Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Scientific studies indicate that the adolescent brain in both animals and humans undergoes substantial change and maturation into the mid-20s. Research on the developing teen brain offers important insight into the neurological foundation of adolescent behavior, which may help to explain why teens tend to be more impulsive and why rates of substance abuse and risky behavior are far greater for this age group than others.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a new study performed by researchers David Sturman and Bita Moghaddam at the University of Pittsburgh measured the activity of single cells in the brains of adult and adolescent rats to identify the neural roots of differences in brain function. The unique approach used in this work allowed scientists to watch how the adolescent brain responds to rewards resulting from behavior in real time.

The study, recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience entitled “Reduced neuronal inhibition and coordination of adolescent prefrontal cortex during motivated behavior,” showed that even when adult and adolescent rats behaved in exactly the same way in order to receive a food reward, the pattern of firing of single cells in their brains was different. Reduced inhibition of neuron activity shown in adolescents could suggest that they may respond more intensively than adults to reward. These more intense responses may help to explain the increased vulnerability of adolescents to the rewarding effects of alcohol and drugs.

Monitoring how the adolescent brain processes events differently than the adult brain offers a powerful way to understand the vulnerabilities of young people at this age. It further points up the necessity to develop ways to intervene early with teens.

To support parents, retailers, and community members in efforts to keep teens from drinking and using drugs, InnerAct Alliance and the StandUP Polk Coalition are partnering with the Lakeland Police Department, Polk County Schools, Florida Department of Children and Families, and many other local partners in an innovative statewide campaign called Be the Wall.

The Be The Wall campaign is designed on the premise that while alcohol may be the primary substance of choice for teens across the state and country, underage drinking should be the single most preventable at risk behavior among our teenagers. Together the StandUP Polk Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk partners encourage parents and influential adults to Be the Wall between teens and alcohol with firm, clear and consistent messages.

For additional information about the campaign, please call StandUP Polk at (863) 802-0777 and visit the interactive Be The Wall web site at to take the pledge to keep alcohol out of the hands of our teens.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Upcoming InnerAct Alliance Events 2011


Third Thursday of Each Month – Coalition for a Drug-Free Polk Monthly Meetings

StandUP 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 attend meetings held on the 3rdThursday of each month at 9 AM at Family Fundamentals, 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd., in Lakeland.

UthMpact is the coalition for teens by teens educating and empowering teens to make healthy decisions and take action against alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Join the UthMpact prevention effort and earn community service hours by volunteering. Meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 5:30 pm at Family Fundamentals, 1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd., in Lakeland. Visit our web site at or find UthMpact Coalition on Facebook.

Sunday, April 3, 2011 – Safe Kids Walk and Roll 9 AM to 12 PM

Lots of family fun is planned at the 3rd Annual Safe Kids Walk & Roll on Sunday morning, April 3, 2011, held in conjunction with the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic. Activities for all ages include a bike rodeo, safety walk, free bike helmets for all ages (while supplies last), prevention and safety information. Additional information will be announced soon by event sponsors Safe Kids Florida Suncoast, All Children’s Hospital, All Children’s Specialty Care of Lakeland, InnerAct Alliance and StandUP Polk.

Saturday, April 30, 2011 – Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off - 9 AM to 1 PM

StandUP Polk and its coalition partners are planning a Purge Your Pills Rx Drop Off event on Saturday, April 30, 2011, in conjunction with the DEA’s National Take Back Initiative, for citizens to turn in unused, expired, or unwanted Human and Pet Medications for safe and proper disposal.

Medications should be secured in a clear sealed plastic bag, and may be brought to any of the following locations on April 30th for safe disposal:

Auburndale Police Department – 2 Bobby Green Plaza, Auburndale, FL
City of Zolfo Springs Sheriff Substation – US 17 (Town Hall Building), Zolfo Springs, FL
Florida Dept. of Transportation – 801 North Broadway, Bartow, FL – Hosted by Bartow P.D.
Davenport Police Department – 17 Market Street, Davenport, FL
Haines City Police Department – 35400 Highway 27, Haines City, FL
Hardee County Sheriff’s Office – 900 East Summit Street, Wauchula, FL
Lake Alfred Police Department – 190 North Seminole Avenue, Lake Alfred, FL
Lake Wales Police Department – 133 East Tillman Avenue, Lake Wales, FL
Lakeland Police Department – 219 N. Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland, FL
Winter Haven Police Department – 125 North Lake Silver Drive NW, Winter Haven, FL
Wauchula Police Department - 128 South 7th Street, Wauchula, FL

The coalition recognizes the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and planned this event for two very 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 drugs abuse by decreasing the availability of expired or unwanted medications. Previous pill collections held by the coalition last March and September in Polk County have resulted in nearly 650 pounds of medications safely disposed of via incineration.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 – Red Ribbon Fifth Grade Rallies

Nearly 6,000 fifth grade students will be 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 Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at The Lakeland Center and at the Polk State College Gym in Winter Haven on a future date to be decided.

The anti-drug rallies focus on reinforcing critical substance abuse resistance skills before students enter middle school in the fall. Guest speaker and community leaders will encourage the choice of a positive, healthy lifestyle without the use of drugs. As part of the Rally programs, fifth grade students will be 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.

For more information, please call (863) 802-0777