Wednesday, October 5, 2011

James Brown tells it like is was

Of all the books I have read about addiction over the years two of the books that impressed me the most and I am most grateful for are Los Angeles Diaries and This River by James Brown. I highly recommend the books and James Brown's work for a drug free America

Social Media Sites May Reveal Information About Problem Drinking Among College Students

ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2011) — Social media websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, may reveal information that could identify underage college students who may be at risk for problem drinking, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

For more information click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

GCASA closes on Knights of Columbus building in Albion

Yesterday, October 3, 2011 GCASA became the official owner of the Knights of Columbus building at 249 East Avenue in Albion, NY which will be the home of GCASA's Orleans County treatment and prevention services.

The remodeling will begin in late November or early December 2011 with a hoped for completion by June 1, 2012.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ralph Wilson Stadium goes smoke free

From the Smoke Free NOW Community Newsletter, September, 2011.

Click on image to enlarge for easier reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dr. Charles King discusses prescription drug abuse

This interview occurred on September 24, 2008

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's going on at Genesee County Mental Health Clinic

Update from MICA/Trauma task force meeting minutes of 08/26/11

Gen. Co. Mental Health Services: Jeff Hyde said that the addition of 2 nurse practitioners has allowed their clinic to see folks much sooner.

Domestic Violence group has started. Joyce Davis and Andrew Loeb screen potential participants and run the groups which started last Tuesday.  Cost is $20.00 a session. At present, mostly males are participating. Individuals must complete Domestic Violence Groups before they go on to anger management group (run by Mark Burgess).

Mental Health is looking to hire one more therapist.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

GCASA's budget down slightly for 2012 from 2011 at $4.3 million as compared to 4.5 million

Every year for the last several years GCASA, in spite of increasing productivity and good outcomes has experience a slow decline in support from the counties of Genesee, Orleans, United Way, health insurance reimbursement, Stop DWI funds, etc.

In 2012, the total agency budget is forecast to be $4,333,888.00 down from $4,502,363.00 in 2011, a change of 3.7%.

In 2010 GCASA's budget was $4,374,581, in 2009 $4,456,462.00 and in 2008

So GCASA's budget has stabilized around $4.4 million for the last 4 years. This is good agency performance in times of shrinking public and non-profit dollars. GCASA's stability is due to excellent management and exemplary productivity and performance by staff.

GCASA's outcomes and customer satisfaction exceed benchmarks with other similar agencies in New York State.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Medical Director Succession planning

As most of you are already aware Dr King has taken a position with a medical group in Toronto Canada. He and his family will be re-locating to Toronto in October and his last official day of work will be September 28th, 2011. He will remain on staff through November 1st, 2011, closing with his patients and consulting with the new medical director. Dr King has been a stable force behind the development of the Opiate treatment services of GCASA. His guidance and leadership has helped make GCASA one of the premier programs in the region. He has touched the lives of hundreds of patients and their families over his six years with GCASA. His commitment to working with addicted patients and their families was evident in all of his actions as medical director. He will be sorely missed by everyone.

Dr. Credi, a long term resident of Batavia will be replacing Dr king as the medical director of GCASA. Dr Credi is a general surgeon with a strong commitment to family, has close community ties, and has an avid interest in sports and film making. His empathic, ethical style of practicing medicine will lend itself to working with addicted patients. We are thankful for his willingness to accept the position of medical director at GCASA. Dr. Baker, who has more than 25 years in addiction medicine has offered to work as a consultant during the transition, as Dr Credi works on his suboxone certification. Dr. Baker originally had a long term family medicine practice in Leroy New York. Since his retirement from his family practice, he has worked as the medical director of Hope Haven. Dr. Baker’s knowledge of addiction and his collaborative team approach will be an asset to GCACA during this time of transition.

John Bennett
Director of Treatment and Residential Services
Genesee/Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc.
430 East Main Street
Batavia, New York 14020

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GCASA's 2 programs, S.U.P.A. and Senior Spice join together for program to support our troops

The members of S.U.P.A.(Students United For Postive Action) and Senior Spice, in a joint venture, will be assembling and mailing to our troops overseas Christmas/ Chanukah care packages by November 9, 2011.

Here is where you come in…..we need a name…” Operation…………..”? C’mon think of a good name and if you’re the winner….a $25 gift certificate and, more importantly, the thanks of a GI. Send your suggestions to Richard Lawrence at the address below by 09/28/11, Wednesday, by 5:00 PM.

We also will accept financial contributions up to November 8, 2011 for items for the care packages. Make your check out to GCASA Senior Spice Care Packages.

Thanks for your ideas for a name and contributions for this project.

Dick Lawrence, RN
Senior Spice Coordinator
430 East Main Street
Batavia, NY 14020
Phone 585-815-1865
Fax 585-343-9622
email :

Good bye open house for Dr. Charles King at GCASA on Monday, 09/26/11, 4:00-5:30 PM

Editor's note: Dr. King began working at GCASA as Medical Director on November 1, 2005. He is beloved and highly esteemed by staff and patients alike.

GCASA Cares resumes publishing with its Fall, 2011 season beginning today.

Today we will be resuming daily articles on GCASA Cares.

