Sale of flavored e-cigarettes statewide and all tobacco sales at pharmacies end TODAY in New York State

CandyThe sale of flavored e-cigarettes ends in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward in helping New Yorkers live free from nicotine addiction.

The new laws were passed as part of the state’s fiscal year 2021 budget. New York becomes the second state in the nation to restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

“There are two things we definitely know about vaping. One: flavors are a major cause for youth to vape, and two: youth who vape are more likely to switch to smoking traditional cigarettes as they get older. In 2018, we saw the first increase in youth smoking rates since 2000. The only major thing that has changed in the tobacco product market place is the popularity of vape products, where they are sold, and how they are marketed,” said Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Coordinator of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany.

Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them.[i] Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.[ii]   This new law ending the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State will protect kids from a lifetime of nicotine addiction.

Selling tobacco products in pharmacies has long sent a contradictory message to consumers by offering tobacco alongside medicine or products for illnesses either caused by or made worse by smoking. That ends now in New York State. It also reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. “What has been great in Allegany County, is that all independent personally owned pharmacies have not sold tobacco products for years” states Chaffee. There is overwhelming evidence that the more young people see tobacco, the more likely they are to start smoking.[iii]

“We know that preventing the use of any substance, including nicotine, is a major priority and saves countless numbers of lives and future health care costs to society,” said Ann Weaver, Community Educator at Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.  “Speaking as someone who has assisted people with cessation, I can testify to the fact that adults trying to quit found it frustrating to see tobacco products near nicotine replacement, as the sight of tobacco products often acts as a powerful trigger and produces cravings.”

Support available for New Yorkers who want to quit

For help quitting smoking or vaping, including free nicotine replacement therapy for eligible residents, individuals can contact a health care provider, call the New York State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS or visit Effective medications and counseling are covered by Medicaid and most insurance programs. Allegany County residents can also contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. for free cessation services at (585) 593-1920.

Tobacco Free New York State and Reality Check student groups around the state have worked tirelessly to educate local communities about the need to protect children from the billions of dollars of tobacco marketing in places where kids can see it. The statewide “Seen Enough Tobacco” initiative is focused on putting an end to youth smoking and other tobacco use. The average age of a new smoker in New York is 13 years old,[iv] and 90% of adult smokers say they first tried smoking by age 18.[v] Tobacco Free New York State, including the Reality Check student youth groups, is part of the NYS Tobacco Control Program.

Reality Check empowers youth to become leaders in their communities in exposing what they see as the manipulative and deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry. The organization’s members produce change in their communities through grassroots mobilization and education. Reality Check in this area is affiliated with Tobacco-Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties (TF-CCA), a program managed by Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

About the NYS Tobacco Control Program

The NYS Tobacco Control Program includes a network of statewide grantees who work on Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities, which includes Community Engagement and Reality Check, the Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York, the NYS Smokers’ Quitline and Surveillance and Research. Their efforts are leading the way toward a tobacco-free society. For more information, visit, and NYSmokeFree.Com.


[i] Flavored Tobacco Products Attract Kids: Brief Overview of Key Issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dec. 2019,
[ii] NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018:
[iii] A Report of the Surgeon General: Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults “Executive Summary” 2012, p. 1, 3:
[iv] Information about Tobacco Use, Smoking and Secondhand Smoke,
[v] A Report of the Surgeon General “The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress” 2014, p. 12, 696, 708:

Vaping Reversing Years of Success Against Youth Nicotine Exposure

For years state tobacco control and prevention programs have been successful lowering youth exposure to nicotine, by lowering the youth smoking rates; unfortunately, vaping is reversing all that hard work. In New York State between 2000 and 2018 the high school youth smoking rate decreased 82%.i From 2016 to 2018 the high school smoking rate increased from 4.3% to 4.8% the first increase in New York State since 2000.i In contrast, use of e-cigarettes among high school youth continues to rise. Between 2014 and 2018, the rate increased fully 160%, 10.5% to 27.4%.i E-cigarettes remain the most commonly used tobacco product among youth surpassing cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah. The same can be said locally as vaping among high school seniors is 38.5% and smoking is 10.8% for high school seniors, which is an increase from 9.7% in 2017.i

This year the response to help reverse youth exposure to nicotine comes in two different forms. First, during Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week 8 Allegany County teen leaders from Reality Check and Belfast Central School join more than 300 other youth from around New York State, as well as Nebraska, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Delaware, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Idaho to take on Altria Group executives and shareholders for the fifth consecutive year. Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of tobacco and tobacco products.


