Page 1








a letter from the firm

John T. Bair editorial

dear friends,

Milestone Consulting is pleased to provide you with the latest issue of The Safety Report. This publication is produced in collaboration with a growing community of respected legal professionals, industry experts and consumer advocates called The Injury Board, all committed to improving everyone’s quality of life by promoting safety. At Milestone, we believe that injured plaintiffs deserve strategies to ensure a lifetime of financial security. We advise plaintiffs and their attorneys on postsettlement issues including government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, wealth preservation and annuities. In this issue of The Safety Report, you’ll find information that explores safety in a number of different areas, including your health and wellness, lifestyle, family, home and travel. On the financial front, we’ll investigate the safest options for investing and explore how getting a second opinion on a Medicare Set-Aside allocation can allow a plaintiff to retain more of their liability or Workers’ Compensation settlement. As always, our goal is to arm you with useful, practical information for protecting your clients and loved ones. If you know someone who would appreciate a copy of The Safety Report or who may benefit from our representation, then please do not hesitate to refer them to us.

e d i to r - i n - c h i e f

Stephanie Andre a s s o c i at e e d i t o r

Brittany Monbarren a r t d i r e c to r

Keith Woods senior designer

Anthony James

Milestone Consulting, LLC 737 Main Street, Suite 300 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676

From all of us at Milestone, enjoy a safe and happy autumn.

John T. Bair Founder/Member Milestone Consulting, LLC in life, there comes

Toll Free: 855-836-2676

a t i m e t o m ov e f o r wa r d t o t h e next milestone


ON THE WEB Want to read The Safety Report but left your copy at home? Need to share an article with a friend or colleague? Then check out for all things safety.

IN YOUR HANDS We offer two ways of viewing the magazine online—in html and our digital flipbook. Through this version, you can literally “flip” through the magazine, print articles and even share the full magazine version with others via email or social media.

WE ’ RE SOCIAL While on, you can also follow our latest tweets and Facebook updates. @thesafetyreport

start your team at

Š 2012 March of Dimes Foundation













The New ‘War on Drugs’: Prescription Meds

Drug abuse now kills more Americans per year than homicide or car accidents. It has become the fastest-growing cause of accidental death in the U.S. But the term “drug abuse” is broad. If you delve a bit deeper, you’ll see that much of this war is now fought on different turfs: the doctor’s office, your local pharmacy and even college campuses, where the use of prescription pills is rampant.



The Lowdown on the HPV Vaccine


Where’s Your Money the Safest?


The Dos and Don’ts of...Home Improvement Projects


WHEN GOOD MEDICINES BECOME BAD by Ellie Cachette Inventory management is an art in itself: to know how much to ship, when, time to destinations, the right cost at the right time. Add risky products or pharmaceutical products to this process and you have a lethal combination of responsibility, but hopefully, financial rewards for offering something unique. However, what about when something goes wrong? Or worse, what if the users or consumers aren’t aware of all the effects? This year, more than 300 recall instances of pharmaceuticalrelated items will occur: some life-saving drugs, sometimes hospital administered, other times over the counter. Pharmaceutical production is up nearly 30% over the past few years. In fact, according to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s 2013 Biopharmaceutical Research Profile, research and development (R&D) in the consumer medicines space was estimated at $48.5 billion in 2012; 4 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

comparatively, in 1980, it was estimated at $2 billion. At more than 5,400 medicines now in clinical development, there are no signs of the pace slowing down. For an industry that has and will continue to see massive growth, safety becomes an even more important issue. For many pharmaceutical companies, issues with factories or conditions can lead to large recalls on non-prescription or OTC (over the counter) drugs in which the volume of units affected are spread across the globe and within hundreds of retailers and retail locations. Often, “compounders”—or locations that act like high-scale pharmacies—have also been overlooked by federal regulators, such as the FDA, in lieu of state regulators that can be illequipped or not understanding of compliance needed to ensure safety. This means that when issues hit a compounder,


48% O F T H E A M E R I C A N P O P U L AT I O N IS ON ONE OR MORE P R E S C R I P T I O N M E D I C AT I O N S . it can affect multiple brands and companies as was the case in August 2013 when more than 56 compounders were investigated, triggering all lots of 45+ different products, according to a FiercePharma report. In some cases, the products can be household aspirin; in other cases, it could be more complex medicines such as Nimodine, which had more than 46,000 cartons of the brain hemorrhage treatment recalled due to crystallization. Just imagine how many medicines are in the average consumer’s medicine cabinet? “Communication is critical in OTC recalls to ensure that the product is removed from the marketplace in rapid and accurate fashion,” says Mike Rozembajgier, vice president of recalls for ExpertRECALL. “This needs to occur through multiple channels to accommodate all affected parties and limit confusion within the crisis.” According to the FDA, more than 48% of the American population is on one or more prescription medications and 1 in 5 Americans are believed to be on three or more prescription medications. Add a few medicines for the common cold or headache and there are a lot of potentially lethal or harmful items loaded in the medicine cabinets of every consumer home. The problem isn’t quality per se; there are several large hurdles to deal with especially in regards to volume.

While recalls are initiated faster than ever, some doctors believe recalls can be activated too soon, that clinical trials are limited and often a drug should be prescribed more diligently. For example, certain drugs not prescribed to those who are pregnant or have other known risk factors for particular side effects. But, with lives on the line, reaction is often pushed more than prevention. For some doctors, this is seen as a disservice to well-made drugs, explains Kenneth Andrews, M.D., of NYU Medical Center. “What you don’t want is for a drug that is effective in one population being removed from the market because it may adversely affect a particular segment of the population,” he says. “A classic example would be thalidomide, an antinausea medication that resulted in tragic birth defects for thousands of children born in the 50s and 60s. This medication was subsequently removed from the U.S. market, but is still a very good antinausea medication that could be used to greatly benefit nonpregnant cancer patients. “As all medications have side effects, the goal should be to determine for which populations the benefits outweigh the risks from a given medication,” he adds, “thus allowing doctors to make the most judicious use of the drugs available.” Supposing recalls are simply an exchange for fast development and

getting life-saving drugs in the hands of consumers faster, they also lead to criticism of advertising and social media practices. Most sales departments have full-time marketers to approve and distribute content related to brands. But for medicines and highly regulated pharmaceutical items, the approval process can take much longer to meet industry standards, putting companies at an disadvantage competing with fastmoving social media channels, such as Twitter or Facebook. A consumer complaint could go viral in the hundreds of thousands before legal even approves a recall notice, let alone what could be communicated to others online or publicly. The issues with a particular drug could even be unknown to a manufacturer while trending online with consumers. How do you ensure accurate information is disseminated with companies that are regulated, but consumers are not? Said one unnamed executive of an international pharmaceutical company, “It’s unfair. You try to do the right thing, but in a regulated space you often need approvals from so many areas it makes it impossible to play on the offensive.” Consumers, on the other hand, are seemingly oblivious to understanding medication side effects or doses, with 70% of patients actually taking their prescriptions as prescribed. Take three different prescriptions, taken at 70% accuracy, and now we have high odds of something going wrong and public health being put at risk, instead of treated. While social media growth shows no signs of slowing down, apps for safety and information are nearly nonexistent. In a world in which a recall can be one click away, how are pharmaceutical companies expected to keep up? “Social media creates significant opportunities to manage the message in the marketplace and ensure it is accurate,” says Rozembajgier, whose company has been handling many of the increased pharma-related recalls. “[However,] it must be managed carefully as the speed of social media can result in greater damage if bad information percolates for a period of time.”


Bullying STOPs HERE


NO MATTER™ who you are, what you look like, your sexual preferences, your beliefs, we are ALL the same, we are ALL people, NO MATTER! That means no one should ever be bullied in any way -- NO MATTER! Everyone should be treated with kindness and respect … NO MATTER! Every kid and teen has a choice in how they treat others… NO MATTER!

A national anti-bullying and cyberbullying program for kids and teens 1.877.602.N0BULLY (8559) © STOMP Out Bullying


H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

DEPRESSION IN KIDS: reading the signs by Jessica Hoerman

arents want the best for their children. They want them to be safe, happy, healthy and well-adjusted. Childhood has long been romanticized as a time of fun and fantasy, boundless imagination, energy and creativity. So what are parents to think when their children drift from this picture of childhood bliss? Recognizing depression in children is not easy and it is often misunderstood. Even if suffering from depression, children can continue to develop if parents can recognize signs at an early stage and understand when to seek professional help.



Most clinicians rely on the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to diagnose their patients, which then informs their treatment plan. According the DSM, clinical depression is defined as depressed mood and loss of interest in activities, for at least two weeks in addition to at least four criterion of impaired functioning. For children, these symptoms are delineated above.

home » Persistent sadness, tearfulness » Markedly diminished interest in activities previously enjoyed » Sleep disturbances » Appetite fluctuation » Low self-esteem (I can’t, I’m not good at this, I’ll mess this up) » Increased frequency of tantrums, greater frustration over small conflicts or disappointments » Preoccupation with death— including death of self or others. May include selfharming behaviors. » Increased feelings of worry and fear

school » Withdraw from peers » Difficulty concentrating » Difficulty following directions » Isolation from peers » Increased anxiety and irritability » “Problem behaviors,” such as fighting/arguing


The complicated nature of diagnosing children or adolescents with depression is that their presentation of symptoms often looks different from that of adults due to developmental stage. Symptoms of depression in children often vary by context—home vs. school. C AU S E

The cause of depression in children is both complex and unclear. Research seems to indicate that depression has a genetic component. Depression in children can occur in a single event or reoccur in depressive episodes. The presentation and duration of depressive symptoms are dependent on a multitude of factors, a combination unique to the individual child.

Depression in children can occur in a single event or reoccur in depressive episodes. P R E VA L E N C E

According to data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1.9 million or 8% of the population aged 12-17 had a major depressive episode in the past year, with girls being more likely to develop depression than boys. T R E AT M E N T O P T I O N S

There are two major categories of treatment for depression: psychological and pharmacological. Psychological Psychological treatment includes therapy for the child or in some instances, the child and the family. In individual therapy, the therapist works with the child to identify the root cause of the depression and helps the child to develop healthy coping skills. In family therapy, the goal is to provide the family with a forum to practice healthy communication, process concerns and learn new skills, all of which will benefit the child and the family as a whole. Group therapy is also used with children and adolescents to normalize their experiences and cultivate peer support. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a therapeutic modality that addresses thoughts and behaviors, has the largest breadth of research for effectiveness in treating depression in children. Pharmacological According to the FDA’s Medication Guide for Children and Adolescents, fluoxetine (Prozac), an SSRI, is the only FDA-approved medication for treating pediatric depression, though healthcare providers may


suggest other medications based on the medical history of the child and his or her family. While medication has demonstrated an improvement in symptoms, it is important to obtain all information about possible side effects and potential medication interactions. If parents or teachers notice unusual changes in mood or behavior, the healthcare provider should be contacted immediately. The child should never be taken off his or her medication without first consulting a healthcare provider, doing so can produce additional side effects. Children receiving medication should have frequent and regular visits with their healthcare provider to ensure proper dosage and diminish the risk of suicide that accompanies anti-depressant medication. Combination Treatment The landmark Treatment for Adolescent Depression Study (TADS) conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2004, found that a combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most effective treatment for children and adolescents diagnosed with depression. Of their sample size of 439 youths (ages 12-17), 71% demonstrated improvement after 12 weeks when receiving both medication and CBT, 61 percent demonstrated improvement with fluoxetine only and 43% demonstrated improvement with CBT only. The takeaway for parents is: you have options. The best thing you can do for your child is to be their biggest supporter as well as their biggest advocate as you navigate the treatment process. Ask your pediatrician for the best recommendations for mental health treatment in your area. Come prepared to that first appointment with a list of questions, concerns and observations. The more information you can give the healthcare provider, the better. Continue to be vigilant to ensure your child receives the best possible care.


Say Goodbye to Gluten Necessary or not, learn more about this lifestyle change by Anthony Leone

ne day about nine years ago my dad gives me call. He tells me he has been diagnosed with celiac sprue. Naturally, my first question was whether he would be OK. He assured me that it was a condition that could be treated with strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. My next questions were, “what is gluten?” “Celiac sprue?“ I had never heard of either term before that day. So here’s what we know: celiac sprue is an autoimmune disease that triggers an immune response in a person’s small intestine when gluten is eaten. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, particularly wheat, barley and rye. Because the body cannot digest gluten properly, celiac sprue causes a malabsorption of nutrients. “By the way, Anthony,” dad says, “because this condition can be hereditary, you and eventually, your children, will have to be tested.” So what are the symptoms of this condition? Most commonly, they include a wide range of gastrointestinal complaints, such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and weight loss. The symptoms, however, vary from person to person. In fact, some people, like me, can be asymptomatic. Despite none of the common symptoms, I went ahead and was tested anyway. Days later, I was told that I did, in fact, test positive for celiac sprue. Just a few years ago, celiac sprue was one of the 10 most undiagnosed diseases in America, and at the time, even my doctor was not terribly familiar with the condition. To his credit, he consulted a specialist and quickly referred me to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy that indeed confirmed the condition. I have strictly adhered to a gluten-free diet ever since. Much has changed over the last nine years. Eating gluten free has become a more-than-strict diet for those with celiac sprue and certain other medical conditions. Now eating gluten free has become a popular choice for many people, even when it may not be medically required. Many restaurants now have dedicated a gluten-free menu; others carry gluten-free bread, pasta and pizza, and even gluten-free beer.

minerals to sustain weight. Some people actually lose weight when they start a gluten-free diet. The reason is both the extreme change in the type of food and the way one eats gluten free. As gluten-free options have evolved and improved over the years, people on a gluten-free diet can now eat virtually any food if it is appropriately modified and prepared without gluten. These foods are typically less processed than what we usually buy in many supermarkets. It is refreshing to be able know what the ingredients are in the foods we buy. One of the downsides of the gluten-free diet is the cost. While most major supermarkets offer options, the greatest variety usually exists at smaller specialty markets. These markets tend to be more expensive. Because some of your favorite gluten-free products may only be at a specialty store, you may find that you have to shop at more than one store, which becomes more time consuming. THE COMMITMENT

For some, it is tough to commit to a gluten-free diet. For me, the long-term health risks justify the sacrifice. Still, there can be certain nutrients missing in gluten-containing foods. Because some other nutrients are sacrificed and because people with celiac disease are often nutrient deficient, they should consider the appropriate vitamin supplement to their diet. To ensure you follow a gluten-free diet, it is an absolute must that you read food labels carefully. In 2004, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, which requires food makers to identify the eight-most common food allergens, including gluten-containing ingredient of wheat. That law does not, however, specifically require identifying gluten in food labeling. For the past nine years, I have strictly adhered to a gluten-free diet, and overall, I feel healthier. More importantly, my kids have been tested for celiac sprue and, at this point, do not have it.

