Friday, December 4, 2015



Over the past five years, InnerAct Alliance has taught The PAX Good Behavior Game to teachers and students in the Lake Wales Charter Schools. PAX means peace, productivity, and health in Latin. The program teaches peaceful life skills, encourages anti-bullying strategies, and promotes kindness and team work. PAX has been embraced by Lake Wales teachers, administrators, and School Superintendent, Dr. Jesse L. Jackson. Many of the Lake Wales Charter Schools personnel have attended the nationwide PAX-Good Behavior Game training.

PAX has been approved and funded by the Federal Government through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Research and findings for the program show decreases in suicidal tendencies, drug abuse, and violent behaviors in adolescents and adults who were exposed to PAX in elementary school.

We are proud of the Lake Wales School System for embracing The PAX Program and bringing it to their teachers and students. InnerAct Alliance looks forward to partnering with more schools in the future!

Prevention Summit a Success!

Prevention Summit a Success!

On Monday, October 19, 2015, StandUP Polk hosted the 6th Annual “Own the Upside” Prevention Summit at Lake Eva Banquet Hall in Haines City. Sheriff Grady Judd began the Prevention Summit with opening remarks. The 170 participants represented many organizations across Polk County including School Resource Officers, School Board employees, Prevention Specialists, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Professionals, and Guardian ad litems.  It was a great opportunity to share current information about our community and its youth culture. An outstanding line up of speakers presented on topic including:  The Impact of the Legalization of Marijuana, New and Emerging Drugs, Waxing and Dabbing, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Law Enforcement, Bullying, Trauma Informed care, and Current Gang Trends. The Crime Stoppers Campaign was revealed and participants were awarded CEU’s for their participation.  

UthMpact President Emily Dunson Honored with Youth in Philanthropy Award!

UthMpact President Emily Dunson Honored
ith Youth in Philanthropy Award!

InnerAct Alliance is proud to congratulate Emily Dunson, this year’s UthMpact president and a senior at Harrison School for the Arts, for receiving the Youth in Philanthropy Award given by the Greater Polk County Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals at the Second Annual National Philanthropy Day awards ceremony at Southeastern University.

The youth in philanthropy award is presented to a local resident 18 or younger who has shown a commitment to volunteerism and fundraising for charities. Dunson was nominated by InnerAct Alliance for the wonderful community work she does not only with UthMpact, but also with other worthwhile charitable and service organizations in the Polk County area.  

As a UthMpact leader, Emily found her niche planning and coordinating the Project Prom activities and events. Under Dunson’s leadership, Project Prom saw an almost a 100% increase in the number of participating students who received free formal ware in exchange for pledging to celebrate alcohol and substance free. Over 800 items, including formal dresses, suits for young men, and coordinating accessories, were collected and nearly 250 outfits were distributed at the Project Prom Store in Lakeside Village.

Emily helped to promote the Project Prom effort by speaking to different community groups. She was also interviewed by the local newspaper and four radio stations. As a result of this publicity, there was a line of people waiting when the Project Prom store opened on the first formal wear shopping day!

Emily was present nearly every day at the Project Prom store to set up, assist teens to find their perfect Prom outfit, and also break down after the event was over. Hundreds of people came to shop and were exposed to the substance abuse prevention and healthy lifestyle choice messages associated with Project Prom.  Much of Project Prom’s success was due to the positive influence, dedication, and planning skills of Emily and our UthMpact team who coordinated the Gala and Fashion show events, volunteer assistance, and the Project Prom shopping days!

Over 1,100 Pounds of Prescription Drugs Collected in Polk County at 10th Annual DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Over 1,100 Pounds of Prescription Drugs Collected in Polk County
at 10th Annual DEA Prescription Drug Take Back Day 

StandUP Polk and local law enforcement agencies were proud to join The Drug Enforcement Administration and its national and community partners for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on September 26, 2015 for citizens to dispose of unwanted, unneeded, and expired medications. 

A total of 1,125.8 pounds of prescription drugs were turned in by Polk County residents at the 2015 event. Previous medication collections held in Polk County since 2010 have resulted in over 6,500 pounds of recovered pharmaceuticals safely disposed of via incineration. 

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft, misuse, and abuse. Almost twice as many Americans (6.8 million) currently abuse prescription drugs than the number using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Participating locations in our community’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Day were Auburndale Police Department, Haines City Police Department (pictured above), Lake Alfred Police Department, Lake Wales Police Department, Lakeland Police Department, and Winter Haven Police Department.

Polk County also has Permanent Medication Drop Boxes at the following locations:
Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL (Weekdays, 8am–5pm)
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL (Weekdays, 8am–5pm)
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Ave., Lake Alfred, FL (24 hours/7 days)
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland, FL (24 hours/7 days)
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 N. Lake Silver Drive, WH, FL (Weekdays, 8am–5pm)

AMA Calls for Ban on Prescription Drug TV Ads

AMA Calls for Ban on Prescription Drug TV Ads

We’ve all seen the influx of ads for medications promising a cure to whatever ails you. After an upbeat intro and even a cute cartoon about the drug’s benefits inevitably comes a laundry list of side effects that may include anything from excessive bleeding  to heart attack, stroke, and even death! These ads can convey a false and dangerous message to viewers of all ages that the benefits of taking these meds can outweigh the dangerous side effects. 

On November 17, 2015 the American Medical Association (AMA) called for an end to direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and implantable medical devices.  According to the AMA, the ads contribute to increasing cost, and lead to patient demand for inappropriate treatment.

“The vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices,” AMA Board Member Dr. Patrice Harris said in a news release published on the American Medical Association’s website at “Direct-to-consumer advertising also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate.”

The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs. Drug manufacturers spent $4.5 billion for ads in the last two years, a 30 percent increase, according to the AMA, and prices for prescription drugs rose almost 5 percent in the past year. “Patient care can be compromised and delayed when prescription drugs are unaffordable and subject to coverage limitations by the patients’ health plan,” Harris said. She noted ads encourage the use of newer brand-name drugs, when lower-cost medications may be just as effective.

The trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says direct-to-consumer ads provide “scientifically accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options.” Spokesperson Tina Stow said the ads also encourage patients to visit their doctor “for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place.”