In place of live action outside the Shareholder’s Meeting in Richmond, VA, as the youth have done in prior years, they’ve taken their action online, using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to raise their voices during Mobilize Against Tobacco Lies Week of Engagement. Their goal: To engage others, from members of their community to concerned citizens across the world, by drawing attention to the many years of tobacco industry lies and revealing the truth. Everyone is encouraged to friend, like, comment, and share posts.

Seven days of action, seven deadly lies

Going virtual wasn’t the only change event organizers made for 2020. As they pivoted their mindsets from travel arrangements and logistics of a live event to technology and inclusivity of a virtual one, they also extended the once three-day event to seven days.

From Monday, May 11 through Sunday, May 17, youth champions will focus their actions on seven deadly lies the industry has been telling the public for years, countered by facts and truths.



The Seven Deadly Lies are:

  • Nicotine is not addictive;
  • Tobacco marketing is aimed at adults;
  • Using tobacco makes you cool;
  • The tobacco industry is socially responsible;
  • Tobacco products are not harmful;
  • Flavors are not meant for kids; and
  • Menthol isn’t a flavor.


The teens, representing Reality Check from across New York State are mobilizing against the lies told by big tobacco companies, and are telling elected officials and people in their communities: Big Tobacco won’t stop marketing their deadly products, so we can’t stop the fight to share the facts about deadly tobacco products.

Some youth will take their fight right to the top – the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Billy Gifford of Altria Group. Yasmine Arabaty from Olean’s Reality Check was appointed by a shareholder to represent them and address corporate tobacco executives and ask a question on May 14 during the virtual shareholders’ meeting.  Yasmine asked about the difference between heating elements in the new heat not burn product IQOS and regular cigarettes. Yasmine was joined by 6 other youth who were able to ask the CEO a question.

“Philip Morris USA claims it doesn’t market to kids and doesn’t want them to start smoking,” said Jon Chaffee, coordinator of the Reality Check program of Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany. “If that’s the case, then why is the tobacco industry spending $9.6 billion per year to market their products[i] where kids are likely to see them?”

Studies show that kids who shop in stores with tobacco marketing, such as gas stations and convenience stores two or more times a week are 64% more likely to start smoking than their friends who don’t shop where tobacco is marketed.[ii]

“Despite what they say, Philip Morris USA spends billions marketing their deadly products right in front of us,” said Yasmine Arabaty, Olean Central  School freshman and Reality Check champion. “And this is only one of the lies they tell. Enough is enough, already!”

Here are more facts:

– According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, if current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million Americans younger than 18 who are alive today are projected to die prematurely from smoking-related disease.

– The average age of new smoker in New York State is 13 years old.[iii]

In preparation for the virtual demonstration on Thursday, May 14, Reality Check youth will spend the days leading up to the meeting, plus three days after, learning about tobacco control policies, how the tobacco industry contracts with retailers to get their products and messages in front of youth audiences, and how they can stand up, speak out and make a difference in the fight against Big Tobacco.

Virtual speakers and trainers include Dr. Phillip Gardiner, a public health activist, administrator, evaluator and researcher with the University of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, as well as leaders of Dover Youth 2 Youth of Dover, NH and Counter Tools of Chapel Hill, NC.

Secondly, New York State protects youth from a lifetime of nicotine addiction by passing laws that ends the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in New York State on May 18, as does the sale of all tobacco products in pharmacies. These are huge steps forward for New Yorkers health and wellbeing. Research shows that the flavors in e-cigarettes attract kids and the nicotine addicts them.iii Nearly 40% of high school seniors in New York State use e-cigarettes, also referred to as “vaping,” and 27% of all high school youth vape.iv Ending the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies reduces the number of stores that sell tobacco products in every community, an effective way of supporting tobacco users who want to quit and reducing youth exposure to tobacco marketing. Hopefully, these measures will help to get youth exposure to nicotine back on the right track and decreasing.

New York State does have a resource for young people who are trying to quit, which can be found by texting “DropTheVape” to 88709.  The community can also contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) at 585-593-1920 for local help quitting all tobacco products.

All young people who currently use any tobacco product is encouraged to quit, and youth who don’t currently use a tobacco product are encouraged to not start.