T H E U P S A N D D OW N S O F A G L U T E N - F R E E D I E T

There are advantages and disadvantages to a gluten-free diet. First and foremost, if you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or certain other medical conditions, you will feel healthier eating gluten free. The long-term danger, particularly the increased risk of intestinal cancer, warrants strict adherence to the gluten-free diet. Secondly, you may gain or lose weight. Some people with severe celiac disease gain weight because once on a glutenfree diet, their bodies can again absorb necessary vitamins and



For more on gluten-free living, check out the sites below: @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 9


Colonoscopies Scary, But Better Than the Alternative by Bret Hanna

of the small intestine. Patients are placed on their left side and sedated for comfort while the physician slowly inserts a flexible scope with a light and camera affixed to it through the rectum into the colon. The scope also inflates the colon with air to give the physician the best view possible of the lining of the colon. If polyps are found, inflamed tissue is identified or anything appears abnormal, the scope can remove tissue for biopsy. The scope can also stop bleeding in the colon through medication administration or by cauterizing the bleeding tissue. Potential complications from colonoscopies include bleeding and A c o lo n o s c o p y a l low s a p h ys i c i a n t o lo o k i n s i d e t h e e n t i r e l a rg e i n t es t i n e , f ro m t h e r ec t u m t h ro u g h t h e c o lo n t o t h e e n d o f t h e s m a l l i n t es t i n e .

There has been a media blitz over the last decade or so urging screening for colorectal cancer, and for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age and the risk is greater for men than woman. But in both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths. That said, the majority of colorectal cancers and deaths can be prevented or successfully treated with early detection through screening tests like colonoscopies. The current recommendation from the medical community is colonoscopies for those over 50, because 90% of new cases and 94% of deaths from colorectal cancer occur in those over 50. That is an incidence rate 15 times higher than in adults between the ages of 20 and 49. Despite the statistics and 50-year-old age recommendation, only about half of those over 50 surveyed have had one. The reasons probably vary, such as lack of insurance, lack of awareness of the effectiveness in preventing colorectal cancer, etc., but the most likely reasons are the perception of the unpleasantness and surgical nature of the procedure. A colonoscopy allows a physician to look inside the entire large intestine, from the rectum through the colon to the end 10 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

puncturing the colon, but complications are rare. The alternative to prevention and detection, however, is not pretty. The progression from benign to malignant cancer can result in complications including growth of cancer cells through tissue in the rectum and colon. That can result in cells shedding into the circulatory system, which allows for metastasis to other organs such as the lungs and liver. In other words, left unchecked, colorectal cancer can lead to serious compromise of the digestive system and other organs, significant pain and related complications, and death. Despite the prospect of undetected colorectal cancer, I can understand the reticence to have a colonoscopy. I’ve been there. Although I have not yet arrived at the magic age of 50, my primary care physician referred me for a colonoscopy because of family history risk factors. That seemed to make sense but for someone who has never been anesthetized or suffered more serious injuries than a broken finger and cuts requiring stitches, I was not looking forward to the prospect. I bit the bullet and had it done last year. Looking back, the scariest part was the preparation. I don’t mean the preparation by the nurse immediately prior to the procedure, I mean the preparation required for the 48 hours prior to the procedure. The goal is to create a clear path of travel for the scope and that takes a lot of unpleasant work on the part of the patient. It starts with drinking huge quantities of horrible-tasting laxative liquids. That is followed by laxative pills. That is followed by a ban on food and a limitation to clear liquids after noon on the day prior to the procedure. The night prior to the procedure was one of the longest I can remember with many sleep interruptions. The procedure itself, however, was a piece of cake. In fact, I don’t remember anything after the nurse said she was going to push the plunger on the anesthesia. The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room listening to the gastroenterologist tell me that I don’t need to return for 10 years. Music to my years and knowing my colorectal cancer status made the preparation more than worth it. As soon as I heard the good news, I left the surgical center and got something to eat.



The Ins and Outs of Injury Prevention by Corey J. Andres The Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 7,100 children ages 19 and under were treated in hospital emergency departments for sports and recreation-related injuries each day in 2009. That translates to 2.6 million children per year. Participation in sports and recreation plays a vital role in the development of youths. Potential for injury, minor or catastrophic, is ever present. Steps must be taken by players, parents, coaches, administration and league officials to identify and mitigate risks that can lead to injury. Many leagues throughout the country rely heavily on volunteers. Parents often step into roles as league ad-

ministrators and coaches as a way to give back to a sport and/or their community, but volunteers don’t always receive the proper training required to maximize safety. No amount of training can eliminate the bumps and bruises from competitive sports, but there are specific steps that can and should be taken to prevent catastrophic injuries. Factors contributing to catastrophic injuries generally fall into three categories: Equipment Use & Maintenance, Site & Facility Safety, and Coaching & Supervision. As a parent, it is crucially important to confirm that youth leagues follow best practices to ensure the safety of children. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 11


When was the last time the child’s helmet was reconditioned? Was the child properly fitted in the helmet and other protective equipment? Parents are often led to believe that the coach and league have provided “safe” equipment to their son or daughter. Without a proper fit, the risk of injury increases dramatically. There is an expectation that administration will inspect and repair all safety equipment before it’s issued at the beginning of the sports season. Administrators are also responsible for ensuring that athletes are issued equipment that is clean and fits appropriately. Coaches have a responsibility to regularly inspect the condition of equipment, provide their athletes with training on how to safely and appropriately use the equipment, and address any concerns raised by the athletes and their families.


A well-maintained facility contributes to children’s safety. Tree roots, sprinkler heads, and rocks can become tripping hazards and poorly maintained onsite equipment can be a cause of unnecessary injury. Leagues and coaches must actively identify potential hazards and take steps to eliminate the hazards and/or select locations and activities designed to minimize the risk of injury. The National Alliance for Youth Sports states that coaches and league administrators have the responsibility to inspect and ensure proper maintenance of facilities. Implementation of this guideline includes a responsibility to develop and follow procedures for inspecting playing facilities for hazards before every youth sports activity and instituting procedures for continual inspections of all playing equipment. Facilities and fields must not be assumed to be in optimal working condition.


To be a youth sports coach requires knowledge and ability beyond the subject sport. To help ensure that children are able to learn, grow, and compete in a safe environment, coaching certification programs cover various topics such as sports safety, equipment and facility use, injury prevention, and emergency preparedness. A coach for youth sports must have the skills and abilities required to supervise participants, organize practice sessions and competitions in a safe manner, identify and address site/facility hazards, troubleshoot equipment issues, and ensure that children have a safe ride home at the end of practice. Background and reference checks are a vital first step in keeping kids safe. Due diligence by the league or governing body can minimize the concern of having to protect children from their coaches. After qualified and responsible adults have been identified as coaches, the league or governing body should provide training specific to the safety factors of their given sport. Topics addressed must include: teaching skill progression, matching players according to size and ability, teaching techniques designed to minimize the injury from falling and/or collisions, providing for acclimation, hydration and rest/recovery for participants. Sports can be the best or worst thing to happen to a child. Ask the hard questions to league officials and coaches to ensure safety is a priority. 12 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

Nutrition V O I C E S

Is On The Menu Does it matter to you and how can we make it matter to everyone? by Craig L. Kelley and Christina L. Koch, ACP

As I sat down for lunch at Applebee’s, I examined the menu, hoping to find a healthy salad or chicken breast with steamed vegetables. However, I also noted that caloric values were listed next to certain menu items. As I thought about what I wanted to eat, I kept coming back to the items on the 600 calorie or less menu. I began to wonder how many consumers did the same thing while deciding on their lunch or dinner choices and remembered a time when no nutritional information was provided on menus. Consumers simply were forced to rely on their own knowledge and common sense to make healthy menu choices. Although times are different now and we are offered the advantage of additional information for our choices, we still must make the conscious choice for good health. Twenty years ago, the “Nutrition Facts” label was introduced to provide consumers with important information including the serving size, the number of servings in the package, the number of calories per serving, and the amount of nutrients for each serving of a packaged food. With more and more consumers focusing on low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium or low sugar dietary needs, nutritional information has become more important. Unfortunately, many consumers miscalculate the number of calories and nutritional content when there is more than one serving per container. When dining out, we still had not received the benefit of the same nutritional information to assist us in making good nutritional choices. T H E S TA R T O F E D U C AT I O N

A 2008 health impact assessment conducted in Los Angeles County suggested annual weight gain in the county’s population could be reduced by 39% if menu labeling led to just 10% of major chain restaurant patrons ordering meals

moderately lower in calories. At that time, the number of U.S. restaurants that provided nutrition information was increasing, however, the nutrition information was largely not available at the point of purchase (on the menu). As most consumers were underestimating the number of calories and fat in restaurant foods, it became apparent more oversight was necessary to ensure accurate information be provided at the point of purchase. Menu labeling was thought to reduce consumers’ intentions to purchase items high in calories and fat. Some research has found that menu labeling at the point of purchase modestly improves a consumer’s selection of healthier menu items, however, other studies have shown labeling may lead to higher energy intake among select population subgroups, such as college-age men. The increase in the obesity rate in the United States made it necessary to take a closer look at requiring restaurants to provide point of sale nutritional information. A R I G H T TO C H O O S E

In March 2010, Congress passed a national law requiring chain restaurants or dining establishments with 20 or more locations to post nutritional information on menus or menu boards. This change allows Americans the freedom to choose better options when dining out. What nutritional information is available on menus? It depends on the restaurant. Most fast-food establishments print their nutritional information on fliers within the restaurant or on their websites. But does this really change how a consumer eats when dining out? Some restaurants and nutritionists promote the idea of nutrition labels and the offering of low-calorie meals as valuable tools in fighting the growing obesity epidemic in this country, however, many restaurants claim the diners who actually use @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 13

those are already health conscious. In fact, there has been no marked deduction in the sales of high-fat food items in restaurants, such as The Cheesecake Factory, Chipotle, Five Guys and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. In a recent New York University study, researchers noted that even in those consumers who indicated they noted the calorie information, their food choices did not actually include fewer calories. Similar results were noted in a study in King County, Wash., who also had implemented mandatory menu labeling. Despite the labeling, studies have shown that a better deterrent for healthier eating was to impose a higher price for the less nutritious meals. This indicates that we, as consumers, find the long-term consequences of eating unhealthy less tangible than the short-term consequences of paying a higher price for the unhealthy meal. Further complicating the obesity epidemic is the fact many restaurants have increased their serving sizes. Larger serving sizes offered consumers yet another obstacle to being able to track nutritional information and make healthier choices. In February 2012, a consumer survey of 3,390 people addressed the question of whether the menu labeling was viewed as an effective tool in helping make smarter nutrition choices while dining outside the home. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland published its findings of this study in July 2012.

The findings revealed an overwhelming demand by consumers (96%) for calorie menu labeling in all or some food outlets, with 89% saying calories should be displayed beside the price of food or drink menu items right on the menu. What’s more, 84% of consumers said calorie labeling of alcoholic beverages should apply as well. In contrast, three of four food service businesses, such as restaurants and fast-food chain establishments, were in favor of calorie menu labeling in all or some food establishments. Once food service businesses considered the technical aspects of implementing the labeling, including time and cost involved, support for menu labeling dropped to 50%.

There’s Always an App for That: Dining Out Options

In addition to the nutritional information offered on the menu, there are many smartphone applications that offer assistance when dining out: Restaurant Nutrition is an application that allows you to view nutritional facts for restaurant menus, search for foods at restaurants and track your caloric intake and goals. Nutrition Lookup also allows you to determine how many calories are in certain meals at restaurants and add your totals. Restaurant Calorie Counter for Dummies is a very handy program as it actually includes other nutritional information besides your calories and allows you to make notes to remember later. You can search by restaurant, food or calories. It is also a handy application to have if you are tracking your fat, sodium, carbohydrates, protein or sugar intake. Don’t forget to county your water. Eight Glasses a Day helps you keep track of how many glasses of water you drink each day, as well as giving you fun facts about water. There are also other applications for non-restaurant food tracking, such as Calorie Counter, TheCarrot, Lose It! or Tap & Track. Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem also have their own trackers.


