in May to encourage the choice of a positive lifestyle without the use of drugs. Events will take place on May 4 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. at The Lakeland Center in Lakeland, and on May 12 at 10:00 a.m. at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Guest speaker will be Patrick T. Grady, a former middle and high school educator who now travels full-time throughout North America inspiring and encouraging individuals to do their best in all of their endeavors. Grady is the author of the book titled, "Who Packs the Parachute," and co-author of "Teen Power Too," and the book "Teen Power and Beyond." Community leaders will also be on hand to encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs.

Fifth grade students have been challenged to create original essays, poems and posters that convey topical messages about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Contest winners will be recognized during the rallies with cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 awarded to overall first place winners in each contest category.

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. The mission of InnerAct Alliance is to reduce the abuse and underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency is proud to have provided substance abuse prevention to the Hardee, Highlands and Polk County communities since 1985 with services including science-based education in elementary and middle schools, drug -free puppet shows, informative presentations, and family-oriented awareness events that touch the lives of youth, parents, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, community groups and others in need with an important substance abuse message.

For more information on the Fifth Grade Rallies on May 4 and 12, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Countywide Purge Your Pills Drop Off Event Nets Over 245 lbs. of Pharmaceuticals!


A collaboration between StandUP Polk and its coalition partners, Haines City Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Waste Resource Management, Publix Super Markets, Inc., S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together), Winter Haven Police Department and City of Winter Haven, to collect unused and expired prescription medication was a great success! The first countywide household medication collection event, held last Saturday, March 20, 2010, resulted in an estimated 245.5 lbs. of recovered pharmaceuticals.

The 11-bags of medications, collected from various drop off sites including the Haines City Police Dept., Lakeland Police Dept., Polk County Waste Resource Management, and Winter Haven Police Dept., were delivered and dumped into the McKay Bay Incinerator in Tampa.

The coalition partners recognize the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and planned the event for two very important reasons - to help Polk County residents properly dispose of old and unused prescription medications in a safe way that would not be harmful to the environment, and to help reduce prescription drug abuse by decreasing the availability of expired or unwanted medications. The coalition will be meeting soon to plan future pill drop events, as well as discuss the possibility of establishing permanent pill drop off venues.

Prescription medication has become one of the fastest-growing abused drugs of adults and especially teens, who report finding painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and other medications to abuse right in their own family medicine cabinet. Preventing youth from gaining access to prescription and over-the-counter drugs is one way to prevent and stop this epidemic. Parents should also talk with their children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

StandUP Polk, the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, is a group of individuals, key community and business leaders working as the Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk to take a stand against drugs. Concerned citizens are encouraged to join this important initiative and take part in monthly meetings. It will take an overall communitywide effort to bring about positive change for Polk County. For more information, please call Angie Ellison at InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kick Butts Day 2010 - March 24, 2010



KICK BUTTS DAY 2010

March 24, 2010
UthMpact, the youth coalition for a drug-free Polk, kicked off the month of March accepting an official proclamation from Haines City Mayor, Joanna Wilkinson, declaring March 24, 2010 as "Kick Butts Day 2010!"
"Kick Butts Day," celebrated on March 24, 2010, is an annual national initiative, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, to educate students about tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Statistics show that 88% of Polk County Students say they DON'T use tobacco and youth leaders feel it is important that their peers and adults know that most teens choose NOT to use tobacco products.
UthMpact is the dynamic youth coalition of teen leaders committed to helping educate and deliver key substance abuse prevention messages to teens by their peers. This energetic group has developed an anti-tobacco and underage drinking prevention program currently being piloted in 14 Polk County middle and high schools.
Coalition goals for UthMpact are to provide positive community engagement; change community stereotypes about teen drug use by volunteering, informing and being educated; set examples for other teens; increase coalition membership and involvement in youth clubs in high schools; and positively encourage alcohol and tobacco prevention and cessation.
Teens interested in joining UthMpact may call Lisa Jones at InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777 for more information. Visit the award-winning UthMpact website at http://www.uthmpact.com/ or plan to come to monthly meetings held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Family Fundamentals.

UthMpact News!

UthMpact News!

