Wednesday, July 6, 2022

InnerAct Alliance and Coalition Are Proud Recipients of Grant Funding from the GiveWell Community Foundation

InnerAct Alliance and our coalition partners, Stand UP Polk and UthMpact, are proud recipients of an Empower Polk grant of $2,000 from the GiveWell Community Foundation to support Leadership Progression. The GiveWell Community Foundation's Empower Polk grant cycle aims to help local nonprofits invest in their organization's efficiency and sustainability.  

Funding from the Empower Polk grant will allow InnerAct Alliance to continue developing defined strategic planning priorities that will reaffirm the agency’s mission and values, monitor board effectiveness, encourage ongoing board development, and help set both long and short-term priorities and measurable outcomes. 

“We are extremely grateful for the support of the GiveWell Community Foundation to assist our agency in the strategic planning process that will empower our nonprofit agency to better fulfill our mission and continue supporting our community,” said Angie Ellison, executive director of InnerAct Alliance. 

InnerAct Alliance, formerly the Drug Prevention Resource Center, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and licensed provider for substance abuse prevention in Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties since 1985. The agency’s mission is to reduce the abuse and underage use of harmful substances along with involvement in other risky behaviors through: Community Awareness and Involvement; Prevention Education; Economic Support; and Leadership Development. Efforts to serve the community include providing science-based education programs to nearly 15,000 students in 70 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as outreach to over 100,000 citizens via informative presentations, a premier youth leadership program, teen-driven social norms marketing, and family-oriented awareness events including the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign and motivational rallies for fifth grade students countywide.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Stay Vigilant for Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication


Stay Vigilant for Cannabis (Marijuana) Intoxication

We have all heard the safety warnings about keeping prescription medication stored in high cabinets or in locked drawers when not in sue, but it is just as important to keep over the counter medicine and forms of cannabis, medical or recreational, out of reach of children and family pets.

Marijuana or cannabis refers to the dried parts of the Cannabis plant. Cannabis has been used since 500 B.C. as an herbal medicine as well as for products such as rope, textiles, and paper. Today, cannabis is primarily used for medicinal or recreational purposes. It may be smoked like a cigarette, inhaled via vaping, or ingested in food and drink

Cannabis contains more than 100 different chemicals or compounds called Cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the cannabinoid with the most psychoactive effects. It is also the compound responsible for some of cannabis' medicinal uses to treat nausea or improve appetitie in cancer patients. Other compounds, such as cannabidiol (CBD) have shown promise for medicinal use and do not have psychoactive effects. Marijuana can be found in cookies, brownies, soft drinks, and candy - products that do not have warning labels to remind adults to keep these medicines out of reach.

Legal or illegal, the increased accessibility to marijuana has led to increases in accidental exposure. Researchers have reported an increase in the number of children brought to the emergency room after swallowing medicinal marijuana products. Most common symptoms include excessive sleepiness, dizziness, and trouble walking, but there is a danger that children can become too sleepy and decreased breathing may reduce oxygen levels. In case of accidental overdose, it is important to call 9-1-1, Poison Control 1-800-222-1222, or go immediately to the closest emergency room.

Similarly, pets can also be at risk for accidental exposure. Cats and dogs can become intoxicated by inhaling second-hand smoke, eating edibles, or ingesting cannabis in any form. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors in their brains, which means effects can potentially be more toxic compared to humans. Signs of intoxication for pets may include incoordination, hyperactivity, disorientation, or vocalization. They may drool or vomit, and in severe cases, experience tremors, seizures, or slip into a coma. If you notice suspicious behavior in your cat or dog and cannabis or other drug exposure is a possibility, take your pet to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency vet hospital for treatment.

Bottom line - take care and stay vigilant. 
Most of all, keep all drugs safely out of reach of children and pets!

Welcome to New InnerAct Alliance Board Members for 2022-2023


Welcome to Our New InnerAct Alliance Board Members!