When Is It Time to Stage an Intervention? by Stephanie Andre

Coming to terms with the fact that you have someone in your life who needs help is hard enough. Taking the next step to actually contact an interventionist and move forward is certainly another. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling or maybe even food, if it seems like your loved one cannot stop his/ her behavior once it begins—and the abuse takes over completely—it’s probably time for professional help. What’s more, watch for a lack of concern over serious life problems, such as arrest, illness or job and/or relationship loss. He or she is obviously in denial about the problem(s). Don’t enable his/her behavior; the best thing to do may be to contact a professional. I N T E RV E N T I O N 101

You may know your loved one needs help, but do you know what is involved in the actual intervention? It’s typically a carefully planned process involving family and friends and sometimes colleagues, clergy members or others who care about a person struggling with addiction, according to the Mayo Clinic. During the intervention, these people gather together to confront the person about the consequences of addiction and ask him or her to accept treatment. The intervention: » Provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on the addicted person and loved ones » Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear steps, goals and guidelines » Spells out what each person will do if a loved one refuses to accept treatment People with addiction often don't see the negative effects their behavior has on them and others. It's important not to wait until they "want help." Instead, think of an intervention as giving your loved one a clear opportunity to make changes before things get really bad. G O I N G I N TO T H E I N T E RV E N T I O N

If after looking at all the variables you decide this is the best course of action, it’s imperative that you do things 16 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

the right way—as you may only have one chance to get it right. Following are some tips, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic, for preparing and executing an intervention. 1. Plan. A family member or friend proposes an intervention and forms a planning group. It's best if you consult with an intervention professional (interventionist), a qualified professional counselor or a social worker when planning an intervention. An intervention is a highly charged situation and has the potential to cause anger, resentment or a sense of betrayal. If you have any concerns that the intervention may trigger anger or violent behavior, consult an intervention professional before taking any action. 2. Gather information. The group members find out about the extent of the loved one's problem and research the condition and treatment programs. The group may make arrangements to enroll the loved one in a specific treatment program. 3. Form the intervention team. The planning group forms a team that will personally participate in the intervention. Team members set a date and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured treatment plan. Do not let your loved one know what you are doing until the day of the intervention.

A successful intervention must be planned carefully to work as intended. A poorly planned intervention can worsen the situation; your loved one may feel attacked and become isolated or more resistant to treatment.

Quick Tips from a Professional

4. Decide on specific consequences. If your loved one doesn't accept treatment, each person on the team needs to decide what action he or she will take. Examples include asking your loved one to move out or taking away contact with children. 5. Write down what to say. Each member of the intervention team should detail specific incidents where the addiction has resulted in problems, such as emotional or financial issues. Discuss the toll of your loved one's behavior while still expressing care and the expectation that your loved one can change. 6. The intervention meeting. Without revealing the reason, the loved one is asked to the intervention site. Members of the core team then take turns expressing their concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member will say what specific changes they will make if the addicted person doesn't accept the plan. 7. Follow up. Involving a spouse, family members or others is critical in helping someone with an addiction stay in treatment and avoid relapsing. This can include changing patterns of everyday living to make it easier to avoid destructive behavior, offering to participate in counseling with your loved one, seeking your own therapist and recovery support, and knowing what to do if relapse occurs.

In addition to the big steps and preparation that goes into an intervention, you also need to look at the small things. Read these tips from professional interventionist Joani Gammil: 1.Exude your concern, always remembering your loved one is sick, not bad. 2.Start with love. Hug the person right away. Making positive physical contact is a good way to begin, bonding with your concern. 3.Do not go off road and adlib remarks. This could start a fight. 4.Keep your body language nonconfrontational. No crossed arms. 5.Don't act superior in any way, with comments such as, "I can control my drinking, why can’t you?� @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 17

Common Sense Matters Preventing birth defects when you can by Stephanie Andre


et’s start with the basics: Not all birth defects can be prevented. However, if there’s even the slightest chance you could prevent your unborn child from having one wouldn’t you do everything you could to ensure his/her health? Taking care of yourself and knowing your limitations during pregnancy is where you need to start. Here are some steps, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), a woman can take to get ready for a healthy pregnancy: Take folic acid daily. Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida). Don’t drink alcohol (common sense, please!). When a woman drinks alcohol, so does her unborn baby. Alcohol in the woman’s blood passes through the placenta to her baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Don’t smoke (again, common sense). The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth, certain birth defects (cleft lip or cleft palate) and infant death. Even being around cigarette smoke puts a woman and her unborn baby at risk for problems. 18 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

Don’t use “street” drugs (common sense rule #3). A woman who uses illegal—or “street”—drugs during pregnancy can have a baby who is born premature; is low birth weight; or has other health problems, such as birth defects. Before taking any meds, chat with your doctor. Taking certain medications during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects, but the safety of many medications taken by pregnant women has been difficult to determine. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should not stop taking medications you need or begin taking new medications without first talking with your doctor. Prevent infections. Some infections that a woman can get during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn baby. Learn how to help prevent infections (sidebar). Make sure you’re vaccinated. Many vaccinations are safe and recommended during pregnancy, but some are not. Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep a woman and her baby healthy. Keep your diabetes in check. Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the baby. It can also cause serious complications for the woman. Watch your weight (shh, you don’t really need to “eat for two.” A woman who is obese before pregnancy is at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. Obesity also increases the

risk of several serious birth defects for the baby. Go to the doctor. A woman should be sure to see her doctor when planning a pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as she thinks that she is pregnant. It is important to see the doctor regularly throughout pregnancy. Staying as stress-free as possible during pregnancy is important. Doing all you can to ensure a healthy baby is a great way to start.

Staving Off Infection One important way to prevent birth defects is to stay infection free. Here are some simple tips for doing so. » Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and running water are not available, you can use alcoholbased hand gel. » Try not to share forks, cups, and food with young children. » Wash your hands often when around children. » Cook your meat until it’s well done. » Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it. » Do not touch or change dirty cat litter. » Stay away from wild or pet rodents and their droppings. » Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as HIV and hepatitis B, and protect yourself from them. » Avoid people who have an infection. » Ask your doctor about group B strep.

Taking a Closer Look Into the HPV Vaccine by Brittany Monbarren

ince the release of the two Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, there has been plenty of controversy. The debate on whether or not parents should get their daughters vaccinated against HPV has been one of the most controversial issues in recent times. Mostly because it involves a sensitive subject—teenage sexual health. For those who are unfamiliar with HPV and the HPV vaccines, here’s a little background information. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that approx. 79 million Americans, women and men, are infected with the virus, and each year, 14 million people become newly infected. More than 40 different types of the virus have been found. The infections caused by HPV vary depending on the strain. Many strains are harmless and will go away, others are latent, meaning you can exhibit no symptoms and pass it to someone without knowing, but some are even worse. Some strains can cause serious health problems like developing genital warts or cancer—cervical, anal or oral. Currently, there are two vaccines on the market that are approved by the U.S. and licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Gardasil and Cervarix. The vaccine is given in a series of three shots over a six month period and are designed to help prevent infection from both high-risk strains


and low-risk strains. Both vaccines are available for women, only Gardasil is available for men. While the HPV vaccine can help reduce health problems and have been approved by the FDA, the debate still continues on whether or not the vaccine is necessary or safe. TAKING A CLOSER LOOK

Since the Pap test was introduced in 1970, doctors have not only been able to detect cervical cancer earlier but detect it while it is still treatable, saving many lives. However, even with the advances in medicine, there are still many women who are unable to get regular Pap tests, leading to untreatable cancer. According to the CDC, “every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S.” To help guard against one of the causes of cervical cancer, HPV, Gardasil and Cervarix was introduced in 2007. The HPV vaccine is designed to guard against four of the HPV strains—two that have been shown to cause cervical cancer and two that have been linked to genital wart cases. As for the safety of the vaccine, the CDC and FDA uses three systems to continually monitor the vaccines. The systems can detect any rare events that are not identified during clinical trials. Although, the vaccine helps guard against health problems and the CDC and FDA performs intense testing and

“Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and almost 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S.” - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

trials, there are still downfalls to the vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t prevent all strains of HPV and it does not treat HPV. You must receive the shot before being sexual active or before developing HPV. The CDC has reported claims of adverse events. The majority of them following HPV vaccination including pain, swelling, fever, dizziness, fainting and nausea. The serious adverse events reported have been rare. Whether you are a parent deciding on if your child should receive the vaccine or if you’re an adult debating on receiving the vaccine, it is important to research and educate yourself before deciding. Your health and safety is the most important matter.


Behind this SUV is a group of daycare children. Not one of these children can be seen by the driver behind the wheel.

WORKING TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE IN AND AROUND VEHICLES Before you turn the key‌make sure you can see! Most drivers are unaware of the large and very dangerous blindzone that exists behind all vehicles. Every week at least 50 children are seriously injured or killed after being backed over because a driver was unable to see them behind their vehicle.

Help save the life of a precious child Donate to


FOLLOW US: @KidsAndCars


SOCIAL MEDIA: Do You Know Who’s Watching You? by Mark Bello

do you remember the days

you would pick up the telephone or meet a friend for coffee or lunch to simply chat or plan an event? Now with advancements in technology, social media has become a part of our everyday lives. Nearly everyone belongs to at least one social network— Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube, for example—where they spend anywhere from one to several hours per day posting photos, instant messages, tweets; they “check in,” and share any number of glimpses into their personal daily lives.


While social networking has become a staple of social interaction that was previously non-existent, it also poses a great deal of potential danger. The very nature of such sites encourages users to provide a certain amount of personal information, but when deciding how much information to reveal, people may not exercise the same amount of caution on a website as they would when meeting someone in person. Most people don’t realize that

When you post comments on Facebook or send tweets on Twitter, they do not disappear after your conversation has ended like in the good old days.

everything they reveal to their personal network of friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances is easily available to anyone and will remain so, eternally. Everything you do on the Internet is being watched, monitored and recorded. For example, when you post comments on Facebook or send tweets on Twitter, they do not disappear after your conversation has ended like in the “good old days.” Unfortunately, while staying connected with friends, family and business associates, you could disclose personal information, make or break your chances of being hired, and expose yourself to home break-in, credit card theft and even risk your reputation. Chelsea Chaney learned this valuable lesson the hard way when the high school she attended used a photo of her to demonstrate the lasting effects of posting photos on social media sites. Chelsea was on a family vacation when she posed in a bikini next to a cardboard cutout of rapper Snoop Dogg. The teen thought the photo was funny and posted

it to her Facebook page for family and friends to see. Imagine Chelsea’s shock when she discovered that her high school used the photo for a PowerPoint presentation warning students and parents about misusing of social media. The slide showed the photo with Chelsea’s full name and the caption, “Once It’s There - lt’s There To Stay.” All students and parents in attendance were offered a printout of the presentation. Chaney, who was 17 (a minor) at the time of the incident, has filed a $2 million lawsuit over bikini photos, according to The New York Times. The lawsuit contends the photos were used without her consent and in a way that suggested she was “a sexually promiscuous abuser of alcohol.” School officials apologized stating the picture was chosen at random, but Chelsea refused to accept. She claims that someone went looking for the photo because it was not on her Facebook profile picture. Do you know who may be watching you? The list can be endless if your social media profile reads like an open book.


Social networking sites allow others to know your contact information, habits and whereabouts. Sharing this information can increase spam. Stalkers can use personal information, such as your birthday, school, hobbies, interests, job and daily routine to impersonate a friend. Child identity theft is increasing at an alarming rate, and although children may not have bank accounts and credit cards, it doesn’t mean their identity can’t be stolen. Parents can also put children at risk by posting information. It is easy to forget while having fun on social network sites that we are vulnerable to almost anyone. How many times have you seen a parent post family photos or acknowledge a child’s birthday or graduation, or even announce that their child will be away at a particular camp? Is this a good idea? SCAMMERS

Scammers also pose as people on your friend’s list to lure you into revealing personal information. The scammers will share or talk about a photo of you. They will engage in informal conversations with the basic goal to obtain private information in order to break into your personal account, access credit cards or other personal information. Scammers will use social media for a ransom scare or send a link that once you log in, retrieves the information they were seeking. Scammers may also set up a website to look like your favorite social network in order to steal your personal information and password. 22 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3


Malware (short for malicious software) writers purchase domain names similar to valid sites then set up websites that resemble the real ones. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, spyware and more. When you click on the link, you run the risk of downloading malware and/or giving access to your username, password and other personal information. The goal of malware writers is to get your banking information. Usually, developers sell the information to a

Everything you do on the Internet is being watched, monitored and recorded.

third-party for a premium, a phenomenon known as credit card dumping. SOCIAL ENGINEERS

Social engineers target businesses and company employees in attempt to obtain company information, for the purpose of fraud, theft and other crimes. These criminals will break into the Facebook account of an employee and convince another employee to download a file or photos, which actually downloads a hacking device to obtain company data. This all begins with an employee who was social networking on a company computer system.


Some social networking sites, such as Facebook, could be sharing your private information with third-party companies; those providing online games that interact with the social network. Every time you play the game or take an online quiz, you are not only risking your own information, but that of your friends, especially those gaming with you. A DV E R T I S E R S

Advertisers are interested in your personal information to target their ads to those most likely to buy their products.



A classic example of exploitation on social networking sites involves criminals perusing users’ profiles and looking for potential victims who won’t be home. For instance, Facebook or Twitter users may post that they will be out for the evening, or on vacation which is the perfect opportunity for perpetrators to commit a burglary.

