Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prescription Drug Abuse Decreasing

Rate of Prescription Drug Abuse Among Young Adults
Holds Steady at 5 Percent by PFH Prevention Team

A national survey released in September finds 5.3 percent of young adults used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past month, similar to rates in the previous two years. The survey found rates of teen drinking, including binge drinking, in the past month were lower last year com-pared with 2002 and 2009.

Prescription drug abuse rates among adults ages 18 to 25 was significantly lower last year than in 2009, when 6.4 percent of young adults used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The report was released in conjunction with the 24th annual National Recovery Month.
SAMHSA found 11.2 percent of Americans drove under the influence of alcohol at least once last year, compared with 11.1 percent in 2011 and 14.2 percent in 2002. Approximately 9 percent of the population—23.9 million Americans—12 years and older used illicit drugs in the previous month.
Prescription Drug Abuse in the U.S.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug, the survey found, with 7.3 percent of Americans saying they are current users. The number of people ages 12 and older who said they used heroin in the past year increased from 373,000 in 2007, to 669,000 in 2012.

“These findings show that while we have made progress in preventing some aspects of substance abuse we must redouble our efforts to reduce and eliminate all forms of it throughout our nation,” SAM-HSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “These statistics represent real people, families and communities dealing with the devastating consequences of abuse and addiction. We must strive to prevent further abuse and provide the hope of treatment and recovery to all people needing help.”   

Written By: Tina Stevens and the Join Together Staff
Full Link:Here

Saturday, October 12, 2013

"Be Here Now"

For young people in recovery, music can act as a bridge to sobriety and provide an outlet for healthy recreation. Recently on a visit to Old Friends Guitar Shop in Wentzville, MO, a young man in our Troy Day Treatment Program was given the opportunity to play the guitar of his dreams. As he began to strum the perfectly tuned antique, acoustic twelve string, a familiar light of self assured contentment settled in. With teens struggling from substance abuse, one of the biggest enemies to sobriety is the foe of being discontent. But at this moment, the young man you see in the photo was anything but bored. He was in the moment entirely. Not in the past, not in the future, but fully in the present. The virtue of living in the moment was no better expressed than by Grammy award winning artist Ray LaMontagne, in his song, "Be Here Now":

"Don't let your mind get weary and confused
  Your will be still, don't try
  Don't let your heart get heavy child

   Inside you there's a strength that lies...."

When redirecting our minds through awareness, uncertainties become irrelevant and strength is found. Allowing the mind to rest reaffirms the sense of control, autonomy, and escape that so many teens end up struggling to achieve through high risk behaviors. Such is the plight of substance abuse in adolescence. But the great gift of music not only provides a life skill that teaches discipline and commitment. But it's also a place where the mind can be free to "Be Here Now".

Written by: Michelle Boonaerts 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Youth Mental Health First Aid
There is no one who can claim to have NOT been affected in some way by a mental health concern.  All of us at one point in our lives will be touched in some way by a mental health “issue”.  I am not talking about a crisis or a diagnosis….it may simply be a serious event that creates in our life or the life of someone we know, a mental health concern. 

So what is a Mental Health Concern? 

They can happen daily, all around us, from the person struggling with grief (which looks different to everyone) or a true mental health disorder.  Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is designed to help everyone be more aware.  In the MHFA class we learn that MHFA is like “regular” first aid for the mind.  Like “regular” first aid, no one is at fault, no is blamed – we just do what we can to manage the situation while waiting for professional help.  This is exactly what Mental Health first aid teaches as it relates to concerns around – our mental health!

Preferred Family Healthcare has several trainers around Missouri who can facilitate an 8 hour certification class in Youth MHFA as well as an hour long “taste of” class.  This class is designed to educate people about what a mental health concern looks like in a youth, and the difference between “normal” adolescence and a concern.  The course includes ways to recognize risk, protective factors and concrete steps to take when a mental health concern is identified.  The beauty of this course is that it does not ask anyone to diagnose and treat; but instead, to take 5 simple steps to apply first aid.

