Thursday, January 3, 2013

Today's local news briefsFROM: Poughkeepsie, Ulster County, Fallsburg -

Today's local news briefsFROM: Poughkeepsie, Ulster County, Fallsburg -

Family Services fills the gaps for the needy-Poughkeepsie Journal

December 30, 2012-Family Services in Poughkeepsie has helped individuals and families throughout the Hudson Valley for more than 130 years through direct services, advocacy and collaboration.
"Multiple victims of crime and domestic violence were supported, empowered and strengthened through our victims assistance programs; parents in danger of losing their children to foster care have successfully developed the parenting skills needed to keep their family together and healthy through the Family Education Program and the Family Partnership Center has remained an anchor for services in the community," said Jessica Wallach, Coordinator of Program Development and Outcomes Management.

But the non-profit can use a hand around the holidays. As part of that mission, the nonprofit is also participating in Holiday Helping Hand -- the annual fundraising campaign sponsored by the Poughkeepsie Journal and the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region -- and purchases gift cards and utility vouchers for 52 individuals and families in its Crime Victims Assistance and Dutchess Youth Career Works programs.
As of Thursday, $38,397.17 has been raised to help local nonprofits such as Family Services brighten the holidays of Dutchess residents next year.Funds raised last year benefit this year's programs.

"These clients might otherwise have little or nothing for the holidays," Wallach said. "We serve an underserved population who are struggling with self-sufficiency. Through these gifts and vouchers, we're empowering them to help themselves, but also to brighten their holidays."

Family Services has participated in Holiday Helping Hand since 2007 and serves more than 7,000 families in Dutchess and Ulster counties through its youth recreation and employment programs, after-school programs, supervised visitation programs, child care at Dutchess County Family Court, victims assistance, family education and its accountability program for offenders of crime, as well as collaborating with community and funding agencies through federal, state and county government."The excitement of the holidays most often reminds us of children, but their families are also in need," said Diane Hart, director of Community Impact at United Way. "Thankfully, organizations such as Family Services help to fill this gap whether through a small gift or assistance paying for utilities such as heat."
Loren Hoffman: 845-437-4800,, Twitter: @LoreHoffyPJ.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Family Holiday Movie Night

As the winter winds begin to blow through the valley so do the fond memories of Holidays’ past. The gathering of friends and family to share the joy of gifts we all hope to receive.  Oh what a wonderful time of year!  The thrill, the anticipation the excitement we hope to pass to our children so that they too will have that glorious feeling! 

On Friday, December 15th Family Services held a Family Holiday Movie Night, attended by hundreds of pajama – clad local children and their families at the Family Partnership Center in the City of Poughkeepsie.

The Family Partnership Center glowed like never before! As the children entered through a sea of lights, they were greeted by Frosty who made things feel just right. Santa Claus was here to their delight to see what they wanted for Christmas this year.  With eyes all fixed on the remarkable stage set, replete with steaming locomotive and toy factory, the children then heard the call of “ALL ABOARD” for their journey to the North Pole on the “Polar Express”.  With cookies and cocoa and some popcorn too… We hope the children will always remember this night.

We are all so grateful to the outpouring of support we received from the community. To so many IBM Volunteers, Betsy Carswell one of our guiding lights, Sheila Appel and Maria Dewald, Jamie VanDodick, Carol Quaid, Linda St. Martin, Tom Koscal, Scott Woolley, Keith and Abby Heilmann, Deann O’Neill, Maureen Hackett, Michele Szynal, Matt Mauriello, Amanda Baxter, Jean and Shelby Calyer, Peter Raymond, Jessica Wallach, Mary Turner, Kathy Bounty, Kat Raynor, Virginia Currie, Mary Westermann, Kathi Skellan, Kevin carswell and all the elves who volunteered to help make this event happen.

A special thanks is owed to Sheriff Butch Anderson, our Santa Claus, and Undersheriff Kirk Imperati.  Let’s not forget Frosty, Elisha Cano.  To all of our sponsors especially IBM, AT&T much thanks.

Many local businesses provided the necessary supplies from water to cookies, cocoa and popcorn too!  Adams Fairacre Farms, Stop & Shop, Pastry Garden, Dutchess Beer Distributors, Price Choppers, Starbucks, Panera Bread, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Beekman Arms, Fidelis Care and The Daily Planet.
We hope to take the success of this evening and look forward to a tradition that we at Family Services can host year after year.  BELIEVE!