Welcome 2022-2023 Executive Committee: Jeanette Crowley, President; Hazel Sellers, Past President; Karen King, 1st Vice President; Willie Mincey, 2nd Vice President; Ryan Rogers, Treasurer; Ginny Wolfe, Secretary; Jill Seymour and Cindy Sharp, Members At Large and Board of Directors: Candace Barnes, Juli Davis, Carrie Ann Hall, Guy LaLonde, Bruce Lilyea, Mikaela Perry, Carole Philipson, and Hans Steinbrenner. 

The Annual InnerAct Alliance Year In Review Meeting will be held on Thursday, June 23rd to plan and review the agency’s many programs and services in our community.

Summer is a Dangerous Time for Teen Drivers

Summer is a Dangerous Time for Teen Drivers

Fatal crashes continue to rise across our state and with teens out of school, they are at greater risk on our roads. We are now in a period known as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Data shows more than 30% of deaths involving teen drivers happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Nationwide, over 7,000 people died in teen-related crashes during summer months of 2010-2019. The Florida Department of Transportation confirms that the average number of crashes and fatalities involving teenagers increase by 16% from late May to September when kids are out of school. In addition, AAA expects that the past two years of pent-up travel demand due to COVID-19 may lead to more traffic, which raises the crash risk especially for young drivers who have less experience.

Everyone should be conscious that we all have a duty to drive safe. Risks multiply when young drivers have teen passengers in the car so parents must set limits for their kids and enforce them. Parents should also model good driving behavior - it could save your teens life.

UthMpact teen leaders have created a social norms campaign with a clever theme of “Your Future is Deer!” to help increase awareness and remind peers of important safety measures before they get behind the wheel.

UthMpact Facts focus on driving responsibly and defensively, and most of all, NOT driving distracted! Stay safe this summer and when on the roads, obey the posted speed limit, buckle up, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or ride in a car driven by an impaired driver.

P.A.U.S.E. for Panic to Calm Your Anxiety

P.A.U.S.E. is a great helpful technique to use when you notice yourself becoming anxious. These steps encourage us to engage in positive actions to manage and calm anxiety instead of getting caught in vicious cycles of worry.

Here are 5 easy strategies to try that may help stop or manage panic attacks. So, just remember P.A.U.S.E. any time you notice that you are worrying:

Smart & Safe Summer Fun!


Smart & Safe Summer Fun!

Summer is here - warm sunny days enjoying beach outings, barbecues, vacations and pool parties with family and friends. There are lots of great memories to make but long summer days may also present opportunities for kids to experiment 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 stay safe, make smart decisions, and avoid risky situations.

According to statistics reported by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), key periods of social transition like summer break can present a risk factor for youth substance abuse. Teens and young adults often use substances for the first time during the months of June and July. It's important to recognize signs that youth might be experimenting. Clues may be hidden or be 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 event CBD gummy candies. The Good News is that there are resources available to help parents become more aware and learn to set firm guidelines for their children regarding acceptable choices and behaviors to help them navigate through summer months when socializing peaks!

* InnerAct Alliance has an informative resource available 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 concealed in seemingly orginary belongings in the room. Civic groups and organizations may invite a representative to visit with the OTUS Trailer by calling the InnerAct Alliance office at (863) 802-077 or visiting our website to arrange a free presentation at 

*Informed Families/The Florida Family Partnership is a nonprofit organization that offers awesome parenting tips for talking to kis about alcohol and drugs as well as healthy living messages and information about the latest drug trends on its website at

 *Keeping kids busy is another great preventive measure! Lakeland Mom offers a fantastic list of summer camps and activities available in Lakeland, Bartow, Winter Haven, and across Polk County to help chase away the summer boredom and keep your child engaged in fun and healthy activities. The list includes camps for sports, aeronautical, swimming, gymnastics, martial arts, art, dance, STEM, as well as day camps, teen camps, and Vacation Bible School. Camps provide a perfect opportunity for kids to make new friends and learn something new while keeping them away from illegal substances. Visit Lakeland Mom at 

Summer Wellness Tips - Thrive During These Times