Remember when spelling and grammar errors on a resume may have cost you the job? Now, companies are using social media to conduct their own “background” check and to learn more about a job applicant’s work ethics. Many will look to see if a candidate appears professional and will fit in with company culture. Companies will also

collect data from social media sites to learn more about its employees and monitor their social media activities while on the job. DEBT COLLEC TORS

Debt collectors will use social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, to track down debtors. They look for a daily schedule to determine when the debtor might be home or search Facebook or LinkedIn for a cellphone number. Employmentrelated posts are valuable to creditors who may be able to garnish wages. Remember, any information shared on these sites is legally available to anyone. G OV E R N M E N T O F F I C I A L S

Police and other government officials will use social networks to find witnesses, track down wanted suspects and locate missing people. I N S U R A N C E C O M PA N I E S

Auto insurance companies will check your driving habits by surfing your @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 23

social media. If you were in an auto accident and seeking compensation for injuries, insurance companies could view your Facebook or Twitter profiles for information revealing that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. Everyone who uses social media should assume that he/she is being watched; it is foolish to believe otherwise. This doesn’t mean social networking should be avoided. The point is to be mindful of what you post and be aware of the ways in which social media can be dangerous; don’t put yourself or others at risk. Remember, what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet and your profile may be viewed by current or future employers, school officials, government officials and debt collectors, as well as spammers, stalkers, thieves and more. When using social media sites, it’s important to protect yourself from unwanted prying eyes. Every social networking site has a privacy setting where you can restrict access to personal information and limit who can read your posts, etc. You should also limit what you post. Additionally, each social media website frequently changes its privacy policy. When this happens, the default setting makes your information public, so check your privacy settings often. You should also change your password often. Remember, once you post something online, you cannot take it back! Even if you delete a post on Facebook, it could have been seen or saved. Additionally, some search engines “cache” copies of webpages so that they open faster; these cached copies may be available a long time after a webpage has been deleted or altered. Some web browsers maintain a cache of the webpages a user has visited, so the original version of your posting may be stored in someone else’s machine. Decide how you intend to use social media, especially Facebook. Don’t be the next Chelsea; think privacy and reputation first. If you use your online profile as a way to promote yourself professionally and academically, you will enjoy the benefits of staying connected. Be careful out there!



What Your Social Media

image by Michael Bogdanow

Without looking, do you remember what your profile picture, blog image or Twitter thumbnail are? Can you recall your last post? Have you ever regretted a post? Those are important parts of the story that you have been telling the world—a story very much about you. Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing, profile pictures began emerging with a Boston angle; Facebook was flooded with them. An online community developed, and thousands of people showed their support for Boston in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. The social media images were the bond of this interconnected group of people who did not know each other, but shared the common desire to show their empathy for the victims of the bombing. Many used their images as one piece of the story they needed to tell, the story of the bombing’s impact on them and their loved ones, including the city they love. Social media is a platform for storytelling, and the social media image is one part of that platform. In fact, many experts (and nonexperts as well) believe that the social media image is one of the most powerful, important aspects of social media. Science Daily reported that in “most cases, your profile photo on Facebook tells viewers what they need to know to form an impression of you—no words are necessary.” In fact, the study states that positive photos “seem to be the primary way we make impressions of people on social networking sites.”

Says About You However, when a photograph conveys negative or unexpected information, people pay closer attention to the text included in the person’s profile. In other words, a positive photograph is enough to make an impression; no further inquiry is needed. Otherwise, your text becomes a necessary component of someone’s investigation. The story you want to tell may involve sports, home life, work, etc. Your photograph provides a book cover for that story, reflecting your allegiance to a city, team, one or more personality traits (humorous, serious, professional, carefree), your relationship status, your family life and many other aspects of who you are. Your social media photograph is one component of your social media image. Your profile also conveys your image. As explained by Clearly Conveyed Communications, the profile picture is important, but so are your contact information, cover photo and profile, which combine to create your social media image. The article—“What’s in a social media profile? Everything.”—stresses that our “attention spans aren’t much these days, so you need to be able to capture someone’s attention (in a positive way) before they jump to another profile or task. Who are you? What do you do? … Show people who you are. Intrigue them enough to follow, like, connect, befriend. Spark an interest that makes them want to reach out and say hello. Your profile can be a great conversation starter if done right.” In other words, express aspects of

yourself that would interest the types of people who you hope to connect to through social media. For your story, you should consider this the “about the author” component.

Maintaining a

Positive Image on Social Media

If you would not want your boss, your wife or your mother to read it,

do not write it.

But What About What You Say? While imagery is important, so is the substance—what people you follow actually have to say. Contrary to the study on the importance of images, many people gauge their impressions of people by what they say over an extended period of time. In other words, they want to read the entire story, rather than form an impression from what is on the cover. One’s social media image isn’t simply a picture or a profile; it is the person’s entire use of social media, conveyed through posts, tweets, etc. The stories being told through social media run across a very wide spectrum. Some people post numerous, multiple times per day publicity pieces about their career, directly or indirectly. Self-promotion is one of the primary uses of social media, but too much self-promotion may result in the audience tuning out. The goal should not only be to tell your story, but also for others to listen to it. Some people’s stories include expressions of dislike of work, or addressing something personal such as “how did your surgery go?” The storytellers should first ask themselves whether the posts belong in the public domain, and whether they are telling the story they want told. “If you would not want your boss, your wife or your mother to read it, do not write it,” says Darren Sherrard, author of “What does your social media page say about you?” There are many positive ways to express your social media image. I’ve gotten to know people who I didn’t know that well, and learned much more about them through social media: their travels, interests, families—whatever they find the need and incentive to post about. A friend often posts what he’s cooking; I enjoy it, and usually respond with what I am cooking. From 300 miles away, I’ve learned how important cooking is to him. His story involves cooking, and that’s something that interests me.

With so many employers turning to social media sites to find out more information about prospective employees, it’s important that you know what to display on your profile page and what not to display when you are applying for jobs. Consider these tips from for cleaning up your profile page. A picture is worth a thousand words. When applying for a job, take down any questionable photos or videos. You don’t want to risk being asked questions you don’t want to have to answer. Don’t use profanity in any of your posts. If you would not dare to cures in the office or around your boss, do not post it online. It can make you look immature and unprofessional. Look out for what others post about you. If a friend writes something questionable on your profile or posts a photo of you that may harm your image, untag yourself immediately. Always use social media to your advantage and present the best possible image of yourself. Remember to think twice before pressing “post” or “tweet” and whatever you do, keep it classy.

Admittedly, my primary use of social media sites is somewhat limited. Although I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others, at this point, the one I turn to most regularly is Facebook. Originally, my use of Facebook was simply for my friends and family, with a focus on family events, travels and my art. Recently, I’ve allowed much more of my whole self to come through; I’ve started integrating my career in law, personal events, blogs and many of my personality traits. This fits the period of my life that I am in: letting the many sides of my life breathe freely and openly. This more holistic approach has impacted my social media image. Everything you do on social media provides others with a glimpse into your life. Use your social media image well, and your story will not only be told—it will be heard.


Your guide to

INVESTING Where is your money the safest? by John Bair For investors, the past five years have been a rollercoaster of financial ups and downs. For the novice investor, figuring out where to invest your money can be a nightmare. Other than stuffing a wad of bills under your mattress or in the freezer, what are the safest places to put your money?

the top five INVESTMENT CHOICES While none of these resources can promise a huge return, they have all passed the test of time as safe investments. As is the case with any investment, even these safer options still carry a certain level of risk, so it is important to consult with a financial professional when developing your investment portfolio. Savings Accounts: Savings accounts generally offer the lowest bang for your buck (0.5% interest or lower; some online banks offer a slightly higher rate), but are federally insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC, or by the NCUA for those who have opened an account in credit unions. Because of their liquidity, savings accounts are a good place to store your emergency fund, but the remainder of your savings might be better served in an account with a slightly higher interest rate.

Treasury Securities: Treasury bills, treasury notes and treasury bonds, collectively referred to as “treasury securities,” are another group of safe investments. Each is sold in a slightly different manner by the U.S. government and are financially backed by the government. While treasury securities are liquid investments, it is important to keep in mind that their value fluctuates based on interest rates—trying to sell your security before it matures could result in a loss of principal.

Money Market Accounts (MMA): Like savings accounts, most money market accounts are also FDIC and NCUA–insured (up to $250,000). These accounts offer safety with a small return on investment. Unlike a regular savings account, federal regulations limit the frequency with which the investor can take money out of a MMA. The current average percentage yield rates hover around 0.85%, with some as low as .05% and others reaching 1%.

Annuities: When purchasing an annuity, the investor pays a lump sum to a financial services or insurance company, which then provides the investor with a series of regular payments that include interest earnings on the investment. For those who receive a settlement in a personal injury case, annuities can be a particularly attractive option for investment, as the interest earned on the investment is tax-free (the interest is traditionally taxable for those who have not received their funds from a personal injury settlement). Depending on the type of annuity purchased, insurance rates can fluctuate, topping out around 3.5%. Although annuities are not insured by the U.S. government, they are backed by reserves established by the institution issuing the contracts.

Certificates of Deposit (CD): CDs are investments made for a fixed period of time, such as six months or two years. CDs are federally insured and pay interest back to the investor at regular intervals. At the date of maturity, the investor receives the principal and any interest earned on the principal. While CD rates average slightly higher than Money Market accounts, they still top out well under 2%, depending on the length of the investment.

Regardless of which investments are chosen, it is important to research all of your options. Seek out the most attractive investment rates with the most reliable companies, and don’t put all of your money in one place. Work with a professional financial adviser and consider a financial strategy that combines some of these safe investments with riskier, yet more lucrative investments for a well-balanced financial portfolio.


Want to learn Zumba? Tips for newbies by Stephanie Andre

Pilates. Spin. Step. Aerobics. Yoga. And now, Zumba. Like anyone new to an exercise class for the first time, those new to Zumba may feel awkward, overwhelmed and as if they have absolutely no clue what they’re doing. Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Every one of us can feel that way… similar to the first day of school for your child. Fear not. Here are some simple ways for getting involved and sailing through to becoming the cool kid in class. Learn in layers. Focus on the footwork first. Once you have your feet going, work on adding in hip movements, arm movements, and then upper body movements. Modify the movements to what you are comfortable doing. If your teacher jumps and you don’t want to jump, replace it with a tap, a squat, a wiggle, a punch, or whatever you like. If your feet tire out, just do the arm movements or vice versa. Take it easy on any injuries you have. If a particular movement is irritating a joint, muscle or nerve, listen to your body and do not feel pressured to keep up with anyone but yourself. Pace yourself. If you run out of breath or your heart rate is too high, omit the arm movements, but do not completely stop. Shorten your steps, or walk around and then drink some water. If you need to take a break, that is perfectly fine. I need them too! If a whole hour is too much, start with a half hour or do every other song (I try to alternate high and mid-tempo songs). Endurance will build gradually. Keep your strides short in length and when you are ready for more intensity, lengthen them by taking wider steps, making bigger arm movements and more exaggerated movements with your body. Follow your neighbors. A simple, easy task.

Stay hydrated. Take water breaks when you’re thirsty or between songs. Listen to the music. Tune into the rhythm. Open your ears and listen for the beat and try to sync your body to it. You will also notice that many of the movements correspond to the structure of the song so when you anticipate the main chorus of the song coming up, you will know what step is coming up next. Wear good shoes. If you become addicted to Zumba, you will want to invest in good dance sneakers, with smooth circular tread that allows for turns and pivots. Adequate support for toes, arches and ankles are recommended for higher impact movements. Stand up straight. Think tall, keep your shoulders down and back, and keep your core engaged. Dance with your core. Think of each movement originating from your core and let the energy move from there into your hip, arm or leg. Keep your knees pliant and pelvis tucked in to allow your hips to move naturally. Exaggerate. Once you have the movement down, work on finessing it either by smoothing it out, adding more jump to it, more stomp to it, or adding more core power to it. The more you exaggerate, the more you will physically benefit from the movement. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 27

How Do You Monitor Your Health and Fitness? by Brittany Monbarren

The days of logging your daily diet and workout in a fitness notebook with a pen and paper are long gone. More and more Americans are turning toward high-tech health and fitness devices and smartphone apps to help collect daily personal health data automatically. According to a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 21% of U.S. adults use some form of technology to track health data

for themselves or a loved one. In fact, of the people surveyed, many said the experience has changed their overall approach to health. These different devices are not just for people who want to watch their weight or record their daily fitness workout, they are used by people who have chronic ailments like diabetes, too. The latest high-tech health and fitness devices and apps have the capability of collecting

any and everything related to health. For example, some can monitor your heart rate, either when you feel stressed or while you’re working out, others can track your body mass index or your workout, record the meals you eat and even monitor your sleep and memory. To make sure you’re monitoring your health and fitness correctly, consider using the latest and greatest high-tech health and fitness devices and smartphone apps.


A trendy high-tech health and fitness gadget is the workout wristband. The small, light-weight and stylish wristband is worn to simply track your activity. It has a motion sensor embedded into it and tracks your movement throughout the day or night. Some of the wristbands can be used to count the steps you take throughout the day and others can track the quality of your sleep. Also, any information recorded can be converted to be visible on your computer or smartphon. Currently, the top two wristbands include the Nike FuelBand and the Jawbone Up.



For serious runners and cyclers, it’s good to have something that tracks your long distance workouts. Unlike the wristbands that track heart rate and sleep, the GPS devices track your workout route, speed and distance. A popular GPS is the Polar Rcx3 GPS, which is a watch. Another is a free smartphone app called Runkeeper, an online service that syncs with many popular apps like Strava Run. The apps also allow you to compare your performance with other users.


C L I P - O N T R AC K E R


Another helpful health and fitness tracker is the clip-on trackers that monitor your daily activity. These trackers are very small, clip-on motion sensors. Many clip-on trackers record calories burned, count steps taken and measures distance traveled. Some of them can also record when you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, the amount of time spent in bed and the amount of time slept. Currently, two popular clip-on trackers include FitBit and Gruve.


Whatever you use, paper and pen or a high-tech device, it is important that you monitor your health and fitness on a regular basis. Using some form of technology often makes the process a lot easier.

Want a Medical Treatment? Visit a Doctor — Not the Spa Today, it happened. You looked at your legs and noticed something new: spider veins. No amount of dieting or exercise you do can make them go away. Medical breakthroughs and developments in technology have made a number of different treatments readily available and easily accessible. However, the most popular and seemingly most cost effective is sclerotherapy, a chemical solution injection into the vein that damages the lining of the vein and causes it to collapse. This treatment may be available at your favorite spa, where you can get it just as easily as getting a facial, mani/pedi or massage. Unlike those purely cosmetic treatments, laser treatments and sclerotherapy injections—in which prescription drugs and devices are used—are best left to medical specialists. As with any adverse medical incident, the effects of a sclerotherapy injection gone wrong can be devastating and life altering. Most people will never associate a “spa day” with horrible chemical burns and extensive reconstructive plastic surgery, but if you use a spa/salon to treat your spider (or varicose) veins, you should be aware of the serious risks of injecting caustic chemicals into your body.

by Jaime Jackson


W H AT A R E S P I D E R V E I N S ?