Brian Doyle, CEO
Family Services

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Nation's Weekly Article

Jessica Valenti on December 5, 2012 - 11:40 AM ET

Photo via Instagram
A good person. Genuine. Pleasant. Nice. Hard-working. A family man. The media has used all of these terms to describe Jovan Belcher after he murdered Kasandra Perkins, shooting her nine times. In fact, these glowing descriptors are all from just one article in The New York Times. But don’t worry, there are plenty of pieces sharing lovely sentiments about the man who killed his girlfriend, the mother of his barely 3-month-old daughter.
While mainstream media and supporters of Belcher have no problem spouting off flattery, most are hesitant to call what happened domestic violence. They’ve gone out of their way to suggest that Belcher murdered Perkins—who friends called ‘Kasi’—because of sustained head injuries or because of alcohol or drug abuse. A police officer, Sgt. Richard Sharp, has even suggested that Belcher committed suicide after killing Kasi because “he cared about her.”
“I don’t think he could live with himself,” he said. What a romantic.
It’s horribly offensive to laud a man who murdered his girlfriend and left his daughter parentless. It’s also irresponsible. When the media reports domestic violence murders as random tragedies—or when individuals say the perpetrator must have “snapped”—they enable a culture of violence against women. Because when you don’t contextualize this violence as part of structural misogyny, you give credence to the myth that there was nothing anyone could have done to stop it.
Insisting that this murder or others like it are “unthinkable” or “shocking” is another way of saying that no one could have predicted it. (He was such a nice guy! A family man!) It’s a dangerous lie that allows us to wash our hands of responsibility when it comes to the violence that is perpetrated against women. Because the truth is that murders like this are predictable.
As Casey Gwinn, President of the National Family Justice Center Alliance, wrote,
Relationships do not go from healthy, happy and functional to murder-suicide overnight. It never happens. There is almost always a history and there is always a pattern. Over time it will be clear that friends, family, and colleagues knew things and saw things and did not take action.
Indeed, it has now come out that Belcher had a history of violence and controllingness in relationships with women. While at the University of Maine, campus police reports were filed when Belcher punched his fist through a window during a fight with a woman and again when police were called to break up an argument he had with his girlfriend after she failed to check in with him at a designated time. Belcher’s relationship with Kasi has repeatedly been called strained—so much so that the Kansas City Chiefs provided the couple with relationship counseling. (Which is actually not the right move, according to domestic violence experts.)
Reports indicate that Kasi was leaving or had left Belcher with their daughter. Women are most likely to be killed by their abusive partners when they try to leave—in fact, victims who leave an abusive relationship have a 75 percent higher risk of being murdered. Pregnancy and childbirth exacerbate violent relationships and young black women are eleven times more likely than white women to be murdered while they are pregnant or in the year after childbirth.
This is not rocket science—we know how women die when they are killed by their partners. We know what precedes it and we know what the relationship looks like before it happens.
We also know the excuses that are made for the men who kill. When University of Virginia student and lacrosse player George Huguely V beat his ex-girlfriend (she had just left him) Yeardley Love to death, he insisted it was because of an alcohol problem. Articles said he snapped. I’m sure his friends liked him. People were shocked. But in the weeks leading up to her death, Huguely sent Love an e-mail threatening to kill her, and witnesses had seen him physically abusing her.
There is a pattern that makes murders like Kasi’s and Love’s predictable and preventable. The only thing that seems to be questionable is the public responsibility and response to this violence.
In the wake of Kasi’s murder, Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn said, “I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?”
We have a moral obligation to take responsibility for the people in our lives, in our families and in our communities. Kasi Perkins did not have to die. We have to stop pretending that her murder and those like it are a shock or “random” tragedies. It may give some comfort to believe as much, but it’s not the truth. And don’t we owe her at least that much?
For more from Jessica Valenti, check out “She Who Dies with the Most ‘Likes’ Wins?” And sign up for Feminist Roundup, The Nation’s weekly newsletter, here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

UPC Weekly Blog: Is driving under the influence of Marijuana harmful?

A recent study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive (SADD) reports that nearly 1 in 5 teens say they have gotten behind the wheel after smoking marijuana. Those responses were higher than in 2009 when 13 percent admitted to driving after smoking marijuana while 12 percent admitted driving after drinking alcohol. Of those teens that have driven after smoking marijuana, 36 percent say it presents no distraction when operating a vehicle.

Stephen Wallace, senior adviser for policy, research and education at SADD, stated "we hear from young people who believe that marijuana actually makes them a safer driver, that they concentrate harder, drive slower," Wallace says. “Those are all misconceptions”.

On the contrary, marijuana has serious harmful effects on the skills required to drive safely: alertness, the ability to concentrate and make good judgments, coordination, and the ability to react quickly. Marijuana use can make it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road. These effects can last up to 24 hours after smoking marijuana.

A roadside study of reckless drivers who were not impaired by alcohol showed that 45% tested positive for marijuana.   Research conducted by the University of Auckland, New Zealand, proves the link between marijuana use and car accidents. The research found that habitual cannabis users were 9.5 times more likely to be involved in crashes .

Kelly, Darke and Ross show similar results, with laboratory studies examining the effects of cannabis on skills utilized while driving showing impairments in tracking, attention, reaction time, short-term memory, hand-eye coordination, vigilance, time and distance perception, and decision making and concentration. In their review of driving simulator studies, they conclude that there is evidence of impairments in cannabis-affected drivers' ability to control a vehicle in the areas of steering, headway control, speed variability, car following, reaction time and lane positioning.

"Teens are faced with potentially destructive decisions every day and don't always make the best ones," said Dave Melton, a driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. "It's our job as mentors, parents, role models or friends to effectively communicate with them to ensure they are armed with the right information and aware of the dangers of marijuana and other substances, especially while driving."