We miss Dan Crofts who left GCASA on August 3, 2011 and who had  been writing for GCASA Cares.

I will be taking over as the primary blogger as I was before Dan took on the duty. Hopefully, I will be joined by other bloggers who will contribute and perhaps take over when I retire in December.

So stay tuned for your daily dose of GCASA Cares.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good-Bye Post

As today is my last day working at GCASA, I wanted to take this opportunity to post one last time. I would like to extend a sincere thank-you to GCASA Executive Director David Markham, who graciously invited me to contribute to the blog almost a year ago.

Additionally, I am grateful for the wide range of experience I have gained working for this organization. GCASA's Prevention team consists of truly wonderful people who are passionate about and excellent at what they do. Any community would be lucky to have such a crew in their midst.

Genesee County Drug Free Communities Coalition and Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coaltion are two of what I have come to consider the "best-kept secrets" of GCASA. All communities should have the advantage of a coalition that engages the talents, passions and resources of all community sectors, as these do.

I will close with at "shout-out" to my co-worker and friend, Tom Talbot, who is one of the many well-rounded people working here. Tom is an avid reader and has a blog called "Tom's Book Pages," where he reviews his latest reads and offers suggestions for your own reading pleasure. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Response to a reflection on Amy Winehouse

British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse died four days ago at the age of 27. She had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for some time. The star's troubles were well-known to the public, due to the the volume of media and paparazzi coverage.

The author of an opinion piece recently published on Yahoo! News presented a thought-provoking question -- a question, in fact, that was also the title of the piece: "Remembering Amy Winehouse: Will addiction overshadow talent?"

Well, will it?

I can't say that I know very much about Amy Winehouse, having never listened to her music. Still, I can appreciate the question. To me, it opens up an even wider field of inquiry -- one that deals with general societal attitudes and norms regarding drug and alcohol addictions.

Few of us would seriously deny that there is a stigma toward substance abuse in our society. And, of course, their should be; but I would venture to say that equally few of us tend to recognize the concurrent stigma toward substance abusers.

It's not my intention to excuse people who abuse drugs and alcohol. One must make the choice to start using (except, perhaps, in the cases of infants who are born with the consequences of their parents' addictions), and people must want to change their lives. At the same time, we have to acknowledge that while this is certainly possible, it's not anywhere near as simple as we would have it.

Dr. Gabor Maté, in his book "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction," writes about Dr. William Stewart Halsted, a major pioneer of modern surgery. Halsted's time predates the War on Drugs, which took off in the early part of the 20th century. Halsted, according to Maté, "was an opiate addict for over forty years." During those forty years, "he did stellar and innovative work at Johns Hopkins University, where he was one of the four founding physicians."

Please don't misunderstand me: Neither I nor Dr. Maté are suggesting that Dr. Halsted was able to do such great work because of his addiction. That's not the point. Rather, this example shows that drug addicts can make meaningful contributions to society if they are not shunned, stigmatized and maligned.

What I wonder is this: How many people knew about Dr. Halsted's addiction? Surely it could not have been the subject of media frenzy. Contrast this with Amy Winehouse and others, whose forays into substance abuse and/or struggles with addiction are clearly in the public eye, and whose addictions come to define who they are. Let's face it: Once addictions become publicized, people don't forget. Whatever contributions stars make to the entertainment industry (or elsewhere, for that matter), it seems they are doomed to be the butt of crude humor, criticism, and derogatory slurs ("junkie," "drunk," etc).

We don't want to hold or encourage positive or lax attitudes toward substance abuse, and I do hope that Winehouse's unfortunate death serves as a warning to young people about the very real dangers of drugs and alcohol. At the same time, we shouldn't foster attitudes that label those who struggle with addictions unredeemably evil and/or "messed up." This can only exacerbate and keep them trapped in the troublesome behaviors into which they have fallen.

Hard to imagine anything more counterproductive than that, isn't it?

To read the Yahoo! News opinion piece, click here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smoke Free NOW Coordinator scores victory at Batavia City Council meeting

This picture was taken by Nick Serrata and published in The Daily News around 8:41 this morning. It accompanies Joanne Beck's article, "Council bans smoking in city parks."

Our own Kevin Keenan presented a compelling argument for a smoking ban in all city parks at last night's City Council meeting. Partly as a result of the efforts of Smoke Free NOW, the smoking ban has been enacted.

For more details, click here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

22-year-old woman hospitalized after 5-Hour Energy overdose

Well, we all knew caffeine could be addictive; furthermore, we all know that energy drinks carry some significant risks. But who would have thought that a 22-year-old woman would contract acute hepatitis from the popular beverage, 5-Hour Energy?

This was reported in the June 22 edition of the Journal of Medical Case Reports, and covered by contributor Bill Briggs in the article, "5-Hour Energy binge lands woman in hospital."

Granted, this woman consumed 10 bottles per day. Most of us would agree that this constitutes overkill. But extreme cases like this do offer a vivid illustration of the need to exercise caution.

Another interesting point made in Briggs' article was this: According to nutritionist Joy Bauer,
“The ‘lift’ (these energy drinks) give you comes from caffeine (. . .) The high doses of B vitamins and amino acids they dump in are purely for glitz and glam -- they don’t actually help you instantly perk up."