Spider veins, like varicose veins, are caused by damaged or weakened “one-way” valves within the veins. As blood flows back from your legs up to your heart, your veins have tiny, oneway “flaps” that restrict the blood from “backing up.” If the flap is weakened or damaged, the blood leaks back into the vein and collects there. When blood backs up, it can turn the vein bluish or reddish and if too much blood backs up and collects, the vein can become larger—a varicose vein. Spider veins can also be caused by hormone changes, exposure to the sun, and injuries. Around half the time, spider veins and varicose veins run in the family. Spider veins and varicose veins commonly appear in the legs since leg veins have the difficult job of transporting blood long distances back to the heart, against the pressures created by body weight and gravity. Typically, spider veins or varicose veins are not dangerous, though they might cause itching, aching, throbbing, burning or other discomforts. MEDICAL REASONS FOR T R E AT M E N T

There are sound, purely medically driven reasons for treating spider and/or varicose veins. However, more commonly, people seeking treatment do so simply to look better and to feel better about themselves. There are various treatments available and the more invasive procedures are only done by surgeons in antiseptic, hospital or clinical settings. However, laser therapies and sclerotherapy are gaining in popularity and availability, and may be offered by your local spa/salon under the guise of a “medical” spa. Often, these treatments are performed by “healthcare professionals,” such as nurses, under the supervision of a medical director. The laws for who can and cannot perform injections and laser treatments vary from state to state. These treatments include: » Surface laser treatments, which use very strong bursts of light through the skin and onto the vein, making the vein slowly fade and disappear. » Radiofrequency and laser treatments, which use a catheter 30 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

and radiofrequency or laser energy to close off the vein, which then shrinks. » Sclerotherapy, which uses a very fine needle to inject a chemical through the skin and into the vein. Even though this article focuses on potential issues surrounding spabased sclerotherapy, many of the recommendations apply to surface laser, radiofrequency and laser treatment of spider veins, just as well. Seek treatment directly from a medical doctor specializing in cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, dermatology, plastic surgery or phlebotomy. F I N D I N G T H E R I G H T D O C TO R

Physicians are trained to identify what treatments are appropriate for a particular patient and are ultimately responsible for the overall care of the patient. Seek out those physicians and practices that specialize in treating spider/varicose veins. After all, you wouldn’t go to a podiatrist for a heart condition, so take the time to find a physician with expertise. Physicians with expertise are specially educated and trained to avoid complications and/or minimize the risk and/or affect of complications. Physicians with expertise in treating spider veins are capable of determining and performing the most effective treatment from a variety of available methods or in combination. In general, a physician sees and treats more complex and complicated vascular issues, and better understands his/her duty to properly inform a patient about the risks, benefits and complications of a particular treatment. In most states, physicians and their practices are required to maintain sufficient levels of malpractice liability insurance coverage, in the event of an injury. If you decide to treat your spider veins through a medical spa: A M E D I C A L D O C TO R M U ST OW N T H E M E D I C A L S PA .

In some states, physicians are prohibited from acting as a “medical director” when the physician does not own the practice. For example, in California a physician is not allowed to act as a “medical director” for a business offering spa treatments

that include medical procedures like Botox injections, sclerotherapy and/or laser treatments. This avoids the potential for control or influence of a non-licensed provider over your medical treatment. Appreciate that sclerotherapy is a medical treatment, not merely a cosmetic treatment regardless of your motivations for treatment. A M E D I C A L D O C TO R W I T H E X P E R T I S E M U ST E XA M I N E YO U P R I O R TO T R E AT M E N T .

In many spas/salons, the medical director may merely be a “figurehead” who lends his name and credentials to the spa/salon and nothing more. Worse yet, he may only be a general physician with no real expertise. By associating with a spa/salon, the doctor diversifies his income stream and obtains access to referrals. The spa/salon gains automatic “medical” credibility. In most states, only a physician is allowed to determine the treatment options available to a patient. The treatment of spider veins by sclerotherapy is a medical treatment regardless of its availability in the same place you get your nails done. There is nothing routine about injecting foreign chemicals into your body and you have the right to have a physician determine your course of treatment with you. Importantly, a licensed doctor with proper specialization is in the best position to ensure successful and safe treatment. THE PROCEDURE, THE EXPECTED O U TCO M E A N D T H E R I S K S /P OT E N T I A L CO M P L I C AT I O N S M U ST B E E X P L A I N E D TO YO U E AC H T I M E YO U H AV E A T R E AT M E N T .

This is called “informed consent.” Just because it may not be required by law does not mean that you do not have the right to question a treatment that could result in real injuries.


Nothing can ensure a successful and safe treatment, but your odds of success increase with the level of training and experience of the person doing the injections. Be prepared and ask questions before willingly submitting to chemical injections or laser therapy. After all, you may decide that the percentage of risk is greater than the benefits of the expected outcome. You have the right to determine what happens to your body, so take it on yourself to obtain facts about the treatment and people you are trusting with your body. Just because risks/ complications were described at a prior therapy does not mean that you have been properly informed. Things such as alternative treatments and technologies change— you have the right to know before making a decision about medical care.





In most states, only state certified physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses are allowed to perform medical injections, though many states do not require any type of medical degree or training to perform sclerotherapy. In fact, until recently, cosmetologists with nothing but a cosmetology degree for doing hair, makeup and skin care were unregulated and giving cosmetic injections in Oregon. Nothing can ensure a successful and safe treatment, but your odds of success increase with the level of training and experience of the person doing the injections. With sclerotherapy, the technique of injection is important in determining success. Ask questions about certification, experience, the technique, the substance being used, alternative substances and the reasons why the substance is right for you. Ask about risks and benefits. Ask about complications the injector has seen. Ask how many therapies they’ve personally performed in the last week, last month, last year, last three years. If the person doing the injecting evades or tries not to answer your questions, reconsider your choice of providers. T H E M E D I C A L D I R E C TO R M U ST B E P H YS I C A L LY O N S I T E .

In many states, as long as the person who is performing the injection is qualified the injector is free to conduct business. If the medical director is not performing your treatment, require that he be onsite during your injections. A reputable medical spa/salon will provide direct access to the medical director. This is important for answers to your questions and as a safety precaution. Moreover, the medical director is the person ultimately responsible for your safety. If he does not have the time to be there, what does that tell you about the spa’s commitment to your health and well-being? If the medical director is not on-site, he may be a “volunteer” using the spa as a “front” merely to develop referral business. This is a good situation to avoid.

T R E AT M E N T .

There are many drugs available for sclerotherapy treatments, including some used “off-label,” which simply means that the drug is approved by the FDA, but for other uses and not necessarily for your treatment. Drugs that undergo FDA scrutiny are deemed “safe and effective” but only for the particular use for which they are tested. Insist that the drug being used on you has been tested and deemed “safe and effective” for your particular treatment. Agreeing to a drug that has not been thoroughly vetted for your treatment merely increases your risk of harm. T H E P R E S C R I P T I O N M U ST B E A N F DA -A P P R OV E D CO N C E N T R AT I O N .

For example, in the treatment of spider veins and varicose veins, the FDA has approved the use of polidocanol (brand names: Asclera, Aethoxysclerol), in a 0.5% concentration for spider veins (measuring less than 1 mm in diameter) and a 1% solution for varicose veins (measuring less than 3 mm in diameter). To use any concentration other than that approved by the FDA, is an “off-label” use for which the drug has not been tested for quality, safety and effectiveness. Moreover, if a particular drug has undergone the arduous testing procedures of the FDA and has been determined to be a safe and effective method of treating your spider veins, the risk of deviating from FDA recommendations outweighs any possible benefits. The added risk is especially difficult to justify when the area can simply be re-treated. Make the medical director justify deviating from FDA recommendations on grounds more significant than just cost. For your own safety, leave medical treatments, such as sclerotherapy, to medical professionals. If you accept the risk of medical treatments at your local spa, there are steps to take to limit your risk of permanent injury. Documents and information from the Food and Drug Administration, the Medical Board of California,, and WebMD were used in this article.





PRESCRIPT ION M EDS Drug abuse now kills more Americans per year than homicide or car accidents and is now the fastest-growing cause of accidental death in the U.S., according to recent studies. But the term “drug abuse” is broad. If you delve a bit deeper, you’ll see that much of this war is now fought on different turfs: the doctor’s office, your local pharmacy and even college campuses, where the use of prescription pills is rampant—whether it’s to help cram for exams or to earn extra cash.

by Stephanie Andre





THE TOP MOST-ABUSED DRUGS IN THE UNITED STATES according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration




According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one person dies from a drug overdose every 19 minutes. In fact, exactly 28,754 Americans died after accidentally overdosing on legal or illegal drugs in 2009—and approx. half of those deaths involved prescription painkillers. What’s more, for every person who dies from prescription meds, there are 32 more emergency room visits. The numbers are so grim that some experts have now declared prescription drug abuse an epidemic. The soaring increase in sales of prescription painkillers explains most of the deaths. In 1999, a total of 2 kg of such drugs were sold for every 10,000 people; as of 2010, that number had jumped to about 7 kg. According to the CDC, opioid analgesics, such as methadone, hydrocodone and oxycodone are the most common cause of drug poisoning. F I G H T I N G T H E B AT T L E FROM BEHIND

While the abuse of prescription medications is nothing new, the growth with which it has increased is staggering. Part of the blame goes to society’s other “War on Drugs”—particularly marijuana. With the vast efforts to curtail decades of fight on legalizing the drug, lawmakers and other influencers have neglected what’s right in front of them. Now, as doctors, decision makers and society attempt to play catch-up, the problem has already gone global, making it more than simple to acquire prescription pills if you should so desire. More people now die from

analgesic pain relievers, such as OxyContin and Vicodin, than cocaine and heroin combined, yet prescription-pill abuse still only receives a fraction of the resources invested in criminal justice and law enforcement against illegal drugs. That said, in an attempt to begin to curtail the bleeding, the Food and Drug Administration in September announced that it will require starker warning labels on OxyContin and certain other narcotic painkillers as part of an effort to combat the rampant addiction and misuse that lead to thousands of deaths each year. The labeling changes will apply to all extended-release and long-acting opioid painkillers. The most widely used of those includes oxycodone, which can be found in OxyContin and similar drugs. “FDA is extremely concerned about the inappropriate use of opioids, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and has become a major public health challenge,” says FDA commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. Despite this recent news, some institutions are taking it upon themselves to put measures in place to place a tighter rein on those who actually have prescriptions. WHY THE UPTICK?

So why is prescription med use on the continued rise? Well, for starters, these drugs are easy to get. Just ask anyone who’s ever suffered an injury or an ADHD patient. According to the CDC, almost all prescription drugs are obtained legally, rather than from pharmacy theft, for example, though thefts are growing. In most situations, the drugs come from friends




The rise of prescription drug abuse in 18- to 25-year-olds.


19.2 2008

and relatives for whom the prescriptions were originally written. The prescriptions originate from a tiny number of medical professionals who work in primary care, internal medicine and dentistry—not specialists. About 20% of prescribers write 80% of painkiller prescriptions, according to recent studies. T H E N E W B AT T L E F I E L D : CO L L E G E

While illegal drugs traditionally invoke images of back alley transactions and seedy spots, prescription drug abuse is more mainstream. Specifically, college students have taken a liking to the meds, using them to pull all-nighters and cram for exams. And don’t forget the other side of the equation: earning extra cash for the sellers as well. After all, what college student doesn’t need money? While alcohol abuse and binge drinking still top the list of substance abuse issues


on college campuses, the nonmedical use of prescription drugs—most notably stimulants, sedatives and pain relievers— is a growing, yet unaddressed problem, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA). In fact, about one in four college students has illegally used prescription drugs, and many more have been offered these medications by friends or fellow students. In fact, among people 18 to 22, full-time college students are twice as likely to use a stimulant for nonmedical reasons in the past year compared to those who aren’t in college or are only part-time students, according to a 2009 SAMSHA study. By students’ sophomore year in college, about half of their classmates will have been offered the opportunity to abuse a prescription drug, says a 2008 study published in Substance Abuse.




What’s more, college students who used Adderall were almost three times as likely as those who had not used Adderall nonmedically to have used marijuana in the past year, eight times more likely to have used cocaine or be nonmedical users of prescription tranquilizers and five times more likely to have been nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers, according to SAMHSA. Similar studies suggest more of the same. In surveys, college students who took an opioid for reasons other than for pain relief (for example, getting high or experimenting) had a much greater risk of experiencing three or more drug-use related problems, says Sean McCabe, Ph.D., University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center & Institute for Research on Women and Gender. His research shows that students who take prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons are at least five times more likely

pain relievers


sedatives & tranquilizers


stimulants *graph represents millions




Taking a Look at PAINKILLERS


What are they? Painkillers, also known as opioids, reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect the brain areas that control emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus.

% of college students who used painkillers recreationally


They slow down a person’s heart rate and breathing, and when misused/abused they can cause respiratory problems (OxyContin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percocet). The abuse of opioids, or painkillers, by college students has shot up by 342.9% from 1993-2005, and still


proves to be rising.

to develop a drug abuse problem than those who don’t. M A K E S YO U ‘ S M A R T E R ?’