Remember Prevention Works!

i New York State Youth Tobacco Survey 2000-2018. Contact the Bureau of Chronic Disease Evaluation and Research, New York State Department of Health at (518) 473-0673 or send an e-mail to StatShots can be accessed online at:

ii Allegany County’s Risk and Protective Survey 2017-2019. Evalumetrics Inc. Feb. 2019,

iii  Flavored Tobacco Products Attract Kids: Brief Overview of Key Issues, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Dec. 2019,

iV NYS Dept. of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, StatShot Vol. 12, No. 4/Oct 2019, Trends in Electronic Cigarette Use Among High School Youth NYS-YTS 2014-2018:

Marijuana Extracts: THC Concentrates

Shatter, wax, honeycomb, oil, crumble, sap, budder, and pull-and-snap are some of the nicknames for cannabis extracts.  According to the 2019 Street Drugs Identification Guide, an anonymous undercover DEA informant told a news outlet, “There is no weed out there that possesses the punching power that wax does.  It’s like smoking 20 joints of the best grade of weed that you have into one hit of the wax.”

cannabis-concentrates-oilsA marijuana concentrate is also a highly potent THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrated mass that is most similar in appearance to either honey or butter, which is why it is referred to or known on the street as “honey oil” or “budder.”

Marijuana concentrates contain extraordinarily high THC levels that could range from 40 to 80%.  This form of marijuana can be up to four times stronger in THC content than high grade or top-shelf marijuana, which normally measures around 20% THC levels.

One form of abuse occurs orally by infusing marijuana concentrates in various food or drink products, although smoking remains the most popular form of ingestion by use of water or oil pipes.

A disturbing aspect of this emerging threat is the ingestion of concentrates via electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaporizers.  Many who abuse marijuana concentrates prefer the e-cigarette/vaporizer because it’s smokeless, odorless, and easy to hide or conceal.  The user takes a small amount of marijuana concentrate, referred to as “dab”, then heats the substance using the e-cigarette/vaporizer.  This produces vapors that ensure an instant “high” effect upon the user.  Using an e-cigarette/vaporizer to ingest marijuana concentrates is commonly known as “dabbing” or “vaping.”

Due to this highly concentrated form of marijuana, the effects upon the user may be more psychologically and physically intense than plant marijuana use.  To date, long-term effects of marijuana concentrate use are not yet fully known.  However, the effects of plant marijuana use include paranoia, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and increase in heart rate and blood pressure.  Plant marijuana users may also experience withdrawal and addiction problems.

A recent Operation Parent Webinar entitled “Marijuana: Parenting for Prevention in 2020” addressed the above issue with a PowerPoint presentation, including visuals of the various forms of marijuana listed above.  Contact Operation Parent for more information and other valuable resources.


Remember, Prevention Works!

More Resources

Talk It Over

Talk They Hear You App

Talk They Hear You Parents Resources

Talk They Hear You Partner Resources


Increase in Alcohol Sales: What Does it Mean for Youth?

In an online Newsweek article dated 4/1/20, a headline read, “U.S. Alcohol Sales Increase 55% in One Week Amid Coronavirus Pandemic”.  According to Jade Bremner‘s article, this information came from Nielsen market research for the week ending 3/21/20.  Favorites included hard liquor, such as tequila and gin, as well as cocktails.  Spirits sales increased by 75%, compared to the same dates in 2019, with beer purchases up by 66% and wine up by 42%.  One restaurant owner speculated that, with the stay-at-home orders, people have more time on their hands to cook special meals and would like to have a bottle of wine (assuming there’s more than one person at the table) with the meal.  Trends like virtual parties and happy hours have added to the “need” to purchase alcohol for home consumption.  This article is only one of many that reveals the reality of this current time. the Prevention field, the concern is how our youth are affected.  “Talk. They Hear You” is a substance use prevention theme of SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), and the “What You Can Do to Prevent Your Child From Drinking” parent resource makes it clear that there are certain factors that may increase the risk of a child’s alcohol use.  These include significant social transitions, such as graduating to middle or high school or getting a driver’s license; a history of social and emotional problems; depression and other serious emotional problems; a family history of alcoholism; and contact with peers involved in troubling activities.  At this time, many youth are experiencing feelings of loss and anxiety at the disruption of a daily school schedule and fear of the unknown.  Although many youth tend to be adaptable and resilient, cancellations of special events such as prom and graduation will be more difficult for some to overcome the disappointment than others.  They may be tempted to self-medicate out of boredom or as a coping mechanism.  Parents and other adults need to be sensitive to each child’s feelings and behaviors, and can be a positive role model by not giving alcohol to their children, whose brains and bodies are not fully developed until their mid-twenties, and showing youth that adults don’t need alcohol to cope with stressful situations.  If liquor is kept in the home, it should be locked in a cabinet, as a connection exists between alcohol use and accessibility.  Engaging in positive behaviors, such as physical and mental exercises, is a good way to bond with youth and find out their sense of reality during this challenging time.  Rewarding young people’s decision not to drink, monitoring their activities, setting clear rules about not using alcohol, and remembering that young people are influenced by the actions of their parents and other significant adults, are all strategies designed to keep our youth well-balanced and healthy.