That said, reflective soul that I am, I feel the need to comment on a societal phenomenon that I see behind the whole energy drink craze. Right at the beginning of his article, Briggs makes the following statement: "For many of us who march in the sleep-starved army that is the American workforce, it’s as critical to our survival as air, food, and bad reality TV: Caffeine. Beloved, energizing, career-preserving caffeine."

Not a few commentators on the history of modern Western society have expressed concern about the modern workforce consisting of "drones" who are overworked and housed within professional environments that, albeit unintentionally, seem to regard them more of as means toward production and profit, rather than as human beings aiming to reach individual and collective fulfillment (on that note, see the May 16 post on Bart Dentino's workplace-oriented program).

Perhaps the phenomenon of energy drink overdose is one manifestation of this situation coming back to bite us in the neck. But that's just my speculation -- I'll get off my soapbox now.

To read Briggs' full article, click here.

NOTE: The above image was published along with the article; no source is credited.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Senior Prevention Educator represents GCASA at annual 4th of July 'Picnic in the Park!'

This photo was published, along with the article "Many perks at GoArt!'s 'Picnic in the Park' this year, including author from Bethany," at 3:41 p.m. today on The Batavian.

Dick Lawrence, our new "Senior Spice" coordinator and senior citizen prevention educator, was at "Picnic in the Park," an annual event showcasing local organizations and providing 4th of July entertainment, yesterday.

Dick, who joined us last month, very generously volunteered to represent our organization at this event. From what I understand, he did a great job. A lot of information on our programs was disseminated. Way to go, Dick!

Video on K2 (a.k.a 'Spice')

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

GCASA Prevention Educator wins international contest!

Lisa Barrett, one of our prevention educators, was notified yesterday that she came in first place in the international competition, "Best Original Song." Lisa wrote and performed the winning song, "When You Look at Me," in memory of her nephew, Austin, who lost his battle with cancer just shy of his second birthday.

The folks at GCASA prevention are all very proud of Lisa and her accomplishment. We have confidence that her music will touch the lives of many.

For media coverage, see:

Batavia singer/songwriter has high hopes for very personal song (The Batavian)

Batavian's song reaches final round of contest (The Daily News)

Batavia woman's song wins international contest (The Daily News)

2011 Best Original Song -- "When You Look at Me" by Lisa Barrett (Music News Nashville)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lazy, lazy men...

I just read a very interesting New York Times review of current television programming, and felt it was relevant to our concern with media literacy.

Alessandra Stanley, in her article "It's a Crime That Men Are So Lazy," observes that male characters in many of today's TV shows are lazy, incompetent, powerless, and/or just generally unhelpful to their female counterparts, who are forced to pick up the slack (she even mentions one male character who is a recovering addict).

Certainly, the presentation of ANY demographic in the media -- be it men or women, children or adults, black people or white people, etc. -- has consequences. The portrayal of women in the media has been a concern for quite some time, and rightly so. But I think we need to start paying more attention to the other side of the gender coin as well, and to what sort of image our young men are being given of themselves.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Two media projects tackle problem of violence/abuse from different angles

If you peruse the latest in entertainment, popular culture and media news, you may find some information about two very intriguing projects, both of which deal with contemporary instances of violent behavior.

The first is "Man Down," R&B recording artist Rihanna's latest video, which premiered on BET Tuesday. It has, as its main "character," a young woman who takes revenge on her sexual abuser by shooting him in the head.

The second is "Beautiful Boy," an independent film opening in theaters today. It was directed by Shawn Ku and stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen (no relation to Charlie "Bi-Winning" Sheen) as the parents of a young man who took his own life after going on a shooting spree at college (much like the two kids at Columbine High School). As an exploration of the subject of school shootings, this film is unique in that it deals with the subsequent struggles of the perpetrator's parents.

In numerous ways, these two projects are considerably different. One is very popular, the other is more on the fringe of popular media; one is primarily a music medium, the other is a feature-length film; one has aroused the concerns of parents, the other is likely to elicit empathy from parents. But both are relevant to two very pressing issues in our culture: media influence and violence (both in the case of Rihanna's video, the latter in the case of "Beautiful Boy").

I'm interested to know what people think. Does Rihanna's video go too far in dealing with a controversial issue? As for Beautiful Boy, should we be doing more to address the experience of parents -- of both victims and perpetrators -- when dealing with bullying and violence in the schools?

My information comes from two online articles -- one from the Associated Press and one from Reuter's.

Click here for the article on "Man Down."

Click here for the article on "Beautiful Boy."

"Beautiful Boy" Trailer

Friday, May 27, 2011

DFC bullying ad

I've been meaning to post this for some time, and just recently found out that it was on Youtube. Prevention Educator Lisa Barrett, Paul Figlow of Figlow Productions, and middle school students from various parts of Genesee County filmed this several months ago.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bath salts banned in New York State

New York State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah has ordered a ban on the sale of a drug marketed as bath salts in New York State, according to an article from Associated Press (AP). Please note: All information contained in this post comes from that article, which was published online at 4:30 a.m. ET on Monday, May 24.