The major difference between those in college who abuse prescription meds and those who smoke marijuana is that these kids don’t start off taking the pills for the thrill of getting high. They do it to stay up later; to get better grades. They want to be “smarter” and figure that getting a quick “pick me up” isn’t such a bad thing. “When I’m on Adderall and I’m looking at the textbook I can forget about everything else around me,” a top student at


one of the nation’s top tier colleges told NBC News’ Amy Robach, in a report that aired on “Today” in 2011. “I figured if everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t I get the advantage?” I T ’S A B U S I N E SS , A F T E R A L L

For more than two decades, college students have illegally taken prescription stimulants to stay awake and hyperfocused while studying. As sales of medications for ailments, such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) increase, so does the demand for gradeconscious college kids looking for some


“help” to get them through all-night study sessions. Gone are the days of study aids such as Mountain Dew and coffee. Today’s college students need “more”—and that’s where their classmates come in. The story usually goes like this: Average college student on a need-based, doctorsanctioned medication misses a pill here or there. In turn, she has pills left over so she “shares” them with friends for $5 or $10 each. While most schools have no-tolerance policies for the sale of any drug, moving prescription pills seems to be something

How do people get them? Peers (friends, boyfriend, girlfriend)



Family (mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles) Other (drug dealer, abroad, etc.) Based in a 2003 study at a Midwestern research university


Why do people use them?



65% use to sharpen concentration 31% use to get high

Taking a Look at STIMULANTS What are they? Stimulants increase attention, alertness and energy, and also elevate blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. When misused/ abused, they can put too much strain on the heart (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta). The abuse of prescription stimulants among college students has increased 93.3% from 1993-2005, and it seems to continue to increase. The pressure to succeed in college courses, the collegiate lifestyle and the easy accessibility to prescription drugs are just a few things that may be contributing to the increase in abuse.

the institutions haven’t quite gotten a good hold on yet. Students who abuse study drugs don’t smell of marijuana or show the the average signs of binge drinking. Study drugs are “kind of a silent issue. Everyone’s aware of it, but I think we’re all focused on the more prevalent one—alcohol,” Daniel Swinton, president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration and an assistant dean at Vanderbilt University, told The Washington Post. Another major problem for the universities: you can find pills at just about any time. In a “Today” show hidden camera investigation, the program sent an intern into a library at a top college. In less than one minute, the intern asked a student he didn’t even know if he knew anyone that could get him some Adderall. The student replied, ”Yeah, me.” T H E D O C TO R ’ S R O L E

Some argue that prescription-happy doctors are just as much to blame as anyone else. College students say that the only thing easier than buying meds such as Adderall on campus is Googling “ADHD symptoms” and hitting up your local doctor. Chances are, you’ll walk out of your appointment with a legal prescription for the drug. Whether it’s a lack of moral character or pressure from Big Pharm, some doctors seem to have little trouble—or conscience—in doling out prescriptions. Too lenient and too easy with their prescription pad, doctors fail to take the time to

How do students get them?



inspect the real severity of a patient. More often than not, doctors take the client’s word for granted and trust their articulated symptoms without seeing any real evidence toward ADHD, for example. HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

So where do we go from here? The abuse of prescription pills for any reason whatsoever is only getting worse. The “War on Drugs” continues and as the money machine continues to rule the world so will the laws of supply and demand. Education is key and the choices we make are vital. If you have children, take the time to talk with them about the dangers of all drugs. Remember, under the proper guidance of a board-certified physician, the use of prescription pills can, in fact, increase one’s quality of life. But, be smart. Know the facts. After all, if abused, the use of prescription pills will become an addiction. “There’s such a low perception of risk involved with these drugs,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO, “People think because they’re FDA approved, that they aren’t dangerous or addictive, and that increases the likelihood of use.” Adds Hamburg: “We must recognize the medical value [painkillers] have for many patients living with pain. Therefore, the [FDA] must strike a balance between their benefit in treating patients with pain and the risks associated with misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death.” @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 37

N O W A N D AG A I N , E V E R YO N E N E E D S A H E L P I N G H A N D . .. F O R T H I S , L AW Y E R S A G A I N S T H U N G E R I S T H E R E .

Founded in 2011, LAH is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting hunger, increasing food security for those in need, and providing support grants to other 501(c)(3) organizations that help fight hunger in Oklahoma.

For more information or to donate, visit


GAME Why parents need to settle down at youth sporting events by Danny Feldman


owadays, we often hear stories of parents going nuts at their child’s sporting events and we are left asking the question—why? Some parents may be trying to live vicariously through their children because they themselves never accomplished what they thought they should have accomplished in sports. Or, it may be another manifestation of the “helicopter parent” who cannot stand to see their child fail to succeed in everything, although, by its nature every sporting event produces a winner and a loser. And, still other parents may view “junior” as their ticket to stardom and feel that every play they are on the bench and every call against them will hinder their chances of achieving the ultimate

success, playing sport professionally. In an era where top athletes are signing agreements for not seven-, not eight-, but rather nine-figure paychecks, there are a very few who indeed will hit the sports lottery. Let’s take a closer look at this last group. What are the odds that your all-star peewee football star will play in the NFL? Not too good. Assuming every peewee star plays football in high school, only eight of every 1,000 high school players play football in college. Out of college players, only 1.7 of every 100 make it to the pros. So, out of 1.1 million high school football players, only about 250 will play professionally. And, the average professional football player’s career lasts just four short years. In other words, the average professional

1.7 accomplish is not going to change. Your child’s exploits in sports will not change the fact that you blew the big shot in a game 25 years ago; it won’t change the fact that your coach was too stupid to play you; it won’t erase the holding call that went against you and cost your team the championship. These things happened to you—not your kid. Deal with it and allow your child to enjoy his childhood. For those helicopter parents who cannot stand to see their child not win at everything, understand that your child is a bit tougher than you think. And, so is life. Your child is going to get disappointed whether its not making the team, making 40 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

football player, while he will earn a good salary, will earn it for about four years. The numbers are equally daunting in other sports—in basketball, only three of 1,000 high school players will play in college and 1.2% of collegiate players make it to the NBA. So, out of almost 550,000 high school basketball players, less than 50 will be drafted. In baseball, only six of 1,000 high school players will play in college and 11.6% of collegiate players will play professionally (however, a small percentage of those will actually make it to the Major Leagues). So, if you are thinking that junior’s athletic skills are going to put you on easy street, think again—it’s not very likely to happen. As for trying to live vicariously through your child, it goes almost without saying—don’t. What you did and didn’t


the team but not playing, playing but not excelling, etc. He/she also is going to be disappointed when they are turned down for a date, fail to get into the school of their dreams, etc. That’s life. It’s going to be all right. Not everyone is going to win all the time. Your child may have to find out that he’s not going to be the next Michael Phelps, but that doesn’t mean he can’t end up being a great musician, or a fair artist or a happy parent. Hassling the coach and yelling at refs simply is not going to do anything that is going to benefit your child—rather, it’s going to make you miserable and miserable to be around. Lighten up; settle down at games. No

need to attack the refs; no need to berate your kid’s coach for not playing him or her; no reason to hate the other team. Sports ought to be fun; they ought to develop a person’s character, sense of teamwork and appreciation for the game. Sports ought to create habits that are lifelong and healthy—keeping fit, working together, accepting responsibilities, not quitting, dealing with victory and defeat, etc. Take a more long-term and well-rounded view of what your child should be benefitting from and experiencing while participating in sports as opposed to making it all about yourself. You’ll be happier and so will junior.

A Man’s Best Friend Why a dog can protect you and your home by Deborah Keeports and Maria Gallo Groft

We’ve all heard the phrase that man’s best friend is a dog. But let’s be honest, when we think of our dogs, the first thought that comes to mind are the pictures we see circulating in emails where the family pet has destroyed something in the house. We can all tell a story or two about something our dogs have ruined. But let’s not underestimate how valuable the family dog can be to both our health and safety in our home. We know how much dogs like to sniff and smell everything. Have you ever thought about their sense of smell? Dogs have 125 million to 300 million scent receptors (depending on the breed) while humans have approx. 5 million. Dogs can detect odors at concentrations that are nearly 100 million times lower than what we as humans can detect. A great analogy: humans smell a doughnut; dogs smell every ingredient that was used to make that doughnut. DIRE SITUATIONS

Pets and dogs, in particular, save families from situations in the home that can have tragic outcomes. The family dog can save families from a fire that breaks out in the home because many times there is no working smoke alarm in the home or if the fire breaks out overnight, members of the household do not hear the alarm. There have been simulations done showing just how long it can take a family to wake up when the smoke alarm

is sounding while their home is burning around them. So, when the family dog starts frantically barking, don’t think that he/she is being a nuisance, take notice, it could save your life. Dogs are also very sensitive to change. Carbon monoxide is a silent and deadly killer. We hear stories on the news where an entire family has been found unconscious in their home or even worse, they are found dead and the cause is later determined to be a carbon monoxide poisoning due to a leak. Your family pet can detect changes so if he/she notices the members of the household succumbing to the effects of the carbon monoxide poisoning and they sometimes will warn the family, allowing time to escape and call for help. Shelby, a German Shepherd, became the 45th Skippy Dog Hero of the year for saving two adults and two children from carbon monoxide poisoning. The dog (with her keen sense of smell) was the first to detect the rising C0 levels while the rest of the family was asleep, nudging each of them out of their sleep and refused to stop barking, scratching, and whining until the family was safely outside. Luckily, each family member was treated at a nearby hospital and made a full recovery. HOME SAFETY

Man’s best friend has also saved many people from home invasions. More than 2.2 million robberies occur every year,

according to the FBI. In fact, 70% of all burglaries are at residential properties, which means our homes are the biggest risk. Having a dog is the number one way to prevent home attacks. Your dog will alert you when someone is approaching your home, which gives you advance notice and the intruder will know that there is something there and will leave. Take Moti, the 2007 Dog of the Year, a 5-year-old German Shepherd who saved his family during a home invasion. He saved his family by leaping to his feet and barking. When the intruder faced the angry pooch, the gunman shot him and ran off. No worries. Moti survived the attack and made a full recovery. WATCHING YOUR HEALTH

Another way in which dogs are sensitive to change is when a family member has a health condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy. There are dogs that can sense a change when a family member is about to go into diabetic shock because of a dramatic drop in blood sugar and is able to get that person’s attention, alerting them so that they can quickly eat or drink something to bring their blood sugar to a safe level. There are also dogs that are tuned into a family member who suffers from seizures. These dogs are able to alert family members so that they can protect this person while they have the seizure. As you can see, the family dog really is man’s best friend. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 41


Helping your child through the death of a family member by Ed Graham

Death is the most powerful stressor in our everyday lives, causing emotional distress and often physical distress in virtually everyone closely tied with the person who has died. Loss of a close relationship often causes severe, profound suffering. It can have important, long-lasting effects on the health status of survivors. As hard as losing a loved one is for adults, think about what it does to a child. Unless you experienced such a loss as a child, it is difficult to imagine how much more difficult it is for children to comprehend and cope. Immediately following death, whether or not it has been anticipated, adult survivors will foreseeably experience feelings of numbness, shock and disbelief. “Going through the motions,” they manage to take care of funeral arrangements, greet family and friends, and tend to financial matters. However, adult survivors often do not immediately comprehend the full, final reality of the death. Continuing shock and numbness persist weeks after the death. Deeper feelings of sadness, intense yearning for the company of the deceased, stress about the future, disorganization and feelings of emptiness commonly arise in the weeks after the death. Despair and sadness are common as it sinks in that the deceased will not return. Common physical complaints include problems with sleeplessness, appetite, agitation, chest tightness, sighing, fatigue and exhaustion. Adult survivors often mentally replay important events and interactions with the deceased and often have intrusive 42 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

thoughts concerning the death, regrets and missed opportunities. The individual may withdraw from family and friends, yet learn that being alone is as difficult as being with others. Grief often comes in waves that are triggered by reminders of the deceased; the bereaved may feel fine one moment, and be overcome with sadness and grief the next moment. The first feelings of pleasure after a loss are often experienced as a betrayal of the relationship with the person who has died. Children experiencing a loss typically go through similar emotional patterns. However, infants and younger children may not yet grasp the true situation. Providing emotional support and reassurance for a child who has experienced a loss places additional strain on the parents, who must deal with their own emotional responses to the loss in addition to shouldering their responsibility to help the child cope. Both are challenging. Helping a child is difficult enough if the parents are coping well, but to the extent they are not, meeting the child’s needs may be impossible. To provide optimal help for a child, the parents must distinguish between normal and dysfunctional grieving processes, both for themselves and the child. B E I N G T H E B E ST YO U C A N B E .

Before you can help your child, you need to take care of yourself. If you are experiencing abnormal, complicated, prolonged grief, you may not be able to help your child very much without

obtaining professional help for yourself. Seek whatever help you need from a counselor or physician. S H OW YO U R C H I L D U N CO N D I T I O N A L PA R E N TA L LOV E .

Make sure your child understands the loss in truthful terms you lovingly communicate. (At younger ages, the child will not understand at all, but you need to make the effort to communicate the sense of loss as soon as possible as he or she develops an ability to understand.) Provide emotional support. Encourage your child to cry, and cry with your child. Reassure your child that this loss will not adversely affect his or her personal safety or physical comfort. H E A L TO G E T H E R .

Explain that you too will be dealing with the deep feelings of sadness, and that you will learn together how to get on with your lives without the lost one’s physical presence. Soften the blow with comforting words; this may include spiritual concepts related to your family’s religious beliefs. Encourage your child to vent his or her feelings, and do not criticize expressions of anger or other negative emotions. E M PAT H I Z E .

Alert your child’s teacher, coach and other adults involved in his or her life to your child’s loss and grieving process. A DJ U ST TO A N E W “N O R M A L .”

Expect a long period of adjustment for you and your child, but monitor your

child’s grief resolution to see if the most troubling symptoms are improving as the weeks and months pass. LEARN WHEN THEY NEED ADDITIONAL HELP.

If you have concerns or uncertainty, seek counseling or consult with your family doctor or pediatrician about whether a referral to a child psychologist or psychiatrist is indicated. Be especially vigilant if there are risk factors for poor bereavement outcomes as noted above. If you believe there may be signs of depression that persist and worry you, get a referral to a child psychiatrist for screening and/or treatment.