Help is available locally for youth or adults who may have an issue with alcohol.  Contact the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at 585-593-6738.  For more information on prevention tips, including how to start the conversation with youth, go to New York’s Office of Addiction Services and Support’s Talk2Prevent.  Remember, prevention works, and everyone can make a difference in a child’s life!

More Resources:

Talk They Hear You App

Talk They Hear You Media

Talk They Hear You Parent Resources

Talk They Heard You Partner Resources

Drop Boxes Still Available: Safe Use, Safe Storage, Safe Disposal

We have endured many changes to our daily routine and plans for the weekend the past month. We have been wearing masks for the past couple of weeks and staying six feet away from each other, some stores that we would shop at have been closed, some have stayed open through appointment, restaurants we frequent only have take out or delivery services and we have not been able to sit and enjoy the ambiance of the noise. Two of my favorite places to eat in Allegany County are the Modern Diner and Texas Hot for this ambiance and experience the hustle and bustle of the diners; it takes me back in time every time I eat there, one thing that has not changed is the availability of the pill drop boxes.

SAMHSA’s website states one in four teenagers believe that prescription drugs can be used as a study aid and nearly one-third of parents say that they believe that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication can improve a child’s academic or testing performance, even if that child does not have ADHD. Parents, children, and prescribers must be educated on the impact of prescription drugs on the developing brain. Two-thirds of teens who misused pain relievers in the past year say they got them from family and friends, including home medicine cabinets, making it important to safeguard medicine in the home.

The other age group that have issues with prescription medication misuse and abuse is the elderly as they are more likely to be taking prescription medications. Individuals 65 years and older account for one-third of all medications prescribed, which is disproportionate to the percentage of the population that they represent, approximately 13% of the population in the United States. Furthermore, the number of people over 65 taking three or more prescription drugs increased from about one-third in 1988 to almost one-half in 2000. Drug misuse and abuse in the elderly is of special concern because it can cause cognitive and physical impairment— putting this population at greater risk for falls, motor vehicle accidents, and making them generally less able to care for their daily needs. Elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable to prescription drug misuse. Misuse is defined as non-adherence to prescription directions and can be either willful or accidental. On average, people over 65 take 14-18 prescription medications a year. That’s a lot to manage, especially when drugs need to be taken at different times of the day. Getting medications mixed up, missing doses, or taking too much or too little of a drug can cause serious health issues.

Take.It.To.The.Box.AC.LogoFor these two populations: Safe Use, Safe Storage, and Safe Disposal is important. Take It To The Box medication disposal boxes are still available throughout the county at different locations. There are ten locations throughout the county, located at:

  • Alfred Pharmacy
  • Allegany County Sheriff’s Office
  • Alfred State University Police, Theta Gamma House
  • Cuba Police Department
  • Fillmore Pharmacy
  • Friendship Pharmacy
  • Jones Memorial Hospital
  • Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar
  • Nicholson Pharmacy
  • Wellsville Police Department

During your Spring cleanup make sure to get rid of all unwanted or unused medications and properly dispose of them. Please do not flush medications down the toilet as studies have shown these medications find their way into our waterways and water supplies. Please do not throw medications away as people who know someone is taking medications can go through your trash to get the medications to abuse them. All medications that are dropped off are taken to an incinerating location that makes them inert.

While disposing of medications at a local drop box, please make sure to follow social distancing guidelines and follow current business procedures.