For more information check out our website at, to schedule a class in the St. Louis Region contact me – Jean Sokora or Brigid Woodhead - 

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Healing Garden

Making the Community a Little Brighter  

Community Garden

Recovery is a process. Changes are being made from the inside out. There are many challenges along the way: addressing relationships, finding jobs, learning social skills, and returning to plans for education and future planning. But there are also challenges for learning how to take care of basic essential needs.
Hygiene. Healthy Eating. Exercise. Spirituality and Mental Healthcare.

This summer, clients in our adult program in Kirksville were able to learn new ways to fill these needs by having something external to care for, a community garden.

Clients were able to add a few personal touches from scrap materials
After seeking donations from several organizations in the area, we were finding quite a challenge to start a garden with such minimal resources, and no one willing to help donate to the cause! However, that did not stop us! Our ART-C coordinators and staff put our brains together to plan out a garden area that would be large enough to grow both annual and perennial plants, as well as display inspirational artwork by our clients. We sketched out, brainstormed, researched and reached out to experts who were able to help us with soil terracing and eventually our garden was built and ready to plant!

Our clients were able to learn about inexpensive plants they can cultivate to help with ailments such as sour stomachs and various aches and pains, and grew herbs to help alleviate these symptoms. They also learned how to make herb infused waters which they loved!

In the years to come, we hope to expand the garden, adding new things and hopefully more self-sustaining plants which will flower and produce year after year.

This project is a reminder that we are never done growing, and that we need to continue to nurture and care for ourselves in order to recover. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

3 Tips on How to Keep Your Teen out of Trouble this Summer

Preparing for Summer with Teens

By: Amity Chandler, former DFCC: Executive Director

With summer vacation in full swing for students, the Prevention Team at Preferred Family Healthcare would like to take a moment to share some insights that we've recently read from Amity Chandler, former Executive Director with Drug Free Charlotte County in Florida. Here are Amity's tips to navigate summer with your teens

Tip 1: Throw out the left-over liquor bottles that are sitting around from the holiday parties 

Many Bottles Of Alcohol Royalty Free Stock Photography - Image: 7501087Your teens were not hatched yesterday. If they're going to experiment, it will be with the stuff your least likely to look at or touch. This also means old prescriptions and the cigarettes you might have quit a month ago. Also consider most Florida teens say when they drink they do so at another friend's home. There is a parent somewhere that hasn't gotten the memo... it's time for us to start talking to the parents of our teens friends and asking direct questions, such as, does my teen have access to alcohol in your home? Worst - case scenario is you'll embarrass your teen. Let's just say it won't be the first or last time.

Tip 2: A summer job is not a barrier to experimentation 

In fact, it can be a gateway. Summer jobs are great for teaching responsibility, earning money and other life lessons. Summer jobs can also result in relationships between your teen and older, legal drinking-age individuals. Plan on talking to your teen about work relationships, new friends and your expectations of them while they are working for the summer, including curfews and work hours.

Tip 3: Prepare for boredom

Don't fall victim to the "I'm bored" routine. Before you know it, they'll be calling you on the phone while your at work asking to go to place A, with friend B, whom you've actually never met, but is a friend of friend C, whom you know quite well. Don't get me wrong, I believe most teens are inherently honest and good, but I've noticed they can smell weakness. Insist on a 24-hour notice for plans of activity outside the home. If friend B is really that important to your teen, they'll make plans within your guidelines.

Drug Trends: Desmethyl Fentanyl

There's a new illegally produced synthetic drug floating around that can cause serious harm if you come into contact with it. Desmethyl Fentanyl is a chemically modified derivative of the powerful prescription painkiller Fentanyl - reportedly "40 times more potent than heroin and 80 times stronger than morphine."
Four Montreal, Canada cops were made ill by handling some amount seized even while taking safety precautions like wearing a masks and gloves.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates on drugs and mental health information.