This follows Sen. Charles E. Schumer's call for a ban a few months ago (see Feb. 2 post, "Sen. Schumer seeks to ban drug marketed as bath salts"). According to the AP article, Schumer "is seeking a nationwide ban."

Hundreds of people have been hospitalized as a result of using this drug. Among the symptoms from which users suffer are chest pains, elevated blood pressure, hallucinations and suicidal behavior.

Click here for the AP article.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bart Dentino speaks to business community about workplace bullying

This picture was published along with the article "Dentino: Other-oriented leadership discourages bullying in the workplace" on The Dialy News on Saturday, May 14, around 12:15 a.m.

Bart Dentino, a well-known local musician and speaker, gave a presentation to Coalition partners from the business sector last week. He presented research on other-oriented styles of leadership, which foster positive and productive workplace environments. One of its many benefits is that it helps to discourage a phenomenon that occurs all too often: bullying in the workplace.

Click here to read the full article.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Law Enforcement Recognition Dinner

This photo was taken by Mark Gutman and published this morning along with the Daily News article, "Law Day honorees applauded as justice seekers," by Scott DeSmit.

The Law Enforcement Recognition Dinner was put on by Kiwanis in honor of those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of justice -- especially for youth -- in Genesee County.

Members of GCASA's prevention staff presented the Kathy Seymour Volunteer Service Award to Sarah Palermo, a frequent speaker at the Victim Impact Panels.

Pictured, from left: Ronald Meides, Genesee County Sheriff’s Deputy; Emily Clark, village of Le Roy Patrolman; Paul Caffo, city police Detective; and Leo Hunter, state police Investigator.

Click here
for the full article.

Monday, April 25, 2011

GCASA Art Show, Wednesday, 4/27/11, 5:00 - 7:30 PM

Filmmaker behind 'Super Size Me' tackles product placement

Just a quick update on what's going on in the media world: Morgan Spurlock, writer-director-star of the 2004 documentary "Super Size Me," has just made a documentary called "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold."

Spurlock's latest documentary tackles the subject of product placement in movies and is entirely and intentionally (all in good humor, it seems) funded by -- you guessed it -- product placement.

Click here for the full article.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Le Roy elementary school gets high marks for character education

This photo was published with Tom Rivers' article, "Le Roy elementary honored for character education," in The Daily News on Monday.

Principal Casey Kosiorek (pictured) and Wolcott St. School (W.S.S.) in Le Roy were recently honored for the great work they'be been doing in the field of character education in the last 12 years. Earlier this month, the Academy for Character Education at the Sage Colleges in Troy recognized W.S.S. as one of five "Emerging Schools of Character." This was the second consecutive year the school received this honor.

Among the wonderful programs they have are an anti-bullying program, a "Catching Kids Being Good" policy and community service projects such as "Pennies for Peace," (see my March 30 article on The Batavian for more info on that).

Kosiorek and the W.S.S. staff work hard to provide a positive learning environment for their students. Schools such as this, in my estimation, form a very important part of our community's efforts to raise children who are more likely to steer clear of drugs, alcohol abuse, and other problem behaviors.

Please click here to read Rivers' full article.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chautauqua County authorities warn residents about dangers of discarded meth bottles

This photo was included in the WKBW article "Chautauqua County Toxic Warning," which was last updated at 6:22 p.m. EDT yesterday. No photographer is cited.

All quotes are from the article, which has no identified author other than WKBW News.

Meth manufacturers who use the "one pot (bottle) manufacturing (cook) method" have been throwing their leftover bottles out along the road, according to the WKBW article. These bottles contain the residues of meth makers' operations, which are highly toxic. Physical contact "can burn the skin and cause very severe respiratory damage," and merely being exposed to the fumes "can cause itching and burn the eyes, throat, and lungs if inhaled."

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace is advising people not to touch such bottles if they find them. Such "device(s)" should be reported to law enforcement, who will handle disposal.

Click here
for the full article.

Friday, April 8, 2011

GMA Health story on prescription drug abuse

Well, again, I tried to embed the video, but it didn't work. So I'll do the next best thing and provide the link:

Interestingly, I saw this video after reading an article -- published in the UK -- on a recent dramatic increase in antidepresant prescriptions. Click here to read it.

Granted, this is somewhat of a different issue, painkillers and antidepressants being two different things. But, personally, I think it's fair to say that a similar risk exists, especially with climbing rates of use.

Note: Please be aware that these articles/videos are referenced for their relevance to issues with which GCASA is concerned, and that GCASA does not necessarily endorse everything cotained in them. GCASA also does not endorse the advertisments that accompany these articles/videos.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'Caffeine in the genes'

A recent study published in the journal PLoS Genetics links the extent of one's caffeine craving and the amount of caffeine people regularly consume to two particular genes.

Everybody has these genes, according to Rachael Rettner, author of the LiveScience article "Caffeine Craving Linked to Genetics." But different people may have different versions of these genes, and that's what determines someone's susceptibility to excessive caffeine intake.