1.  "White House Drug Czar Launches Campaign to Stop Drugged Driving.” Office of National Drug Control Policy Press Release, November 2002.
2. Stephanie Blows, Rebecca Q. Ivers, Jennie Connor, Shanthi Ameratunga, Mark Woodward & Robyn Norton, "Marijuana Use and Car Crash Injury," Addiction, Vol 100, April 2005.
3.  Kelly, Erin; Darke, Shane; Ross, Joanne (2004). "A review of drug use and driving: epidemiology, impairment, risk factors and risk perceptions". Drug and Alcohol Review 23 (3): 319–44. doi:10.1080/

09595230412331289482. PMID 15370012.

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council

UPC Weekly Blog: Magic Mushrooms

Two events this week turned my attention to “Magic Mushrooms”. First, my 17 year old daughter reported that she had been offered “shrooms” by an acquaintance. Second, according to newspaper reports, police in Saugerties charged two residents with operating a marijuana farm and growing hallucinogenic mushrooms. According to newspaper reports, town and state police executed a search warrant at and discovered a large indoor cultivation operation. They seized more than 45 pounds of processed marijuana, 60 marijuana plants and a substantial quantity of mushrooms.
Youth often report the belief that both marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms are “natural” and therefore harmless for them. This can increase adolescent “experimentation” or “recreational” use. In Ulster County in 2010, 7.7% of high school seniors reported having used hallucinogens at some point in their lifetime (Ulster County Youth Development Survey).
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, there are more than 75 known species of hallucinogenic mushrooms, and psilocybin and psilocyn are the hallucinogenic components found in them. The potency of mushrooms varies. According to the DEA, while street prices fluctuate, psilocybin mushrooms generally cost $20-40 for 1/8 ounce and $100 to $150 for an ounce. Although psilocybin and psilocyn are scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 as Schedule I drugs, the mushrooms themselves are not scheduled.

Methods of Use

Fresh or dried psilocybin mushrooms can be ingested orally either whole (often prepared with a food item such as peanut butter or pizza to hide their bitter taste), sprinkled on top of food, or after being brewed to make a tea. Dried mushrooms can also be crushed into a powder and prepared in capsule form. Psilocybin can be consumed orally, sniffed, smoked, or injected.


Psilocybin affects the central nervous system by disturbing the normal interaction of nerve cells and the functioning of the neurotransmitter serotonin, to which it is structurally similar. Mushrooms can take 20 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, and will last for 3 to 6 hours.

Physical effects include:

·        Nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea
·        Muscle relaxation, weakness, and twitches
·        Yawning, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and lack of coordination
·        Pupil dilation, tearing, dry mouth, and facial flushing
·        Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
·        Sweating followed by chills and shivering
·        Numbness of tongue, lips, or mouth
·        Feelings of physical heaviness or lightness and feelings of floating

Psychological effects include:

·        Heightened sensory experiences and perceptual distortions (i.e. brighter colors, sharper visual definition, increased hearing acuity, more distinguished taste)
·        Auditory, tactile, and visual hallucinations
·        Synesthesia (melding of the senses: seeing music or hearing colors)
·        Difficulty focusing, maintaining attention, concentrating, and thinking
·        Impaired judgment and preoccupation with trivial thoughts, experiences, or objects
·        Sense of detachment from body and surroundings and loss of boundaries between the two
·        Altered perception of space and time
·        Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality
·        Melding of past experiences with present
·        Feelings of unity with the environment
·        Feelings of involvement with intense spiritual experiences
·        Tension, anxiety, and restlessness
·        Highly adverse reactions ("bad trip"), including frightening hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, agitation, depression, panic, and/or terror

Tolerance, Dependence, & Withdrawal

With regular and repeated use of psilocybin mushrooms, tolerance to the effects will occur. In addition, cross-tolerance occurs with other drugs, including LSD and mescaline. For several days following the use of mushrooms, users may experience a period of psychological withdrawal and have difficulty discerning reality.


·  Nicknames for hallucinogenic mushrooms
Boomers, caps, cubes, gods flesh, liberty caps, little smoke, magic mushrooms, Mexican mushrooms, mushrooms, musk, sacred mushroom, sherm, shrooms, silly cybin, silly putty, simple simon

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of the Ulster Prevention Council

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, reach out. There is help available:

 Domestic Violence Services of Dutchess County*
*Formerly known as Battered Women's Services
Hotline: 845-485-5550

Recognizing the warning signs of domestic violence and abuse:
It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of emotional abuse and domestic violence. If you witness any warning signs of abuse in a friend, family member, or co-worker, take them very seriously.
People who are being abused may:
  • Seem afraid or anxious to please their partner.
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does.
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner.
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness.