To find out more important information from the Prevention Team, click here for the full Newsletter

Friday, July 5, 2013

Achieving Recovery Through Creativity

  Art is used in addiction recovery                services across the country and around the world because addiction is a global problem. Art prevails where words fail in expressing the dark world of addiction and triumphs in overcoming the stigma associated with this disease.

In a booklet published by the Innovators Program at John Hopkins University, the executive board explains that, “Where science analyzes and explains addiction with images of data displayed in pie charts and bar graphs, art reveals the gangled complexity of addiction with images of paint and other materials to enhance our understanding of this treatable, chronic illness.”

ARTC - Achieving Recovery Through Creativity (Wentzville) 
Art's importance to the individual in the recovery process cannot be understated and its role in raising awareness to communities is invaluable. In fact, the Innovators Program also says that "the growing consensus among substance abuse professionals confirms that addiction art complements addiction science and is a 'remarkable contribution to the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment.'"
ARTC - Achieving Recovery Through Creativity (St. Louis)
The art created by the consumers of Preferred Family Healthcare in the “Achieving Recovery Through Creativity”, or ARTC, provides a creative opportunity to engage the community in the mission to assist others in achieving their potential. Through anecdotal observation and testimonial based evidence we can see that the ARTC program is making a profound impact.

$20 will fund supplies for a person working on recovery through the ARTC program for an entire month. Your gift will help change lives. To see more art and what $20 can create, visit our Facebook or Pinterest page. Click here to donate today. 

Don't miss our ARTC exhibit presented at the Fraser Leonard Gallery!
Click here for more information.

ARTC Outcomes Surveys July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012
1657 surveys completed over past two years
67% youth (18 and under)
33% adult (19 and over)
Introduced me to new activities that I enjoy.
Helped me to express my thoughts and feelings.
Gave me an opportunity to learn activities I can do instead of using drugs and or drinking.
Gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Helped me improve my ability to work with others.
Helped me discover new skills I can use in the future at school or work.
Helped me feel better about myself.
89%$20 will fund supplies for a person working on recovery to be involved in the ARTC program for one month. Your gift will help change lives, to learn more watch, Face of Recovery.

Works Cited

Santora, Patricia B., Dr, Margaret R. Dowell, Dr, and Jack E. Henningway, Dr. "Guidelines for Organizing Art Exhibitions on Addiction and Recovery." The John Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2008. Web. 3 July 2013. <>.

"Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care." Drug Abuse Is a Global Problem.National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2008. Web. 03 July 2013. <>.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Praise for "Clean"

Drug Addiction Information With Scattered Pills Royalty Free Stock Photos - Image: 11784848I have never written a review on a book before, however I want to shout from the rooftop’s you must read this book,  Clean by David Sheff.  Reading this book will give you one of those ah-ha experiences of life where all the little pieces and opinions you have collected in your head about addiction will be brought into sharp shocking focus as David provides passionate objective investigative style understanding of a war within our country where 250,000 Americans die every year.  Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking.
Red Drug Addiction Royalty Free Stock Photos - Image: 9847058Clean offers clear, cogent counsel for parents and others who want to prevent drug problems and for addicts and their loved ones no matter what stage of the illness they’re in. But it is also a book for all of us — a powerful rethinking of the greatest public health challenge of our time.

Article written by: Paul Lambi, Director of Organizational Advancement at Preferred Family Healthcare

Friday, April 26, 2013

Alcohols Depiction In Movies

Peer pressure being common among young people and their friends, but how do movies influence a young persons use of alcohol?

Studies show that not only are characters that use drugs and alcohol portrayed as being attractive but also as romantic, aggressive, and hold a higher status in society than their non-drinking counterparts. Movies and television show alike glamorize the use of alcohol. That influence is subconsciously making young people increase their use of these substances. In a study done by The Medical Council on Alcohol and ESBRA, young people who viewed a movie where alcohol was present led to a higher overall alcohol consumption rate than those which depicted no alcohol use, “Results were straightforward and substantial: those in the condition with alcohol portrayal in movie and commercials drank on average 1.5 glasses more than those in the condition with no alcohol portrayal, within a period of 1 hour” (OxfordJournals). These studies found a direct link between the mass media and drinking levels of young people.