Rettner's article was published yesterday at 6:58 PM ET. To read it, click here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Article: 'Insights: Consider the causes of bullying'

I've touched on the issue of possible societal influences on bullying in previous posts, and wanted to share a piece that was published today in The Daily News.

Bob Farnham, a frequent contributor to the Daily's opinion pages, claims that bullying in our schools today is influenced to a great extent by a sort of "herd" mentality that we see put into practice but adults, including politicians.

Please comment -- I would be very interested to know what people think about this. Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily News article: 'STOPPED program raises awareness of youthful drivers'

Our own Maryann Bowman (far left), director of prevention, is pictured with Genesee County DMV Deputy Clerk Leslie Krajewski and Sheriff Gary T. Maha. This photo was submitted to The Daily News and published at 8:41 a.m. yesterday.

Maryann, Krajewski and Maha have teamed up to promote the STOPPED (Sheriffs Telling Our Parents & Promoting Educated Drivers) program in Genesee County. So far, according to Maha, over 50 parents of young drivers have signed up for the program.

GCASA and the Drug Free Communities Coalition are very excited about this opportunity to cooperate with parents, who comprise one of the most important sectors -- if not the most important -- in our community.

Click here to read the full article, which includes a detailed description of the STOPPED program.

Go STOPPED! (How's that for a play on words?)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Doctors warn of depression risk for teens using Facebook

A group of doctors recently pointed out that social media such as Facebook carry particular risks for young people, especially if they already suffer from low self-esteem. That last point is particularly important. In the words of Dr. Megan Moreno -- as quoted in Lindsey Tanner's Associated Press article, "Docs warn about Facebook use and teen depression" -- it is not being suggested that Facebook "somehow infect(s) (our) kids with depression." Still, there are some unique risks that come with it -- and we're not only talking about cyber-bullying. Status updates and Facebook "walls" can sometimes cause major problems for young people who are either put down by or compare themselves unfavorably against their peers. Click here to read the full article, which was published on Yahoo! News this morning at 6:45 a.m. ET.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WIVB video: 'Students learn about smoking dangers'

Unfortunately, embedding videos from this particular site never seems to work. If you click on the link at the very bottom of the post, though, it will take you right to the page that has the video and accompanying text.

Students learn about smoking dangers:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Drug free school banner

I was at Le Roy Jr./Sr. High School last night, working on a story for The Batavian. I noticed they had this banner hanging from the ceiling, and thought I'd take a pic and give the school a place on the blog.
Go Le Roy!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Video: 'Four Loko loses caffeine, not its buzz'

Please be advised that this video contains some strong language -- censored, but still there.

Four Loko loses caffeine, not its buzz:

Monday, February 21, 2011

TV industry turns to 'water cooler' phenomenon to boost viewership

In a recent New York Times article entitled "TV Industry Taps Social Media to Keep Viewers’ Attention," which was published yesterday, Brian Stelter (along with contributor Jennifer Preston) draws attention to a new marketing tool various media sources are using to attract viewership.

Many Prime-Time programs are now being accompanied by online applications, surveys and streams, at least some of which are available during the time slots of the shows themselves. The idea is to capitalize on contemporary viewers' heavy use of online networking sites -- Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- and propensity to multitask while watching television. The former is especially important to television executives, since many people use social media to chat about their favorite programs.

Stelter puts it this way: "It’s as if people are gathered around the online water cooler — and the television executives are nervously hovering nearby, hoping viewers keep talking and, by extension, watching their shows."

Click here to read the full article.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New study urges children and teens to avoid energy drinks

A recent report published in the medical journal Pediatrics, urges pediatricians to better inform their patients -- and patients' parents -- about the dangers of energy drinks and to discourage ther use by children and teens.

Lindsey Tanner shares some of the details of this report in her article, "Pediatrics report details risks from energy drinks," which was published this morning at 12:02 a.m. ET. Additionally, she cites the experience of 18-year-old Dakota Sailor, who suffered a seizure and was hospitalized for five days after drinking two large energy drinks.

While "research is lacking on risk from long-term use and effects in kids — especially those with medical conditions that may increase the dangers" (according to the Pediatrics study, as cited in Tanner's article), major effects that set in immediately after the consumption of energy drinks include rapid heart rate, epilepsy and hallucinations, among other things. This is according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, which also report that of the more than 300 cases of energy drink poisonings among kids in 2011, 25% involved children younger than six.

Tanner writes that the American Academy of Pediatrics will soon be coming out with a clinical report "that may include guidelines for doctors."

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Upcoming events of interest

Here are a couple of local events happening in the near future that might interest some of our staff and Coalition members:

Batavia Players: "Love Lines"
This is an original play written and directed by Pat Burk, a former DFC Coalition member and local theater veteran. It consists of a series of vignettes related to everyone's favorite February theme: love. Characters range from Burk's own parents to Nancy Reagan!

"Love Lines" is the first Batavia Players performance at their new Harvester 56 Theater (see Jan. 6 article on The Batavian). Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 11, and Saturday, Feb. 12. Tickets can be purchased at or at the door.

Muckdogs: Hot Stove Dinner
Held annually, the dinner is hosted by the Genesee County Baseball Club. It's a great opportunity for fellowship among local sports fans, artists, businesses and friends. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger.