Warning signs of physical violence:

People who are being physically abused may:
  • Have frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
  • Frequently miss work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
  • Dress in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g. wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
Warning signs of isolation:
People who are being isolated by their abuser may:
  • Be restricted from seeing family and friends.
  • Rarely go out in public without their partner.
  • Have limited access to money, credit cards, or the car.
The psychological warning signs of abuse
People who are being abused may:
  • Have very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident.
  • Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn).
  • Be depressed, anxious, or suicidal.
Speak up if you suspect domestic violence or abuse
If you suspect that someone you know is being abused, speak up! If you’re hesitating—telling yourself that it’s none of your business, you might be wrong, or the person might not want to talk about it—keep in mind that expressing your concern will let the person know that you care and may even save his or her life.
  • Ask if something is wrong.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen and validate.
  • Offer help.
  • Support his or her decisions.
  • Wait for him or her to come to you.
  • Judge or blame.
  • Pressure him or her.
  • Give advice.
  • Place conditions on your support.

Remember, abusers are very good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, drained, scared, ashamed, and confused. They need help to get out, yet they’ve often been isolated from their family and friends. By picking up on the warning signs and offering support, you can help them escape an abusive situation and begin healing.

Adapted from: NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Thursday, October 18, 2012

From the Ulster County Prevention Council Blog: Alcoholic Juice Pouches

Recently my 19 year old daughter Liz pointed out a product in our neighborhood supermarket. Smack in the middle of the snack aisle, there was a basket full of what looked like kid’s juice pouches. Liz called my attention to the fact that the pouches were, in fact, single serve alcoholic beverages selling for $1.99 each. She stated that her first thought was that this was a highly “shopliftable” item for her peers. As we continued shopping, Liz pointed out several other locations where these items were placed, including next to the beer and in the “seasonal” aisle. Last week, I was in a convenience store in New Paltz and noted that these drink pouches were placed above the potato chip display in the middle of the center aisle.
I decided to find out more about these beverages through my good friend the internet. I found out that squeezable pouches are emerging as a big hit for alcohol marketers. Ad Age said sales of alcohol pouches jumped 153% to $154 million in the year ending June 23, according to Nielsen. Pouch drinks are making rapid distribution gains in grocery stores, and chains such as Walgreens and Walmart have begun stocking pouch brands in coolers at some stores.
Seagram’s website has an interactive map where you can find nearby outlets selling their Frozen Flavors line. Entering a Kingston zip code yielded 20 outlets within 5 miles. Seagram’s Escapes Frozen Flavors is a line of single-serve ready-to-drink frozen flavored malt beverages (FMBs). The lineup includes Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada and Sangria. With 5 percent alcohol by volume, the frozen FMBs can be consumed directly from the 10-ounce pouch. Seagram’s states that “the product can be merchandised in the beer and cooler section, snack and seasonal aisles and on feature displays”. Seagram’s Escaped Frozen Flavors has a suggested retail price of $1.99 for a single-serve 10-ounce pouch and $7.99 for a four-pack.
Parrot Bay  also sells a 10oz pouch for $1.99, and their products are also 5% alcohol by volume. Their site posts “Take all of the trouble out of making a good frozen drink! Parrot Bay tropical drinks are easy and great tasting. Just freeze, squeeze, and enjoy. Mixed perfectly every time. Great for outdoors.”
American Beverage Corp., manufacturer of the 8-ounce Little Hug Fruit Barrel drinks that have appeared in children’s lunch boxes since 1974, now manufactures Daily’s cocktails. “It’s the No. 1 brand (of frozen pouches), and we have about a 60 percent share of the market”. A blogger reviewing the pouches wrote “Daily's Ready to Drink pouches are an alcoholics dream. Booze (10 proof) premixed with the scrumptious flavor of your favorite mixed beverage. freeze, kneed, open, straw, YUM. Grab a handful! These pouches go right from the store to the freezer. The taste, consistency, and refreshment of a frozen blender drink…without the blender…the clean-up…the noise! You rip open the top and pour a slushy cocktail…into your glass, or right into your mouth.”
Daily’s also sells Daily's Single Serve Cocktails in bottles  “They're appealing enough to drink from, easy to pour and perfect for taking with you anywhere. Enjoy warm, chilled or frozen" their site says.
Cordina reports that the company was started by three enterprising young men who were on a quest to make big bucks.  “After seeing kids drink up Capri juices with straws at the beach they decided that alcoholic beverages in pouches would delight adult drinkers.” While many premixed cocktails are malt beverages (which use a malting process as opposed to fermentation or distillation), Cordina uses flavorless wine made from fermented orange juice. 
$1.99 each, their products include the "Mar-Go-rita," the strawberry "Daiq-Go-ri," and the "Pina-Go-lada". “Our product will be in Walmart and Walgreens very soon." The newest 2012 addition is the watermelon "Mar-Go-rita" and the latest mix is the "Choc-Go-lada". According to developers, the flexible pouch is squeezable, economical and safe.  “Throw the 'Go-ables' into a gym bag, purse or for thristy night owls, into a bra or undies to get through the velvet ropes undetected.”
Arbor Mist boasts that their products “don’t taste “alcoholic” at all". Arbor Mist launched its line in Walmart (in Merlot Blackberry, Pinot Grigio White Pear and White Zinfandel Strawberry flavors).  A blogger notes, “there’s nothing stopping you from popping one in yourself (except maybe your date of birth, but hey, that’s what Bigs and RAs are for). So just grab a few, freeze them overnight and get yo’ illegal classroom-drank on the next day—all without ever using a blender or fake ID.” "Squeezable Vessels Are Convenient, Appealing to Young Drinkers" boast marketers of the popular new pouches.