It goes without saying that unconditional parental love is extremely important, yet there are limits to the benefits that even superhero parents can provide their child. Childhood depression is a serious illness that can only be diagnosed and treated by a mental health professional. Your job as a parent is to seek the involvement of such a professional whenever signs or symptoms of depression are severe or persist for more than two weeks after the first six to eight weeks. Be attuned to your child’s progress with grief resolution, and do not hesitate to seek professional intervention as warranted by severity or persistence of symptoms.

To provide optimal help for a c h i l d, t h e pa r e n t s m u s t d i s t i n g u i s h b e t w e e n n o r m a l a n d dy s f u n c t i o n a l grieving pro cesses, both for t h e m s e lv e s a n d t h e c h i l d.


LIVING SOLO How to make the most out of it by Brittany Monbarren

Would you have ever thought that singles are the new couples? According to an article in Fortune, 28% of all U.S. households currently consist of only one person. That means roughly 30 million people live the true single lifestyle. However, even with the rise in people living alone, for anyone, young or old, living alone for the first time can be a foreign and frightening experience. If you’re taking the plunge for the very first time or even if you’re an experienced pro, here’s some tips to consider to make the most out of living solo: SAFETY FIRST

This tip isn’t just for first timers, even seasoned pros should remember they need to consider their safety when living solo. Living alone doesn’t always come with the same securities as living with other people. You must always remember to take extra precaution and make sure your place is up-to-date with the latest safety equipment like smoke detectors, locks and an emergency kit. It is also important to pay attention to details, get to know your neighbors and get a general feel for your neighborhood during the day and at night so you feel more comfortable. Also, if it is allowed by your landlord, I would suggest getting a dog (or a cat) to not only keep you company but for added protection as well.

In the U.S., 28% of all households currently consist of only one person. - Fortune magazine


Connect with others around you. Living without a roommate


can sometimes make you feel isolated and like you’re shut off from all outside communication. Join a local group or organization in your community to meet others in your community. If you live in an apartment complex or condo, go to the sponsored events and get to know your neighbors. Try to make the extra effort to get out of your house and meet new people. This also helps with having several options of how to spend your time when your close friends or significant others aren’t available. BUYING FOR ONE

It may be tempting to stock up on your favorite items when they are on sale, but it’s important to remember that you’re the only one using it. When it comes down to buying groceries like fruits and vegetable, or other items that expire quickly, try to avoid buying too much because you may not be able to finish them by the expiration date. KEEPING CLEAN AND ORGANIZED

Living with a roommate, you typically adjust to their living habits, however, living on your own can make you realize how messy or not messy that old roommate use to be. When you live on your own, it’s easy to keep dishes piled up in the sink or leave laundry and dirty clothes laying around the house. Try to establish good habits and set aside time every day to declutter and clean up your place. It doesn’t have to be a full house clean, just pick up your things and make sure everything has its own place. You should make your home a space you’re proud of, not a pigsty.

The Argument for Family Dinners Has society regressed that much as this institution has fizzled out? by Tom Atmore


he family dinner—once a staple in the majority of households—has gained iconic status in the last 20 or 30 years, just as its frequency has declined. As the number of working parents has increased along with the number of after-school activities and events, it seems as if making time for this time-honored tradition has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible. As parents feel the pinch, the question of whether making time for it every day is essential to children’s development and growth has become a topic of much debate and scholarly study. So, how important is it to make time for a family dinner? Over the years, the family dinner has been credited with everything from reducing the chance of childhood obesity to preventing teen drug use. This seems commonsensical. The food tends to be healthier and the family interaction during the meal has many positive effects on children. The Internet is full of

blogs and articles promoting the importance of family dinners. Even the president and first lady say they make time for a family dinner as many nights as possible. But, there are critics. Many commentators note that the task of making time for family dinners, and making the dinner itself, usually falls on the mom—creating yet another unshared burden. These commentators accept that family time and togetherness is critical, but question whether it needs to be as regimented as a daily family dinner requires. So, what do the studies say? Over the years, studies have suggested that a child who eats a family dinner on a regular basis will be less likely to develop an eating disorder, have higher academic achievement, have less delinquency, be more likely to make healthy food choices and be less likely to be overweight, and have positive family interactions and better mental health. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 45

Studies have also shown that mealtime is when the kids are most likely to communicate in a positive way with their parents. The studies also suggest that the more family members present the better and the more frequent the meals, the better. The difficulty with studying whether amily dinners are important is that it is hard to eliminate other factors that may influence the development of positive traits. Recently, researchers used data from a large national survey of teens to try to find out if it was the dinner time or some other factors that made the difference. Researchers Kelly Musick at Cornell University and Ann Meier at the University of Minnesota, recently concluded that previous studies may have overstated the influence that family dinners had on what they call “positive adolescent outcomes.” They determined that it might be the traits of the parents (education, money, etc.) that led them to have family dinners that were important, more than the dinners themselves. Musick and Meier also tried to find out if the benefits of family dinner time lasted into the later teens. They could find no evidence suggesting that it did, with the exception that there seemed to be a lower rate of depression in teens who had enjoyed family dinners over the years. Musick and Meier, though, could not say that family dinners lacked importance, just that they may not be as important as other studies suggested. And, they did conclude that it was the consistency of the time together (in other words, some regularly scheduled family time) that produced benefits (a mealtime was

when kids and parents were most likely to discuss and share information). What does this mean for families trying to decide whether the family dinner survives the crush of work, school, sports, etc.? First, Musick has said, based on her research, that no parent should feel guilty about not being able to make or make time for a regularly schedule of family dinners. It’s not the meal, but the time that is important. The research suggests that setting aside 10 or 15 minutes for family togetherness on a regular basis is key. If you can do that, it will go a long way toward getting the results you desire.


If a family wants to make some time for family dinners, they should try to: » Have a family dinner at least three times a week, if possible » Remember that it is the consistency of the togetherness that is critical; even if it’s hectic and disorganized getting there » Recognize that it’s the quality of the time, not the meal, is what is important. Source: “Do Family Meals Really Make A Difference?” by Cook and Dunifon

ATV’s & Kids: A Dangerous Mix From 1982-2008 nearly ONE-THIRD of the 9,633 All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) related deaths were children under 16. Over one hundred children are seriously injured EVERYDAY and approximately one dies EVERY OTHER day from an ATV related crash. Injuries to children from ATV accidents cost society OVER 2 BILLION DOLLARS annually in medical and economic costs.

PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILD SAFE. Don’t allow children under the age of 16 to ride ATV’s Concerned Families for ATV Safety


Visit for more information.

the Birds & the Bees When is the right time to have “the talk” with your child? by Stephanie Andre

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they start to cringe at the idea of having “the talk” with his/ her child. Openly discussing something so intimate can be hard—and even embarrassing—but very necessary. Experts agree: it’s much better to have this conversation with your child than for them to learn this information from others—especially given the fact that what they might be learning may not be entirely correct and they also may not be getting all the facts. But where do you start? Well, it’s often best to start some preliminary conversations—more about their bodies and its changes—when kids are young, always keeping the talks age appropriate. Doing so will ease your mind about diving right into such a serious talk when your child is older; it also opens up the dialogue between parent and child and increases the bond. Don’t worry if you haven’t started yet; it’s never too late. Slowly open up the conversations and be available when they have questions. As your child gets older, talk with him/her about what they are hearing about in school and also what they see online. We live in a web-savvy world; kids are maturing faster—it’s important to know what your child is seeing online. Following are some additional steps for talking with your child about the “birds and the bees,” courtesy of Planned Parenthood. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 47


If your child approaches you, you might say something like, “That’s a really interesting question. How did that come up today? Why are you asking me that today?” Don’t assume there’s anything beside curiosity behind the question. A young girl may ask a question about pregnancy without being pregnant. A young boy may ask a question about condoms without planning to have sexual intercourse.

A S K , “W H AT D O YO U T H I N K ?”

What seems like a straightforward question might not be. To find out the true nature of the question, you might ask, “What have you heard about that?” “What do you think about that?” or “Can you tell me what you already know about that?”


It is very important to gain children’s trust when talking with them about sex so they feel comfortable approaching you about decisions and questions. Answer questions age-appropriately. Pre-teens and younger adolescents may need simpler, more concrete answers. The ability to handle more information and more sophisticated information increases with age, but if they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to understand the facts. It is also important to tell children or teens about your values and beliefs and to understand theirs. You might say to a teen, “I don’t believe anyone is allowed to pressure or force anyone else to have sex, even in a relationship. Do you agree with that?” 48 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3


After answering the question, ask, “Does that answer your question?” Ask them to tell you what they heard. You may even want to bring up issues you already talked about to find out how much your child understood during the previous conversation. Try to be open and available when a child wants to talk. Some common fears that many parents have include: • Looking dumb. Many of us weren’t taught about sex and sexuality, yet we may feel that we should know all the answers. But if our children ask us about something we don’t know, we can simply say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out together.” • Feeling embarrassed. It’s very common for parents or children to feel embarrassed when talking about sex and sexuality. The best way to handle it is to admit how we’re feeling — we can simply say, “I might get a little tense or uncomfortable during this conversation, and you might, too. That’s OK for both of us—it’s totally normal.” • Encouraging sexual experimentation. There is a myth that information about sex is harmful to children and that it will lead to sexual experimentation. The fact is that our children won’t be more likely to have sex if we talk about it. In reality, kids who talk with their parents about sex are more likely to postpone having sex. • Feeling as though talking won’t make a difference. Children look to their parents to teach them about sexuality. Most young people prefer to hear about it from their parents than from other people. In fact, young adolescents place parents at the top of their list of influences when it comes to their sexual attitudes and behaviors.

FIGHTING FOR INJURY PREVENTION AND JUSTICE PRESERVATION ACROSS THE COUNTRY. The Civil Justice Foundation is a national charitable organization dedicated to safeguarding justice for all Americans by strengthening the alliance between trial attorneys and consumer advocacy groups. It is the only national foundation devoted solely to protecting the individual rights, health and well-being of the injured — providing small but significant grants to the tireless organizations fighting for injury prevention and justice preservation across the country.

How Do We Do It? The Civil Justice Foundation is proud to award grants to grassroots organizations that are at the forefront of the consumer advocacy movement — particularly to groups that have difficulty securing traditional funding because they are newly organized and/or address a controversial issue. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.4 million to more than 110 of these groups.

by Stephanie Andre

it’s hard to find a teen who doesn’t live on a cellphone. From texting and social media to the web and apps, it is, arguably, a teen’s most valuable item. But have teens become too reliant on their gadgets? The numbers seem to indicate the answer may be ‘yes.’ S TAT S D O N ’ T L I E

In fact, according to a 2011 Pew Internet & American Life Project study, 63% of teens use texting for communication every day. That’s up 9% from 2009. Even more recently, a UK study says the teen texting average jumped to 75% in 2012. What’s more, the daily average of number of texts is constantly increasing. In 2009, the average number of texts per day was 50, yet in 2011 it is up to 60. Girls text more than boys, and the average number of daily texts is 100, while it’s 50 for boys. The study divided participants into three groups: light message users (sending and receiving from 0 to 20 texts per day), medium message users (21 to 100 texts per day) and heavy message users (more than 100 messages per day). The heavy message users group 50 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3

also showed more tendencies to spend longer time talking over cellphones. This group also uses various social networks more than the other two groups. Additionally, teens who text more than 20 messages a day are more likely to own a smartphone. Some 39% of all teen participants spend a significant amount of time talking over cellphones every day. Only 19% of teens use landlines to make or take a call. Nearly one-third of all participants said they never use landlines to talk to someone. B U T I S I T R E A L LY ‘A D D I C T I O N ? ’

Maybe not, according to a 2012 study by Paul Atchley and Amelia Warden at the University of Kansas. Atchley and Warden used behavioral decision-making techniques with about 100 university students to come up with the findings. They assessed if students were willing to wait to text to gain a monetary reward—can you delay responding to a text message? We all know people who feel a compulsion to respond immediately to incoming text messages, no matter what else they are doing at the time. They asked college students to imagine

receiving a text with a request to “text me when you can.” The students then evaluated options to text back immediately with a small monetary reward or wait to text with a larger monetary reward. Most students wanted to text now and pass on the extra money that would come with waiting. Texting immediately was more important than extra money. “What we found is, people are willing to wait, but they aren’t willing to wait that long,” says Atchley. “I think this is because responding to a text doesn’t make sense if too much time goes by. If you asked me a question and it takes me a day to get the answer to you, there’s probably no purpose to me responding at that point. So, young adults feel like they need to respond quickly for it to be relevant.”

...young adults feel like they need to respond quickly for it to be relevant.” - Paul Atchley, University of Kansas


by the numbers


say that they use text to communicate with others every day.

However, the UK study, sponsored by SecurEnvoy, yields different results. It surveyed 1,000 people and found that two-thirds of respondents feared losing or being without their phones, a condition known as nomophobia—an abbreviation of “no-mobile-phonephobia.” Symptoms include: » Experiencing anxiety or panic over losing your phone » Obsessively checking for missed calls, emails and texts » Using your phone in inappropriate places, such as the bathroom or church » Missing out on opportunities for faceto-face interactions While the two-thirds number of adults is quite significant, even more concerning is that the number increases to 77% for young people ages 18-24. EMOTIONAL TIES

Some recent studies suggest there’s an emotional connection that makes people gravitate to their phones. According to recent surveys by Shari Walsh and colleagues, who studied the attitudes of teens and young adults, many individuals consider their phones to be part of their self concept. Identifying your cellphone as part of your self predicts not simply how frequently people use their phones, but also their involvement with their phones. Cellphone involvement included measures such as keeping your phone nearby, thinking frequently about your phone, interrupting activities to respond to your phone, feeling distressed without your phone and being unable to reduce phone use.