Please see today's Daily News announcement for further details.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sen. Schumer seeks to ban drug marketed as bath salts

Senator Charles Schumer is working on adding New York State to the list of states -- which include Florida, Louisiana and North Dakota -- that have declared mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) illegal.

According to Schumer, as quoted in the Reuter's article "Senator moves to ban drug sold as bath salts" -- written by Jonathan Allen, edited by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton, and published on Monday, Jan. 31 at 11:45 a.m. ET -- these substances, which are sold as bath salts, "contain ingredients that are nothing more than legally sanctioned narcotics, and they are being sold cheaply to all comers, with no questions asked, at store counters around the country."

Mephedrone and MDPV are described as being similar to meth and having euphoric and hyper-energetic effects on those who use them. Because of their effects on users, both drugs have been banned in the European Union (EU), Australia and Israel.

Allen cites the EU as having reported that "there was limited scientific evidence on the effects of the drug . . . but that there was sufficient evidence of its health risks to support a ban."

Click here to read the full article.

Robert Morris and Byron-Bergen win Pepsi Refresh grants!

This photo was taken by Mark Gutman and published this morning in The Daily News.

Robert Morris (Batavia) and Byron-Bergen elementary schools have both won the Pepsi Refresh contest! Each school will be awarded $50,000 to build a new playground. In both cases, we have a project that will benefit both school and community for years to come.

To learn more, please see previous coverage on GCASA Cares:

"Whether they know it or not, Robert Morris staff and students are combatting community disorganization"

"Robert Morris Playground Video"

"Jan 4 post -- part 1: Robert Morris playground project gets second chance"

"New link to vote for two Genesee County schools"

Thank you to all who voted for these worthy projects!

To read the Daily News article published this morning, click here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

AP video: Marijuana Soda

Gap Mangione and his Big Band coming April 30, 2011 for Second Annual GCASA Foundation Evening of Jazz

Gap Mangione and his big band is coming to GCC Stuart Steiner Theater on April 30th, 2011 for the second annual GCASA Foundation Evening Of Jazz.

For tickets call Pam LaGrou at 585-815-1803

Atwater Community Residence has great year in 2010 providing services with good outcomes, cost competitively, with high customer satisfaction

GCASA operates the Atwater Community Residence for people with substance abuse diagnoses.

There are 17 beds and it provides services to both males and females. Usually, clients stay in the CR for 3 - 6 months.

In 2010 the occupancy was 94% for the year. In January and February, 2010, the occupancy rate was 99% while in July it was 88%.

There was a possible 6205 bed days and the utilization rate was 5842.

GCASA strives to provide the service with the best outcomes, in the most cost competitive manner with the highest customer satisfaction.

The year, 2010, saw major changes in staffing with John Bennett taking over as Director with Mary Beth Pace as the Assistant Director.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tip Line Utilization

Between 2006 and 2010 there have been 259 calls to the Tip Line in Genesee County.

In the same period there have been 80 in Orleans and 25 in Wyoming.

In Monroe there have been 208 calls between 2007-2010.

You can save a life by calling 585-343-1932 or 1-800-851-1932 to report underage drinking confidentially.

Carol Nicometo, GCASA Community Specialist, receives Birchwood Village 'Resident of the Year' Award

This photo was taken by Mike Pettinella of The Daily News and published in the Daily this morning.
Our own Carol Nicometo, right, was honored with the Joann Gardner 2010 "Resident of the Year" Award on Thursday night. She has demonstrated GCASA's values in her selfless service to her neighbors, and the Birchwood Village board of directors recognized her for it at their annual dinner at Terry Hills.
Laura Bohm, administrative assistant at Birchwood, is pictured with Carol as she displays her award.
Mike Pettinella's article, "'Phenomenal' neighbor wins Birchwood Village award," was published in The Daily News this morning. Click here to read.
Go Carol!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

GCASA Foundation Second Annual Evening of Jazz - Gap Mangione and the Big Band, April 30, 2011, GCC

GCASA committed to professional education

GCASA has a long history of providing internships to students from various behavioral health disciplines.

During the 2010-2011 academic year, GCASA is providing 11 internships to students from 6 different colleges and 7 different progams.

GCASA has students from GCC, MCC, SUNY Brockport, Nazareth, and Keuka College. In the past GCASA has had students from UB, Roberts Weslyan, Daemon, and a number of other colleges.

GCASA is committed to preparing professionals for the future.

For more information contact, Kim Corcoran, GCASA's Director of Human Resources at 585-815-1801, and/or David Markham, L.C.S.W.-R, Executive Director at 585-815-1800.

Teens found dead in apartment with empty Four Loko can

New link to vote for two Genesee County schools

Byron-Bergen Elementary School (see yesterday's Batavian post on the subject) and Batavia's Robert Morris Elementary (see blog post, "Whether they know it or not, Robert Morris staff and students are combatting community disorganization") are both in the running for a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh grant. Both schools hope to use the money for playground improvements.

In the interest of cooperation, B-B and RMS are encouraging people to vote for both projects. They have provided a link that will make it easier to do so:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'The Batavian' continues to support Genesee DFC in international contest

An article based on our recent press release was posted yesterday on The Batavian by Billie Owens. She also published an article for us back in December, when we first started to get the word out about our selection as one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Out of the Box Prize.