Another article states "Mixing nostalgia for childhood with the thrill of drinking-on-the-go, or just plain laziness, may explain a new trend in which adults are buying pre-mixed cocktails in baggies that resemble children's juice boxes. Alcohol companies such as Smirnoff, Arbor Mist, and Parrot Bay have already marketed their own brands of portable cocktails in brightly-colored pouches—for those who find regular liquor bottles too cumbersome (not to mention stigmatizing) to carry around, as well as for those who find mixing drinks too onerous and time-consuming. And the pouches are selling like hot cakes. The companies' intention to make the product appeal to a younger demographic seems to have been successful".

Cheryl DePaolo
Ulster Prevention Council

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From the Ulster Prevention Blog: Mobile App Helps Teens Quit Smoking

My teens are attached to their cell phones at the thumbs!

A new effort to help teens quit smoking will use one of their most constant companions: the mobile phone. SmokefreeTXT is a free text message service from NIH that provides 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips for teens trying to quit smoking.

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Its health consequences build up over time and include many different types of cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases.
Nearly 20% of teens are current smokers. “Unless we make efforts to intervene today, they will most likely continue smoking into adulthood,” says Dr. Yvonne Hunt, a program director in tobacco control research at NIH.

Many teens want to quit. Go online to To enroll on the go using a mobile phone, text QUIT to iQUIT (47848).

Cheryl DePaolo
Director of the Ulster Prevention Council

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally

Office of the Press Secretary
August 10, 2012
Progress Toward a World without Violence Against Women and Girls
Today, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally to further enhance the Administration’s efforts to advance the rights and status of women and girls, to promote gender equality in U.S. foreign policy, and to bring about a world in which all individuals can pursue their aspirations without the threat of violence. 

Violence against women and girls cuts across ethnicity, race, class, religion, education level, and international borders.  Although statistics on the prevalence of violence vary, the scale is tremendous, the scope is vast, and the consequences for individuals, families, communities, and countries are devastating. 

An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime.  Intimate partner violence is the most common form of violence experienced by women globally.  Other forms of violence include human trafficking, sexual violence, including when used as a tactic of war, and harmful traditional practices, such as early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, and “honor” killings.  

Today’s Executive Order, which creates an interagency working group co-chaired by the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), directs departments and agencies to implement the new United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.  This Strategy was developed by the Department of State and USAID in coordination with other relevant U.S. Government departments and agencies.  The Executive Order will ensure that agencies prioritize this issue in their implementation of U.S. foreign policy, and that work in this area is evaluated.  Recognizing that this is a long-term commitment, the Order directs the interagency working group to update or revise the Strategy after three years.    
The Strategy outlines a comprehensive, multi-sector approach to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through:

·         Increased coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among United States Government agencies and with other stakeholders;
·         Enhanced integration of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts into existing United States Government work;
·         Improved collection, analysis, and use of data and research to enhance gender-based violence prevention and response efforts; and
·         Enhanced or expanded United States Government programming that addresses gender-based violence. 

In addition to the Department of State and USAID, the working group will include representatives from:

·         the Department of the Treasury;
·         the Department of Defense;
·         the Department of Justice;
·         the Department of Labor;
·         the Department of Health and Human Services;
·         the Department of Homeland Security;
·         the Office of Management and Budget;
·         the National Security Staff;
·         the Office of the Vice President;
·         the Peace Corps;
·         the Millennium Challenge Corporation;
·         the White House Council on Women and Girls; and
·         other executive departments, agencies, and offices, as designated by the Co-Chairs. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

From the Ulster Prevention Council Blog: Anabolic Steriods

The NIDA-funded 2010 Monitoring the Future Study showed that 0.5% of 8th graders, 1.0% of 10th graders, and 1.5% of 12th graders had abused anabolic steroids at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. While the numbers are relatively small compared to other substances of abuse, it is important to know about these dangerous substances and the potential consequences of using them.
Steroids are prescription drugs that are legally prescribed to treat a variety of medical conditions that cause loss of lean muscle mass, such as cancer and AIDS.

Most anabolic steroids are synthetic substances similar to the male sex hormone testosterone. They are taken orally or are injected. Testosterone not only brings out male sexual traits, it also causes muscles to grow. ("Anabolic" means growing or building.) Some people, especially athletes, abuse anabolic steroids to build muscle and enhance performance. Abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious health problems, some of which are irreversible. They can cause changes in the brain and body that increase risks for illness and they may affect moods.

Our body’s testosterone production is controlled by a group of nerve cells at the base of the brain, called the hypothalamus. It also helps control appetite, blood pressure, moods, and reproductive ability. Anabolic steroids can change the messages the hypothalamus sends to the body. This can disrupt normal hormone function.