UthMpact, the youth coalition for a drug-free Polk, gathered teen members, volunteers and staff from around the county to take part in a Leadership Training Extravaganza on February 12th and 13th at the FFA Training Center in Haines City, FL.
The Leadership Training Retreat for 9th-12th grade students was offered by the UthMpact (youth impact) Coalition, in partnership with InnerAct Alliance. New members from Ridge Community High School, Haines City High School, and P.R.I.D.E., joined existing coalition members to participate in an action-packed weekend agenda that included team building activities, sharing of group concepts, and planning for the continued growth and success of the UthMpact coalition.
Facilitators for the training included nationally-known presenter, Patrick T. Grady of Today and Tomorrow Enterprises, Inc.; Phil Scarpelli of the Department of Children & Families; and Dan Geer, Safe & Drug Free Coordinator for Marion County Schools, who each shared their skills and experience and relayed invigorating messages to our community's future leaders about how to best meet future challenges for the coalition.
It was a successful retreat where new working committees were formed, valuable professional relationships were developed, and future plans were solidified to ensure a bright future ahead for UthMpact.

UthMpact is the dynamic youth coalition of teen leaders committed to helping educate and deliver key substance abuse prevention messages to teens by their peers. This energetic group has developed an anti-tobacco and underage drinking prevention program currently being piloted in 14 Polk County middle and high schools. Coalition goals for UthMpact are to provide positive community engagement; change community stereotypes about teen drug use by volunteering, informing and being educated; set examples for other teens; increase coalition membership and involvement in youth clubs in high schools; and positively encourage alcohol and tobacco prevention and cessation.

Purge Your Pills Drop Off Event


PURGE YOUR PILLS DROP OFF EVENT
Saturday, March 20, 2010
9 AM to 1 PM

Celebrate the 1st day of Spring by doing some spring cleaning in your medicine cabinet! Bring your unwanted or expired medications to the Purge Your Pills Drop Off event on Saturday, March 20th, from 9 AM to 1 PM.
StandUP Polk and its coalition partners, Haines City Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Waster Resource Management, Winter Haven Police Department, City of Winter Haven, and Publix Super Markets, Inc., recognize the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and have offered the Purge Your Pills Drop Off for two very important reasons:
  • to help Polk County residents properly dispose of old and unused prescription medications in a safe way that will not be harmful to the environment
  • to help reduce prescription drug abuse by decreasing availability of old and unused medications.

Bring medications to any of the following locations for safe disposal, secured in a clear, air-tight, sealed plastic bag:

  • Haines City Police Department - 35400 Highway 27, Haines City
  • Lakeland Police Department - 219 N. Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland
  • Polk County Waste Resource Management - 10 Environmental Loop S., Winter Haven
  • Winter Haven Police Department - 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW - Winter Haven

Prescription medication has become one of the fastest growing abused drugs among teens, who are finding painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and other medications to abuse right in their own family medicine cabinets. Preventing youth from gaining access is one way to prevent and stop this epidemic!

Special thanks to the groups that worked together on this community project, especially the Haines City Police Dept., InnerAct Alliance, Lakeland Police Dept., Polk County Waste Resource Management, Publix Super Markets, Inc., City of Winter Haven and Winter Haven Police Dept.

For more information, please call InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.

Town Hall Meeting


DRUGS ARE THIS CLOSE TO HOME!
Become Informed About How Substance Abuse Affects
Polk County Schools, Businesses & Families
Please Attend An Informative Town Hall Meeting

Wednesday, March 17, 2010
9:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.
USF Polytechnic Campus, Room 1104-05
3433 Winter Lake Road, Lakeland

InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk, the coalition for a Drug-Free Polk, are proud to present an informative Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at 9 AM, at the USF Polytechnic Campus, to raise awareness about the alarming trend of abuse of prescription drugs and how it affects Polk County schools, businesses and families.

According to studies reported by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the intentional abuse of prescription drugs to alter brain activity is a growing concern, especially prevalent in teenagers. Teens are finding painkillers, stimulants, depressants, and other medications to abuse right in their own family medicine cabinets. In fact, over 70% of young people age 12 & older who abuse prescription painkillers get them free from the homes of family or friends.
Preventing youth from gaining access to prescription and over the counter drugs is one way to prevent and stop the epidemic. Parents should also talk with their children regularly about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.
A Purge Your Pills Drop Off event is also planned for Saturday, March 20, 2010, from 9 AM to 1 PM, for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted medications for safe and proper disposal.

Locations for the pill drop off are:
  • Haines City Police Department - 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
  • Lakeland Police Department - 219 N. Massachusetts Ave, Lakeland, FL
  • Polk County Waste Resource Management - 10 Environmental Loop S., Winter Haven, FL
  • Winter Haven Police Department - 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL

Plan to take an active part in the local efforts to reduce substance abuse in Polk County. Please R.S.V.P. to attend the Town Hall Meeting by Friday, March 12th, to: InnerAct Alliance at (863) 802-0777.