We thank The Batavian for their support. Click here to read the article.

'Bud in a Bottle' to be released next month

Time Magazine published an article yesterday about a new line of marijuana soda to be released in Colorado in February.

Click to read.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Golden Globes and 'influential' behavior

This video is a mild example -- and I do mean mild -- of some of the off-color humor that characterized actor/comedian Ricky Gervais' monologue and comments as host of the 2010 Golden Globes. Some were highly inappropriate, most irreverent, all reaction-provoking. Other stars' comments were very similar in that regard.

A lot of talk has been going around about the use of language in political circles -- especially by Sarah Palin in the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (see Thursday's post). Can we argue that, just as political figures should be held to higher standards of accountability in what they say, so should those in entertainment?

I think most people would say that we are talking about two very different situations here. To insist that there be no irreverent humor in entertainment -- especially on the part of those whose job it is to make people laugh -- would probably be unrealistic and oversensitive. Sure, one can go too far with it, but generally speaking, we can probably afford to "lighten up" a bit more with entertainment than with politics -- as long as it is understood that there is a time and a place for irreverent jokes.

My concern, however, is not with the overall irreverence of Gervais' (and others') comments. Rather, I am concerned with the questionable behavior of many of the stars throughout the night. A number of statements and words that came out of people's mouths -- including Gervais' -- were censored. Non-subtle sexual references were made on at least a couple of other (that is to say, non-censored) occasions.

Christian Bale, in concluding his acceptance speech for the Best Supporting Actor award, went over his allotted time to make some apparently inappropriate comment to Robert De Niro. Whatever the comment was, it took about 5 seconds to say and was thoroughly censored.

Paul Giamatti, in accepting the award for his performance in "Barney's Version," talked about how grateful he was to have worked on a movie where he could get paid to drink and smoke; he did specify what he was drinking and smoking, but this part was censored.

It is true, of course, that celebrities are not necessarily role models. Still, if someone is a high profile figure whose example, good or bad, is made available to people of all ages worldwide, he/she should realize that his/her deliberate bad behavior (especially in a high profile atmosphere like the Golden Globes) has the potential to set a bad example on a broad scale.

I think the media would probably do well to focus more on that aspect of last night's Golden Globes ceremony. In my opinion, their exclusive focus on the humorous jibes of its host only distracts readers from the more important issue.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sarah Palin: "blood libel" -- full video

This is not an endorsement of Sarah Palin's speech, nor is it the opposite. It is simply an effort to make the speech available and to invite reasonable discussion on the matter.

A friend of mine responded to this video yesterday by asserting that our public figures should be held to a higher standard of accountability for what they say and how they say it. The idea behind this is that their poor choice of words trickles down and influences our youth, including bullies.

For those of you who don't know, the term blood libel comes from a medieval superstition holding that Jews kidnapped Christian children and used their blood for religious rituals. Some thought Palin's choice of words was in poor taste, given that Gabriell Giffords is Jewish.

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

NYU professor says public schools should open up political discourse to students

On Monday afternoon, Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at New York University, responded to comments and ideas surrounding the recent shootings in Arizona with his reflections on the state of political discourse in America's public schools.

His article is entitled "Arizona shooting: Don't blame Sarah Palin -- get public schools to discuss politics," and was published in Christian Science Monitor on Jan. 10, 2010 (online at 3:01 p.m. ET).

Many have been arguing that outbursts of violence like the one we witnessed a few days ago are traceable to heated political rhetoric; Zimmerman, however, believes that the real problem runs deeper than that. His basic argument is that our public schools are sheltering students too much from controversial issues.

"We’ve stripped the schools of almost anything that’s divisive, contentious, or controversial," Zimmerman says. "Is it any wonder that many of our citizens can’t engage in reasonable political dialogue?"

He doesn't seem to be placing the blame on teachers so much as on the system by which they are employed. Educators are not only not trained to engage the students in civilized, reasonable discussion on "hot-button contemporary issue(s)," they are actually told not to do so. Teachers can even -- and have even -- been fired for bringing these issues up in the classroom. In effect, they are restricted to instructing students in the memorization of mere facts.

As a result of this state of affairs, according to Zimmerman, American public schools "have left millions of Americans unequipped to engage in rational politics."

What do people think of this? I certainly think Zimmerman has a good point. With the recent bullying epidemic and with outbreaks of school violence in the last decade, there is a strong need in general to teach kids how to resolve and/or deal with their differences peacefully and rationally. As far as what Zimmerman is talking about goes, I think we just need to approach this sort of thing with due caution. Whether or not discussions about controversial issues can be successfully carried out in a classroom is going to depend on various factors such as the age and impressionability of the students, etc.

Click here to read Zimmerman's article. Comments welcome.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily News article #2: 'Local tobacco control advocates travel to Albany'

Four area youths -- two from Genesee County, two from Wyoming County -- are in Albany today, armed with education and ready to equip our state leaders in the fight against tobacco advertising.

Click to read.