Other research studied different characteristics and compared and contrasted how drinkers and non-drinkers analyzed those characteristics. As you can see overall drinkers believed characters who used alcohol were more aggressive, attractive, friendlier, had higher economic status and had more romantic activity. All characteristics that young people wish to exude. This study also found that drinkers in movies are more attractive, which is obviously not a accurate interpretation of realty (Journal of Appplied Social Psychology).

The point of these studies was to show that the movies that many young people who watch anything from James Bond movies to 101 Dalmatians are shown alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. The saturation, and in many cases positive depiction, in movies may show young people that it is okay to drink.

Peer pressure is a common issue among young people, but it can be combated. Please read our article discussing ways in which to avoid peer pressure.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for daily updates about drug and mental health content.

-Maxwell Law

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Help for Today. Hope For Tomorrow

For the last 27 years, April has been Alcohol Awareness Month. Started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, AAM was founded to increase the public's awareness of alcohol, it's effect's, the stigma behind it, and people that suffer from alcohol abuse. Because alcoholism is treatable, NCADD has been working to help educate people, especially family members of those suffering from the disease, and end the stigmas surrounding alcohol abuse.

The last drop.

Because of the importance of AAM, we would like to link you to our most well received blog entry featuring the dangers of drinking.

If you or a family member is suffering from alcoholism or you suspect alcohol abuse please contact us for assistance. We offer professional screenings in our facilities from counselors and we can help determine the level of treatment required for you to become successful.

For more information please visit our website and to contact one of our counselors closest to you please see our locations page.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Social Profit Agencies Vital to Economy: Donate Today

Did you know that social profit agencies are a vital part of our economy? 

According to new studiessocial profit agencies not only do good for their respective communities, but they also provide many jobs and economic activity. According to Learning To Give, 1.2 million organizations are registered with the IRS as nonprofit organizations and those organizations in America represent 6.2% of the nation's economy.

Social profit agencies exist for a few purposes. We are here not to make money to please stockholders, but to help people for the greater good. Organizations like us exist to provide people with a service they may not normally be able to receive, to promote initiatives that may otherwise not be noticed by the public due to funding or not be able to garner enough support, and creating a community atmosphere.

Did you know? (from

The study also found that nonprofits:
  • Account for 4.5 percent of gross domestic product in 15 countries studied if both paid work and volunteer time are counted.
  • Received more of their revenue from fees for services (43 percent) than from governments (32 percent) and private donations (23 percent).
  • Account for more than 11 percent of the total work force in two countries, Belgium and Israel.
  • Contributed the greatest share of economic activity in Canada and Israel.

How can you make a difference? 

By placing a donation with Preferred Family Healthcare there are a number of opportunities that will be enhanced by your donation. Your donation could aid in the materials and instruction for those that participate in the A.R.T.C program, which provides substance-abusing adolescents the opportunity to tap into creative talents and convey emotions through the arts. There are a number of areas you donation could aid in the assistance of those in need. The potential is endless and we appreciate your assistance in helping us achieve the goals of Preferred Family Healthcare.

Make your donation today!

-Maxwell Law

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Intensive In-home Services

Preferred Family Healthcare offers a very needed service called Intensive In-home Services (IIS). IIS are short-term crisis intervention services that occur within your very own home. Many people may chose this option when their families are at risk with the possibility of their children receiving out-of-home placement. IIS allows those families to remain together, supporting each other through a crisis situation. This program is unique in that it offers intervention and other services in a very flexible and adaptive way. 
Our services include:
  • Resolving child abuse/neglect
  • Promoting child and family safety
  • Parenting education
  • Child development training
  • Support to individual, families and couples
  • Sexual abuse, domestic violence, and substance abuse prevention education
  • Communication and negotiation skills
  • Home maintenance/housekeeping skills
  • Developing linkages with community resources
  • Job readiness skills
  • Other services that meet the specific needs of the family.