Anabolic steroids are bad for the heart—they can increase fat deposits in blood vessels, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. They may also damage the liver. Major effects of steroid abuse can include jaundice, fluid retention and high blood pressure; Also, males risk shrinking of the testicles, lowered sperm count, baldness, breast development, and infertility. Females risk growth of facial hair, menstrual changes, male-pattern baldness, and deepened voice. Teens risk accelerated puberty changes and severe acne. Steroids can halt bone growth— which means that a teenage steroid user may not grow to his/her full adult height.  All users, but particularly those who inject the drug, risk infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Scientists are still learning about how anabolic steroids affect the brain, and in turn, behavior. Research has shown that anabolic steroids may trigger aggressive behavior in some people. Some outbursts can be so severe they have become known in the media as “roid rages.” And when a steroid abuser stops using the drugs, they can become depressed, even suicidal. Researchers think that some of the changes in behavior may be caused by hormonal changes that are caused by steroids, but there is still a lot that is not known.

Doctors never prescribe anabolic steroids for building muscle in young, healthy people. But doctors sometimes prescribe anabolic steroids to treat some types of anemia or disorders in men that prevent the normal production of testosterone.

Doctors sometimes prescribe steroids to reduce swelling. These aren’t anabolic steroids. They’re corticosteroids. Since corticosteroids don’t build muscles the way that anabolic steroids do, people don’t abuse them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

From the Ulster Prevention Council Blog: Seniors and Illicit Drug Abuse

Last week I talked about seniors and alcohol. Today I’d like to talk about seniors and illicit drug abuse. I’m again using information from www.nihseniorhealth,gov:

Although use of illicit (illegal) drugs is relatively uncommon among adults over age 65, there has recently been an increase in the percentage of people 50 and older abusing illicit drugs. In fact, the number of current illicit drug users aged 50-59 nearly tripled between 2002 and 2009, from 900,000 to more than 2.5 million. More older adults are also seeking treatment for substance abuse and having increased hospitalizations and visits to emergency rooms (up 60 percent in 55-64 year-olds from 2004 to 2009) because of illicit drug use.

These patterns and trends partially reflect the aging of the baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964). This could be for two reasons: (1) there were more people born in that generation and therefore there are now more people in that age group than before; and (2) baby boomers were more likely than previous generations to use illicit drugs in their youth, which is a risk factor for later use.
While it is relatively rare for adults over 65 to have ever used illicit drugs, baby boomers (adults in their 50s and early 60s) are more likely to have tried them. Greater lifetime exposure could lead to higher rates of abuse as baby boomers age. The most common drugs of abuse include the following
  1. marijuana
  2. illegal opioids, such as heroin
  3. illegal stimulants, such as cocaine
  4. hallucinogens, such as LSD
Marijuana, made from the cannabis plant, is the most abused illicit drug among people 50 and older. It is used for its relaxing properties but can have several negative effects, including slowed thinking and reaction time, impaired memory and balance. It can also lead to paranoia and anxiety.

Although under federal law, marijuana is illegal to use under any circumstance, in some states doctors are allowed to prescribe it for medical use. However, most health experts do not recommend smoking marijuana to treat disease, particularly given potential negative effects on the lungs and respiratory system. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications chemically similar to marijuana to treat wasting disease (extreme weight loss) in people with AIDS and to lessen symptoms associated with cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting.

Opioids are powerful drugs that at first cause feelings of euphoria, then periods of drowsiness. They can also slow breathing. Some opioids are legal and prescribed by a doctor. Others, like heroin, are illegal. All types of opioids can be addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose).
Stimulants like cocaine make people feel more alert and energetic. But they can also cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure, paranoia, panic attacks, aggression, and other problems. They are very addictive and can lead to death if too much is taken (overdose). Some stimulants are legally prescribed by a doctor to treat health conditions. Other kinds -- including cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), and methamphetamines -- are illegal.

Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs can greatly distort perceptions of reality, including making a person see, hear, and feel things that are not really there. Physical effects may include increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, sleeplessness, sweating, dizziness, and loss of appetite. Flashbacks and mood disturbances can also occur. This group of drugs includes LSD, peyote, psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"), and phencyclidine (PCP).

Age-related changes to our brains and bodies as well as typical diseases of aging could result in greater health consequences for older adults, even with lower levels of drug use. Illicit drugs affect older people differently than younger people because aging changes how the body and brain handle these substances. As people get older, the body goes through a number of changes and cannot break down and eliminate a drug as easily as it once did. As a result, the drug may remain in the body longer than it would in a younger person. Even a small amount can have a strong effect.

Abuse of illicit drugs can make an older person’s overall health worse. For example, cocaine can cause heart problems even in young abusers. The effects on older people, who may already have heart disease, could be even more severe. In addition, people who abuse illicit drugs may be exposed to diseases they otherwise wouldn’t risk (such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, a liver disease). This is because drugs compromise judgment and can lead to harmful behaviors. Older adults who take illicit drugs also have a higher risk of accidents, falls, and injuries.

Cheryl DePaolo
Director, Ulster Prevention Council

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peter Lumb Appointed to Family Services Board

Family Services Inc. has announced the appointment of Peter Lumb to the Agency’s Board of Directors. Mr. Lumb has served in numerous leadership positions in Dutchess County organizations, including Mill Street Loft, the Vassar-Warner Home and Foundation, Cunneen-Hackett Cultural Center, the Salt Point Cemetery Association Dutchess County Arts Council and the Dutchess Arts Fund.