More Resources

Is Our Medicine Cabinet Safe

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Take It To The Box Flyer

National Drug Facts Week

DrugFactsWeek.2020This March 30th marks the 10th National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, first launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).  The purpose of this week is to counteract the myths that youth get from the Internet, television, movies, music, or friends, and replace those myths with scientific facts about drug abuse and addiction.  The more informed our youth are about substances and the negative impact those substances can have on their lives, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors.  “Shatter the Myths” is a free NIDA publication that parents can use to talk to their kids about substance abuse.  NIDA’s “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” report highlights five questions relevant to parenting skills that help prevent the initiation and progression of youth drug use.  The questions emphasize calm and clear communication about relationship issues, encouraging positive behaviors on a daily basis,   negotiating emotional parent/teen conflicts and working toward a solution, ability to set limits when behavior ranges from defiant or disrespectful to more serious problem behavior, and monitoring teens to assure that they are not spending too much time unsupervised.  Visit “Family Checkup: Positive Parenting Prevents Drug Abuse” for a copy of these questions and to view video clips that display positive and negative examples of the skills, as well as additional videos to help parents practice positive parenting skills.

According to the local Allegany County data from the 2019 Risk and Protective Factor Survey, 12th graders reported the following related to 30-day substance abuse.  70.8% had NOT used alcohol; 89.2% had NOT used traditional cigarettes; 61.5% had NOT used e-cigarettes; and 85.4% had NOT used marijuana.  We can all do our part by supporting our youth, getting the facts, and reminding them that NOT all youth are using substances, which is a popular myth among this population.

Remember, Prevention Works!

Allegany County Fall Pill Drop

Andover and Cuba– On Saturday, October 26 the Allegany County Fall Pill Drop was held in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Andover and Cuba were chosen for the fall locations.  The pill drop events allow residents the opportunity to get rid of unused, expired, or unwanted medications and provides the partners the opportunity to educate on the location of the pill drop boxes throughout Allegany County. In Cuba there is a drop box located at the Cuba Police Department, 15 Water Street. For Andover residents the closest pill drop boxes are located at: the Alfred Pharmacy, 36 North Main Street, Alfred State University Police, 10 Upper College Drive and at the Wellsville Police Department, 46 South Main Street and Jones Memorial Hospital, 191 North Main Street. The pill drop boxes are available all year long and for anyone to use.

This event was held in partnership with the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, the Andover and Cuba Police Departments, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC). Medications and Sharps waste was accepted from 10am to 2pm. Between the two locations, a total of 64 cars stopped and 106 pounds of medications and two boxes of Sharps water was turned in by community members. “The pill drops continue to be an asset to the community and the Cuba Police Department is proud to be associated with this great initiative,” stated Chief Dustin Burch of the Cube Police Department.

Each car that stopped received a Take It To The Box magnet, which lists all of the pill drop box locations throughout Allegany County. In addition to those previously mentioned, there are boxes at: the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office and Nicholson Pharmacy in Belmont, Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Pharmacy, and Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar.


The pill drop events and boxes are completely anonymous and confidential. Once the Sheriff’s Office has collected the medications, they are transported to an undisclosed location for incineration. Incinerating the medications makes them harmless to the environment. “The pill drop events allow us to educate the community on safe storage, safe use, and safe disposal of medications and where the drop boxes are located throughout county” states PPAC Coordinator Jonathan Chaffee. “We are also able to educate community members on disposal of Sharps waste, most community members do not know that they can dispose of Sharps waste at any transfer station in Allegany County for free.”

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Andover and Cuba community for utilizing the pill drops to safely dispose of their unwanted medications,” stated Undersheriff Kevin Monroe. “By collecting and destroying these substances, we greatly reduce the amount available to find their way onto our streets and into the hands of our youth.”

The agencies involved would like to send out a special “Thank You” to Andover and Cuba Fire Departments for giving us a space to hold the pill drop events. The next pill drop event will not be until April, 2020.  The Allegany County pill drops have been held since 2007, more information about the pill drop box locations can be found at

30th National Recovery Month

Recovery.Month.2019This September marks the 30th National Recovery Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  According to this year’s toolkit, one facet of this year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger,” emphasizes that the need to share resources and build networks across the country to support the many paths to recovery affirms the vital role that young people play in this effort.  An estimated 345,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 had a substance use disorder and a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year.  Young people (ages 12-25) who show passion, drive, innovative thinking, and a commitment to their communities represent a key population that can promote fresh, creative ideas in the prevention, treatment, and recovery from mental and substance use disorders.  Not only does this age group have the resilience to recover, but they are also building blocks for the future.  By providing a platform and voice for the nation’s emerging leaders, we show that investing in the future is just as important as honoring the past.

Free, confidential help is available 24 hours daily through SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD).  More information can be found at Recovery Month. Locally, counseling is available at the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., at 585-593-6738.