In our program, through referral, we focus our services to assist those families by responding immediately to a crisis, focusing on families' strengths, having 24 hour accessibility to specialists, and the knowledge to meet the needs of the family.

Sad and scared

If a referral is appropriate, then the family will be assigned to a specific specialist. The services provided are up to 20 hours per week and range from 4-6 weeks in length. In addition, IIS provides follow-up aftercare services for up to 90 days. IIS believes the best safety net for a child is parent(s) who are caring and capable, rather than the child being placed outside the home. Lastly, IIS offers counseling, education, listening, modeling, problem solving, child management, communication and negotiation skills, use of community resources, housekeeping skills, and a reasonable alternative to out-of-home placement.

To learn more about other services, please feel free to contact us today.

-Maxwell Law

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reel Life…Reel Hope

In our increasingly digital age, relevancy is often measured in terms of how many views you have on YouTube. As it is, the would-be virtue of viral video is often lost to the finicky fame of popularity, kitsch, niche, and absurdity. If Palahniuk is right, we must teach our youth to positively impact their culture by modeling “the kind of world they demand to live in”. We feel strongly that this can be done through the conduit of video.

“The first step - especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money - the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.” -Chuck Palahniuk

Please welcome A.R.T.C. video, our recently launched and primarily youth directed film project. Using YouTube as a vehicle for change our young people are empowered to share messages of HOPE and RECOVERY. Videos are reflective of the strengths, creativity, and special interest of the Youth Director. Participants are encouraged to reflect truth and a message of change that will impact their community. Current videos have addressed; alcohol related violence, trans-generational addiction, city life, drug overdose, and driving while under the influence. Take a moment to view an example where this young man discusses the importance of keeping our dreams within reach and facing our fears.

Please encourage our youth. Support their talents and desire for change. LIKE & SHARE! You can view more videos on our YouTube page. 

By Michelle Boonaerts 

About the author: Michelle is the A.R.T.C. Regional Coordinator for Preferred Family Healthcare's Eastern Region. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Painkiller Plague

pills out of bottlePainkiller addiction is an ever present problem in the US. With Americans using pills to get rid of their pains, the unforeseen problem of addiction often occurs with users. With pill overdoses killing around 15,000 the FDA would like to see companies making safer drugs. 

 According to, the FDA is considering a proposal to restrict access to those dangerous prescription painkillers and also want to see companies reformulate drugs. The FDA wants to see the new formulations cause less of a high feeling, be harder to crush, and more testing to fully see the drugs effects.

The FDA needs to follow through with these possible regulations because painkiller abuse cases have soared in the last few years. WebMD has looked into the subject saying, “Experts don't know exactly how many people are addicted to prescription drugs today, but all agree it's on the rise. 'It's partly an issue of availability,' says Robert Jamison, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Vastly more people have access to these medicines today than 15 or 20 years ago”. They also mention how doctors are currently more open to giving out the opiates to those who complain of pain.

Another problem associated with the out-flux of painkillers is how easy it is for teens and even children to get their hands on the potent drugs. With the drugs being overly prescribed some bottles may end up collecting dust in medicine cabinets, within easy reach of children and teens. They can take the pills without your knowledge or even sell them.
addicted 2
Abuse of painkillers is ever prevalent in the U.S.
The new generation of pills -- if developed -- are still dangerously addictive. That’s why the doctor says the solution has to be more than yet another pill, albeit one that’s harder to abuse said Philadelphia Doctor, Aviva Fohrer.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Serving Since 1979

We understand how hard it can be when a family member needs help. We also understand how much care professionals take when making a referral. That's why, for over 30 years, both families and professionals throughout the midwest have trusted Preferred Family Healthcare.