In announcing Mr. Lumb’s appointment to the Family Services Board, Chair Sandra Ludlum remarked “We are thrilled to welcome Peter to our Board, particularly given his extensive experience in both business and leadership in the areas not for profit arena”.  Mr. Lumb attended the Harvard Business School, is retired from a career in local business endeavors, and lives in Salt Point with his wife, Elizabeth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Richard Mitchell Joins Family Services Board

June 18, 2012  
Family Services Inc. has announced the appointment of Richard Mitchell, Esq. to the Agency’s Board of Directors. Mr. Mitchell has provided extensive community leadership in numerous organizations including having served in various capacities on the boards of the American Heart Association, the Area Fund of Dutchess County, the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, United Way of Dutchess County, and Vassar Brothers Hospital Foundation, among others.

Richard also formerly served on the board of Family Services and he is welcomed back to what is now a reunited Family Service Board. In welcoming Mr. Mitchell’s return to Family Services, Board Chair Sandra Ludlum remarked “We could not be more pleased to have Richard Mitchell rejoin us, particularly given his historical perspective and his well-recognized leadership in so many aspects of community life in the Hudosn Valley”.

Mr. Mitchell is a Managing Partner in the law firm of Iseman, Cunningham, Riester & Hyde and lives in the Town of Poughkeepsie with his wife, Sue.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Power of Parenting: Empowering Parents to Act

Originally published in the Ulster Prevention Council Blog June 15, 2012

When a parent suspects that their child is using drugs and/or alcohol, intervening swiftly and appropriately is vital. Casual drug use can quickly turn into drug abuse or dependence and can lead to accidents, legal trouble and serious health issues.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) has several new resources available in their The Power of Parenting: Empowering Parents to Act series.

These brochures are suitable for prevention programs, health offices, school counselors, treatment programs, and human services agencies:

  • How to Know? I think my Child is using alcohol and/or drugs
  • What to Do? I know my Child is using alcohol and/or drugs
  • What Now? My Child is in Recovery

Digital copies of these brochures are available at
To obtain a supply of color copies of these publications, contact me at the Ulster Prevention Council; (845) 458-7406 or

Another great resource can be found online. The first link produced in a Google search of “I think my child is using drugs” is . This Partnership for a Drug Free America site has video clips and walks a parent step by step through a process of asking about substance use, looking for signs and symptoms, learning about risk factors, finding out why teens use, and exploring common drug and alcohol myths and misperceptions.

A third resource for parents is the Parents Toll-Free Helpline. Callers that feel overwhelmed, stressed or have a specific question about their child’s drug or alcohol use can speak to a Parent Specialist social worker or psychologist in English or Spanish, Monday to Friday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm ET at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373).

Cheryl DePaolo
Ulster Prevention Council

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From the Ulster Prevention Council Blog: The Dangers of Krokodil

I worked in chemical dependency treatment programs for over 25 years. A common phenomonon would occur after the overdose death of a heroin addict. Other addicts would inquire what “brand” of heroin had been used and they would seek it out, rather than avoid it.

Recently I’ve received several inquiries about Krokodil, and I’d like to share some thoughts with you. Often when adolescents hear about a new drug or drug use trend, they don’t react in the same way that you and I probably would. Their brains are wired to seek out novel experiences and they see risky behaviors as exciting, not frightening.

Therefore, after an initial exploration I decided to conduct a secondary search as a curious adolescent would, Googling terms such as “Krokodil recipes”, “how to make Krokodil” and the like. Fortunately, most of the sites turning up in the search basically said “What are you, crazy? This stuff will make your flesh fall off and kill you!”

I couldn’t find information supporting manufacture and use in the U.S.  However, Krokodil is a huge problem in Russia, and worth knowing about.
In October 2011, indications of krokodil use were found in Germany, with some media outlets claiming several dead users.

is an opiate analogue invented in 1932 in the United States that is a derivative of morphine. It has sedative and analgesic effects, and is around 8-10 times more potent than morphine. To produce the potentially deadly drug, which has a comparable effect to heroin but is much cheaper to make, users mix codeine with gasoline, paint thinner, iodine, hydrochloric acid and red phosphorous (obtained from matchboxes). The process is similar to the manufacture of methamphetamine from pseudoephedrine, but desomorphine made this way is highly impure and contaminated with various toxic and corrosive byproducts.

The street name in Russia for home-made desomorphine made in this way is "krokodil" reportedly due to the scale-like appearance of skin of its users, and it is used as a cheaper alternative to heroin.Since this mix is routinely injected immediately with little or no further purification, "krokodil" has become notorious for producing severe tissue damage, phlebitis and gangrene, sometimes requiring limb amputation in long-term users. The amount of tissue damage is so high that addicts' life expectancies are said to be as low as two to three years.

Photographs of late-stage krokodil addicts are disturbing in the extreme. Flesh goes grey and peels away to leave bones exposed. Those large pieces of dead skin are referred to as eschars, leaving the user prone to infection, amputation and other complications.