“Together, we can stop the stigma surrounding mental and substance use disorders, and help more people find the path to hope, health, and overall wellness!”

International Overdose Awareness Day


This August 31 marks the 19th International Overdose Awareness Day, started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. Sally Finn, a manager of the Salvation Army syringe program, saw the sorrow that families experienced when they lost their loved ones to a drug overdose. When she realized that the families were unable to express their grief due to the stigma of drug use, Sally arranged an event that would allow families to commemorate the memories of their departed loved ones. Six thousand ribbons were distributed that day, and the awareness day has been supported every year since then.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are several ways to make a difference on this global event day:
• Hold a candlelight vigil.
• Offer an educational program, such as one related to preventing opioid use, in partnership with a local organization.
• Provide a safe space for telling the stories of overdose victims.
• Offer a large canvas and washable paint so survivors can add a handprint in memory of their loved one.
• Display empty hats or shoes to represent the number of lives lost in the community.
• Use the NSC Community Action Kit  as a planning guide.
Become a Safety Ambassador by hosting a community fundraising event.
• Access the NSC Facebook page ( to get a purple frame for your Facebook profile image.
• Share the NCS Facebook Live virtual candlelight vigil on August 30.
• Add the name of a loved one who died of an opioid overdose to the “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones” map.
Purchase or create purple wristbands, pins, shirts, or other items to be worn on August 31.
• Research state and federal legislation that addresses opioid overdose prevention, and write to your representative.
• Support NSC (/forms/donate) efforts to end the opioid crisis by making a gift in honor of a loved one.


In Allegany County the agency that deals with preventing opioid use is the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.(ACASA). ACASA handles opioid use through education programs that the Prevention staff present in the local schools to educate our young people. ACASA offers treatment programs through the clinic to help the community with opioid use.


ACASA, Partners for Prevention in Allegany County(PPAC) and the Sheriff’s Office offers and promotes the Take It To the Box program, which gives community members places to dispose of their unwanted or unused medications. The Take It To the Box locations are throughout Allegany County at: Alfred Pharmacy, Alfred State’s University Police(Theta Gamma House), the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, Cuba Police Department, Fillmore Pharmacy, Friendship Pharmacy, Jones Memorial Hospital, Jones Memorial Medical Practice in Bolivar, Nicholson Pharmacy, and the Wellsville Police Department.
Twice a year these three agencies also participate in the Drug Enforcement Agency’s(DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Days, offering two more locations in the community to drop off medications. Take It To the Box and the biannual pill drops have had over a million dollars in street value of medications turned in by the community.

For more information on ACASA’s Prevention Department and Clinic visit Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. For more information on PPAC and the Take It To the Box program visit PPAC Central.

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

2018_NCADD_Alcohol_Awareness_Month_Logo2-678x4602This April marks the 33rd Annual Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) since 1987.  This year’s theme is: “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow”.

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

Fostering healthy and responsible attitudes, talking openly and honestly, encouraging supportive relationships, and showing children that their opinions and decisions matter, are all ways to help prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research shows that drinking, binge drinking, and extreme binge drinking by women are all increasing.  While alcohol misuse by anyone presents serious public health concerns, women who drink have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men.  Women who regularly misuse alcohol are more likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis, a serious liver-related acute illness, than men who drink the same amount of alcohol.  This pattern of drinking can also lead to cirrhosis of the liver, which refers to liver scarring and shrinking.

While long-term alcohol misuse is a leading cause of heart disease, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men, even though they may consume less alcohol over their lifetime than men.

Research suggests that alcohol misuse produces brain damage more quickly in women than in men.  Also, because alcohol disrupts brain development during adolescence, teen girls who drink may be more vulnerable to brain damage than teen boys who drink.  Women may be more susceptible than men to alcohol-related blackouts, which are periods of memory loss during intoxication without loss of consciousness.

Women who consume a drink per day have a five to nine percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than those who do not drink.  Studies have shown that the risk increases for every additional drink they have per day.

There is no safe amount of alcohol for a woman to drink during pregnancy.  Drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk for pre-term labor and puts her fetus at risk for physical, cognitive, or behavioral problems that can last a lifetime.

According to a New York State survey, fifty-two percent of students in grades 7-12 reported that their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking.  Let’s help keep kids safe from alcohol and other drugs by starting the conversation.  For tips on how to do this, log onto  For additional information and resources, visit PPAC Central.  Let this be your call to action, and remember, PREVENTION WORKS!