Daily News article #1: 'GCASA earns three-year license'

Today's edition of The Daily News includes an article on GCASA's Supportive Living Program, which has earned a three-year re-certification from OASAS.

Click to read!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ted Williams video

Here is the video that made Ted Williams famous. Vocal talent can definitely be a protective -- or, in this case, redemptive -- factor.

It's never too late!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New study finds correlation between heavy texting/networking and risky behavior in teens

A new study, led by Dr. Scott Frank, indicates that teens who text frequently and spend an inordinate amount of time on networking sites like Facebook are more likely to engage in risky behaviors; these behaviors include drug use, binge drinking, sex, and texting while driving.

This is according to an article by Associated Press Medical Writer Mike Stobbe, published at 4:09 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

Click to read.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why do smoking cessation drugs work?

Reuters reported on 01/03/11 on a study which appears in the January, 2011 issue of the journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, which describes speculations about why smoking cessation drugs, bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin) and varenicline(Chantix) work. You can access the Reuter's article by clicking here.

Mayor of Long Island community bans smoking on public sidewalks

I tried to embed the video of the My Fox New York report, but for some reason or other it did not work. Click here to read the article, and to see the two videos available on the subject.

National Institude on Drug Abuse director Dr. Nora Volkow discusses results of the 2010 household survey

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Batavia Youth Bureau offers Youth Connection

The Batavia Youth Bureau will offer the first Youth Connection, a program for 10- to 16-year-olds, on Saturday. It will take place at Batavia Middle School from 1 until 4 p.m.

According to this morning's Daily News insert, which was published at 12:44 a.m., this program is designed to keep youth active and will be offered "several times a month."

Click to read.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan 4 post -- part 3: Vote for the Genesee County DFC on Community Tool Box!

We got an e-mail from Christina Holt, associate director for Community Tool Box services, a couple of weeks ago. She e-mailed all of the Out of the Box finalists with a reminder to get the information about the contest out into the public and encourage people to vote. She used the Batavian article promoting our Coalition as an example of how to do so. Hopefully that means we're doing well!

As of Dec. 20, according to Holt, they had received over 1400 votes. If you haven't voted already, we would encourage you to do so; also, please ask family and friends to vote as well!

Click here to see our submission and to vote.

Jan 4 post -- part 2: The biology of bad habits

Associated Press Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard wrote an article entitled "New Year's resolutions? Brain can sabotage success," which was published on Yahoo! News yesterday at 2:15 p.m. ET. He raises some interesting points about the extent to which bad habits -- which, of course, include alcoholism, drug use, and smoking -- become embedded in our brain activity, making it hard to quit.

However, "[t]hat's not an excuse to give up," Neergaard says. "Understanding how unhealthy behaviors become ingrained has scientists learning some tricks that may help good habits replace the bad."

Click here to read the full article.

Jan 4 post -- part 1: Robert Morris playground project gets second chance

The December Pepsi Refresh Project is over, and Robert Morris did not get the grant (please see Dec. 30 post). But because of their high ranking, they have been entered into the January contest. They are currently #3 in the rankings, and need our votes.

To vote, go to and click on the tab that says "Vote for this idea," or text 73774 and enter 104607 in the message.

Monday, January 3, 2011

GCASA's Supportive Living receives three-year re-cerfitication

Our Communications Director, Pam LaGrou, sent an e-mail earlier today regarding the success of GCASA's Supportive Living Program in obtaining "the highest possible re-cerfitication score for their licensing certificate" from OASAS (Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services). Because of the quality of GCASA's residential services and the dedication of the staff, Supportive Living has at least 3 years to continue thriving.

A press release was just sent out to the media, and hopefully there will be an article in the papers about this soon. I will keep you posted.

First post of 2011 -- part 3: The media, celebrities, and children's view of marriage

You can hardly turn on the t.v. or pick up a magazine nowadays without being alerted to the breakup of some celebrity couple's marriage. These could be movie stars, athletes, musicians, or any other type of high profile entertainment figure.

A Reuter's article published last week draws attention to the fact that young children often look to these people -- especially sports stars -- as role models; the article is appropriately titled "Soccer scandals 'shaping kids' view of marriage," and was edited by Paul Casciato (no author is identified). According to the Dec. 29 article (which was published around 8:10 p.m. ET), kids get the idea that "marriages are not meant to last."

Certainly, these celebrities need to be more aware of how their actions affect the perceptions of our youth. But the media bears more than a little bit of the blame as well. How much influence would these scandals have, after all, if they were not routinely sensationalized by so many major news sources?

Click here to read the full article.

First post of 2011 -- part 2: 2010 commercials

I came across an article on Yahoo!'s TV Blog entitled "The 13 Most Talked-About Commercials of 2010." It was written by Lindsay Robertson and Tara Ariano, and published last Tuesday.

I picked a few videos that illustrate some of the key tools used in the media to attract consumers. You'll notice that all of them use humor and/or star power to promote goods and services.




First post of 2011 -- part 1: Recall of kids' CD's

Happy New Year everyone!

This news is a few days old, but I think it deserves a place on the blog regardless. Who would have thought things would come to the point where parents would need to monitor CHILDREN'S CD's so closely?!?

Click to read.