Krokodil users are instantly identifiable because of the iodine smell that infuses all their clothes.  Unlike heroin, where the hit can last for several hours, a krokodil high only lasts between 90 minutes and two hours. Given that the "cooking" process takes at least half an hour, being a krokodil addict is basically a full-time job.

The recent recession in the United States has driven many drug users - particularly teens and the poor - to find cheaper alternatives to their drug habits. Illegal street drugs are likely to be too expensive for teens that don’t usually have regular incomes. Many young people and adults have turned to abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to support their habits.
Krokodil has 3 things going for it that could attract users in the U.S.:

  • It has roughly the same effect as heroin (a depressant that affects the brain’s pleasure systems and interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain), but is more powerful.
  • The cost is three times cheaper than heroin.
  • It is easy to make (cook) from items found in most households.
Parents, families, neighbors and anyone else concerned about teens taking drugs, are strongly encouraged to take action—even if it’s no more than reading and keeping up with the latest designer drugs that young people find attractive. Students with otherwise clean drug histories often try getting high from prescription medications and OTC drugs found in the home medicine cabinet.

Too many kids think taking OTC drugs in excess won’t hurt them, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Keep ALL medicines and like items locked up where kids and young people can’t access them. Don’t leave meds in your purse, on the nightstand or on the breakfast table where a teen can easily take a few at a time without anyone noticing.

Keep paint thinners, gasoline and other products locked up in the garage where no children or teens can gain access to them. Be sure to keep track of your keys to padlocks, too. Keep a locked gas cap on your vehicles. Don’t leave matchboxes lying around and dispose of them by tearing up the striking pads.

Watch your teen for any tell-tale signs of drug use: strong odors of cleaners, solvents or anything abnormal. Listen for drug slang terms. Look for sores on the skin and notice if he or she wears long-sleeves or pants even in hot weather. It’s the little things often overlooked that will stand out as clues to the parent who’s well-aware and informed.

If you think your teen, child or other loved one is secretly (or openly) using drugs, get professional help immediately through the family doctor or local treatment center.

Cheryl De Paolo
Director of Ulster Prevention Council

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Join Us Today for Walk A Mile In Her Shoes!

Come down to Marist College today to join the fun at
Walk A Mile In Her Shoes!

Everyone is invited! Help us raise awareness and support Crime Victims. You can register as an individual or a team. We’ve got great prizes for walkers who bring in the most sponsorships.
If you don’t have a pair of heels, don’t worry we’ve got a pair of pink flip flops for you!

Date: Saturday April 21st
Time: 10:30 - 11:30 Registration 11:30 - 12:00 Walk
Location: Marist College McCann Center

The event happens rain or shine.
In case of bad weather we'll be inside the McCann Center,
so don't worry about getting your shoes wet!

Monday, April 16, 2012

From the Poughkeepsie Journal: Tougher Human Trafficking Laws Sought

Measure calls for an increase in protections, harsher penalties

Reprinted from the Poughkeepsie Journal April 13, 2012

ALBANY — Lawmakers and prosecutors are pushing for a stronger human-trafficking law that would increase protections for victims and strengthen penalties against traffickers.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, introduced a bill this week to revise the state’s 2007 law to hold sex and labor traffickers, sex-tourism operators and other human traffickers accountable.

The measure would particularly increase protections in cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

It would also close a gap in the state’s 2008 Safe Harbor Law, which prohibits prosecution and incarceration of children on prostitution charges. Children ages 16 and 17 still have been arrested and convicted in criminal court because the judicial system has some discretion about transferring cases to Family Court, Paulin said Thursday.

Prosecutors, members of law enforcement and organizations that serve victims of human trafficking have pointed out other gaps and loopholes in the law that make it more difficult to catch traffickers, she said.

“My bill builds on the 2007 anti-trafficking law by increasing accountability for the criminals, the buyers and the traffickers who are fueling the underground growth of this massive industry,” Paulin said.

The legislation would create the felony sex offenses of first-, second- and third-degree aggravated patronizing a minor so penalties would conform to those for statutory rape. Under existing law, patronizing a minor for prostitution is a class E felony. Rape is a class B felony, a more serious offense.

“People who buy sex from children should face the same penalty as people who commit statutory rape of children,” said Dorchen Leidholdt, director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services at Sanctuary for Families in New York City.

The legislation would classify sex trafficking as a class B violent felony, which carries more penalties than a B felony, as it is categorized under current law. It would increase the penalty for labor trafficking from a class D felony to a class B felony.

Sen. Steve Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, said he would introduce the bill in his house, “knowing full well that it’s going to need some work.”

New York has made progress, but there is room for improvement on human trafficking. “Clearly there’s more that needs to be done. It’s just how do we get there,” he said.

Paulin said she and Saland put in everything they want in the bill and will begin the negotiating process.

The bill would remove New York’s requirement that prosecutors prove coercion in sex-trafficking cases involving children. New York’s Safe Harbor Act recognizes that prostituted individuals younger than 18 are exploited youth, as does federal law.