Learn more about our services at

Monday, January 28, 2013

No Holds Barred Healing

As a counselor, I have the opportunity to help adolescent consumers explore and touch upon a variety of issues or ‘human interest’ topics during their treatment. As the A.R.T.C. Specialist  of the Franklin County site, one of the most rewarding parts of my job is using the arts—music, photography, videography, creative writing, blogging, painting, and on and on—to help these consumers express their emotions, usually in very exciting and creatively appropriate ways. Even consumers that often have difficulty expressing or identifying their emotions enjoy using the arts, which grants them the freedom to say what they want. When a consumer has that ‘lightbulb’ moment where they can use colors, sounds, pictures, or words to convey what they are feeling or thinking, it is an awe-inspiring thing to witness.

We live in a scary and confusing world sometimes. Around the world there is heartbreak and suffering every day. The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook gave many people a reason to take to social media to discuss the “whys and hows” of the situation. Consumers were definitely not unaffected by this event.  Many addressed their own opinions and thoughts on this tragedy, discussing their shock and grief at the evil that exists in this world, and even more expressed underlying fears that it could happen to them at their own little schools (a hard conversation to have, regardless of age or years of experience). Fortunately, these young people were able to turn to art when words failed them as so much of what they face and have experienced is not adequately expressed in average everyday language. Whether they were expressing anger, confusion, sadness, or fear, many consumers used their creations to identify the struggle to understand ‘why’.

Most consumers I work with have a fascination with painting. As I always say, ‘art is definitely messy’ and I think they enjoy that no-holds barred type of project-making. Recently, we have used a lot of splatter painting, texture painting, or even finger painting to express emotions. When consumers engage in this project, we usually spend a lot of time addressing what their emotions are like to them, using colors to describe their feelings, and assigning colors to particular emotions. As they splatterpaint onto a canvas, or use fingers to swirl the paint around, we address which feelings they are representing with each particular color, and why they made that color choice.  Also, since some of my consumers have sensory issues, the finger-painting was therapeutic for them. We also experimented at using found objects as ‘stamps’ for their paintings, such as sponges, forks, or even pieces of bread (a very interesting session, to say the least!). If we give consumers the opportunity to use art as an outlet, perhaps they can turn to these appropriate coping skills when they experience these feelings, or would be more apt to correctly identify their emotions rather than struggle with these.   

My consumers continue to amaze me with their ability to cope and their resiliency. They give me hope that the world can still be seen as a positive and hopeful place, and that they can take these coping skills with them into the future, and teach others as well. 

by Megan Smith

About the author: Megan Smith serves as the A.R.T.C. Specialist in our Franklin County A.R.T.C. program, providing youth experiencing high risk situations with creative supportive services.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It’s Only Beer...

Burger King was one of the first fast food chains to add beer to its menu when it opened up three “WhopperBars” in 2009. Starbucks followed suit and added beer and wine to their menus in Washington and Oregon in 2010 and now has plans to add alcohol to menus in three other states. Sonic is joining in with plans to offer beer and wine in two locations to their customers who dine on the patio or inside the restaurant.

 In a time when coalitions and groups are fighting alcohol ads in venues such as the Super Bowl and fighting against alcohol being advertised to youth; when the message that needs to be spread should be that alcohol is not needed to enjoy a night out, the restaurant industry, by stating they need to sell alcohol to draw the under 30 crowd, is declaring the opposite.

Youth are being inundated with alcohol ads through television, radio, on-line sites, and print media. From alcopops making news headlines, to Facebook advertising, it’s hard for our youth not to hear about alcohol. Our society has moved from “having a drink with dinner” or “a beer with friends” to a “how much alcohol can be consumed in an hour” mentality. Unfortunately, some adults still think “it’s only beer”. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of underage drinking and how we can prevent it.

Studies have shown that parents are a huge influence on their teen’s behavior. James C. Fell, a public health researcher at the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, responded to questions on about why the legal age should remain 21. One of his statements was that “when teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink, they do it more and more often when they are not with their parents. When parents have concrete, enforced rules about alcohol, young people binge drink less”. See the full conversation at

By Tina Stevens

About the author: Tina Stevens is a Prevention Secretary with Preferred Family Healthcare. Tina attends fairs and events to distribute information about ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs) to bring awareness to communities.