So, where are the parents in all of this? It seems as though most just accept this behavior as a rite of passage for their teenagers without realizing a real danger. That said, there are things parents can do: Set a good example. Are you always on your phone? Are you driving and talking? Or, even worse, texting? Ask the right questions and pay attention. Do you notice that they cannot break away from their phone? Check how many texts they’re actually sending every week, every month. Establish cellphone-free times. Start things such as, no cellphones at the dinner table or no cellphone use after 9 p.m. Know the signs of addiction. Understand that they may actually have some sort of dependence on their phone. Spend time teaching your children etiquette. Start when they’re young, before they ever get a phone. Teaching proper manners now extends beyond “please” and “thank you.” Constantly staring at a phone in certain situations is just plain rude. Cellphones, like anything else, are fine in moderation and with awareness. Don’t let your teen become a cellphone zombie. Talk to him or her. Like anything else in life, they may think they know everything, but you know better.


of teens make and receive voice calls on their mobile phones every day.


of all teens socialize with others in person outside of school on a daily basis.


of all teens exchange messages daily through social network sites.


of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others.


of teens talk on landlines with people in their lives daily.


of teens exchange email daily. Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project Study



Travel + Pregnancy Making your journey as comfortable as possible regnancy is an exciting experience. Traveling is often not an exciting experience. Traveling while pregnant may be even worse. The changes that accompany pregnancy can make travel difficult. Here are some tips and resources that can help ease those difficulties for those who are traveling while pregnant.


First and foremost, talk to your doctor. Your OB/GYN is in the best position to determine whether it is safe for you and baby to travel. Is it safe to fly? Is it safe to be out of range of a hospital? Do you need to take other medical precautions? Of course, there will come a time when traveling becomes ill-advised. You and your doctor can work together to make decisions about when travel should simply be avoided. While many carriers have guidelines (discussed below) and while you have friends who can pass on wisdom, nothing can replace the medical advice of a qualified physician familiar with you, baby, and the course of your pregnancy. Plan your trip well. Often, this means allowing extra time for your travel. Expect and plan for additional bathroom breaks. If your trip requires long walks, through airports or otherwise, plan for short rest periods. If you are traveling late in your pregnancy or may have a need for medical care while traveling, check to see where medical facilities are located. Make sure you have a way to manage your luggage; if you need more than an overnight bag, consider using wheeled luggage—and if you already have wheeled luggage, make sure the wheels are still attached and working! Eat well. Eating well is a challenge for many, and traveling makes it even more difficult. Plan ahead to ensure that you will have access to good nutrition, rather than being limited by the lack of time and lack of options that harried and hurried travelers often face. Also, remember to bring your prenatal vitamins to ensure that you and baby are getting what you need. Flying high. If your trip involves more than a car ride, research your carrier’s policy and recommendations for pregnant travelers. Many airlines have specific requirements for pregnant travelers, especially for those late in pregnancy. Depending on the airline and the proximity to baby’s arrival, you may be required

by Steven Davis

to have a letter from your doctor before traveling. Each airline has a different requirement, so be sure to check your carrier’s website for the specific policy, then confirm it with the gate agent upon arrival at the airport. Of course, air travel comes with added security measures designed to protect us all. But do those measures—specifically, metal detectors and body scanners—put baby at risk? Not according to the TSA, which says that the devices are safe for you and baby. Even so, if you are concerned, the TSA allows you to avoid the scans by agreeing to a pat down. If you intend to choose this option, remember to allow for a little extra time. Talk to those who have been where you are—both geographically and physically. They can provide additional wisdom to make your journey easier. Here are some suggestions from formerly pregnant travelers for general travel tips: • Plan for extra bathroom breaks. • Drink plenty of water so you and baby stay hydrated (but see tip immediately above!). • Take breaks to stretch and walk. • Dress comfortably and for temperatures you cannot control, especially if traveling by air. • Take a comfortable pillow. • Plan for extra bathroom breaks.

As you can see, bathroom breaks were a priority! Be ready for the big day. If you are traveling late in your pregnancy, be ready in case baby comes early. Make sure you have your insurance card, a copy of your prenatal records, and any other information you want the hospital to have if baby comes early. Finally, take it easy. Remember, your body has priorities other than travel, and it is using your resources to build another traveler. Traveling can be frustrating and inconvenient even for those who are not pregnant. With a good plan and a little patience, the added difficulty of traveling while pregnant can be minimized. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 53

How Not to Get Stopped by TSA When Flying by Jerry Trachtman Thanks to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doing its job, many travelers have boarded an airline flight with less personal possessions than when they arrived at the airport. Everyone who travels by air knows there are some things that cannot be brought onboard an airline flight, and if found to be in your possession they will be seized by the TSA at the security checkpoint. Even worse, some air travelers have suffered the embarrassment of being singled out by the TSA for additional screening at the TSA checkpoint, or in rare instances have been identified to a law enforcement officer for possible intervention. What have these people done to deserve such treatment? An understanding of what the TSA is looking for as you pass through the airport screening checkpoint may help make your next trip less stressful. The TSA is constantly updating its list of what can and cannot be carried onto the airplane or contained inside checked baggage. Some items you cannot bring into the airplane’s cabin in your pockets or in your carry-on bags are permitted to be inside checked baggage. But be careful. There are items that cannot be carried into the cabin and are also not allowed to be in checked baggage. An easy way to be sure that you are not carrying any prohibited items on your person or in your checked baggage is to review the updated list of prohibited items and

permitted items on the TSA website before you go to the airport ( Screening what you carry onboard the airplane is not the only thing being done by the TSA at the airport. Since 2008, the TSA has been using specially trained Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs) in a program known as Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT). SPOT is a behavior observation and analysis program designed to identify passengers who pose or may pose potential security risks by focusing on behaviors indicative of high levels of fear, stress or deception. Passengers whose behavior exceeds a threshold of behavioral indicators may be singled out for additional screening, or for law enforcement officer intervention. In these instances, the BDO may check the individual’s identity against intelligence, terrorist and law enforcement databases. Uniformed BDOs typically work in two-person teams at airport checkpoint lines, looking for suspect behaviors. The officers sometimes initiate casual conversations with passengers, particularly if a passenger is exhibiting behaviors on the SPOT checklist. In most instances, the conversation will resolve the suspicion. If this happens to you, be yourself. Do not joke about security, and do not complain. According to the TSA, none of the behaviors considered as suspect refer to, or suggest, race, religion or ethnicity. Additionally, no single indicator, by itself, is used to identify a passenger as high risk. A passenger must exhibit several indicators before the BDO intervenes. If you do not like the way the TSA screeners are doing their job, do not complain while Another way to verify what is standing in line. permissible to bring onto the Arrogant complaining about airport security, combined airplane is to download on with other behavioral indicators, may flag you as a high risk your mobile device the iOS passenger and subject you to enhanced screening. Acor Android version of the My cording to the TSA, statistics indicate that for every person TSA App, found on iTunes correctly identified as a high risk passenger by BDO’s, 86 and Google Play. You can were misidentified. This is significantly better than the foralso access the mobile web mer program of random screening, where for every person version on your mobile device correctly identified as a threat, 794 were misidentified. (


The Rules of the Road Helpful tips for driving with cyclists As cycling continues to increase in popularity, more and more people are choosing to hit the roads on two wheels rather than four. However, this also means there’s a higher chance for collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycles on the roadway, by law, are considered to be vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles. However, even though, legally speaking,

by Brittany Monbarren

cyclists are in the same category and can be liable for a motor vehicle accident, the unspoken onus is on the drivers to make the necessary driving adjustments. Whether on a bicycle or in a motorized vehicle, everyone must be cautious while driving the roads. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has provided some tips for all types of drivers to help you avoid collision and protect yourself and others on the road.

D R I V I N G A R O U N D C YC L I STS 1 Check the bike lane. Always be cautious 1. when driving around bike lanes. When turning right or crossing a bike lane, always look behind you for a cyclist. If someone is there, be sure to yield and allow them to cross. It’s not a race to beat the cyclists. 2 2. Allow

extra space when passing cyclists. Just as you would when passing someone in a car, you should always allow extra room between you and a cyclist when passing. To be extra cautions, try to make sure that you have at least 3 to 4 feet of space between you and a cyclist.

3 3. Slow

down. Always reduce your speed when approaching and passing a cyclist. Some roadways can be very narrow and may make it difficult for other drivers

to see in front of you. By reducing your speed, it lets drivers behind you know there’s a reason to slow down ahead. Also, don’t follow them too closely. It’s very intimidating. 4 4. Be

cautious in residential neighborhoods. Cyclists use residential neighborhood roads to easily get around and stay out of heavy traffic. There are also more children biking in these neighborhoods. Always drive slow and make a complete stop at stop signs, because you are at risk of hitting someone if not.

5 5. Use

good manners. Don’t honk to communicate with cyclists, unless it’s an emergency. Also, apologize it you make a mistake. Try to make eye contact or give a wave.

B I C YC L I N G A R O U N D C A R S 1 Be visible. This is the number one safety issue among 1. cyclists. Always use front and back lights, wear light colored or reflective gear. It’s also a good idea to have some sort of reflector on your helmet too. 2 Learn to look over your left shoulder. Motorists are being 2. cautious of their right side, you should also be cautious of your left side. Always look before leaving the bike lane to pass another cyclist. This helps with changing lanes, making eye contact with motorists and your safety as you pass. 3 Always signal. It’s important that you always signal when 3. you’re changing lanes, turning or stopping suddenly. If you

make your intentions clear, motorists and other cyclists will generally give you more space and allow more time for you as you changing lanes. 4 Use good manners. This not only goes for motorists, this also 4. goes for cyclists on the road. If you make a mistake, give the “my bad” wave, if someone does something nice, give them a “thank you” wave. It’s also important to give pedestrians a lot of space. Don’t run them off the road or sidewalk.

With millions of people on the roads, cyclists and motorists must always be considerate of each other and share the roads safely.


Parents Guide to Explaining the Responsibility of Driving to Children by Nathaniel Fick It was almost 6 o’clock. Time for dinner. At 3:30 p.m., her teenage son, Michael, had driven her car to the barbershop to get his hair cut. He should be home by now. She’s called him twice but her calls went directly to his voicemail. Mom paced from the kitchen to the living room and back, not knowing if she wanted her cellphone to ring...or not. Michael had only been driving alone—without an adult in the car—for three days. The ringtone sound of “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics suddenly blared from her cellphone. Deep breath. It’s Michael.


Mom: “Michael, where are you?” Michael: “Mom, I'm OK, but...I'm so sorry. I had an accident.”.” Michael and thousands of other teens face the riskiest phase of their driving lives when they graduate from a learner's permit to a regular license. Finally, for the first time, they're able to drive without a parent in the passenger seat guiding them, telling them what not to do. Telling them how to maintain a safe distance from cars ahead. How to negotiate a lefthand turn at a traffic light. How to signal each turn. Helping a novice driver become a safe driver is a job that takes months, even years. For teens, driving is a rite of passage. It gives them the respect of their peers and freedom, perhaps the most-valued quality in a teen's life. Yet, even though they're convinced nothing bad will happen to them, they overestimate

their own skill and ability while underestimating the risks involved in driving. In reality, the risk of being involved in a crash is at a lifetime high for teen drivers with less than two years of experience. For parents like Michael's mom, it's ambivalence. Parents want to enjoy the relief of no longer having to drive their teens to after-school and other activities. Yet parents worry, often with good reason, about their kids' safety behind the wheel. Will he speed? Will she text and drive? We all want to believe the worst won't happen to our kids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) estimates more than 269,000 teens were injured in

vehicular crashes in 2011; approx. 700 each day. Fatal crashes took lives of more than 3,000 teens that year. You can do your most effective job as a parent and teacher by first understanding the risk factors that lead to crashes. Then, by learning about the solutions designed to mitigate those risks. And, finally, by discovering how you can teach your children safe driving. R I S K FAC TO R S S P E C I F I C TO T E E N DRIVERS

Along with the ordinary risks involved in driving a vehicle in traffic at highway speed—drivers changing lanes unexpectedly, weather conditions, following too closely and many others— there is a class of risks that are especially relevant for teen drivers. @THESAFETYREPORT / THESAFETYREPORT.COM / 57

Teen Passengers – When a teen of 16 to 17 drives with his or her peers in the car, the risk of a serious crash increases dramatically. According to the AAA Foundation, a teen driving with just one teen passenger faces a 44% increase in the likelihood of a fatal crash. Both male and female drivers have more crashes when that passenger is a male. With two or three teen passengers, the risk escalates even further. Horseplay, passengers distracting the driver and speeding are all contributors. Night Driving – Having only the headlights to illuminate the road ahead poses real risks to novice drivers. Research has shown repeatedly that teens driving at night have a far higher crash rate than during daylight hours. Maturity – Neurologists explain that the prefrontal cortex of the human brain can be described as the “executive center”—a place that allows one to anticipate possible outcomes of an action and make decisions to minimize risks. This area of the brain does not fully mature until about age 25, answering the question parents often ask, “What were you thinking about when you did that?” As Jay Giedd, MD, of the National Institutes of Health, explains, “It's sort of unfair to expect them [teens] to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision making before their brain is finished being built.” Experience – On the flip side of the maturity factor lies the lack of experience novice drivers have in controlling the vehicle. Learning to drive safely is not accomplished in a few months. Some experts suggest two years’ experience

is needed to become a truly safe driver. The highways are filled with surprises. They may come at night, in a storm, from an obstacle in the roadway or even something as simple as the driver ahead making a sudden stop or turn. Parents cannot predict what hazards a teen might face, nor can the teen. Only lengthy experience behind the wheel can prepare one for the many unexpected events bound to occur. Speeding – Perhaps you can recall your first months of driving alone and the exhilaration you may have felt by putting the pedal to the metal. For males, especially, there's a tendency to become aggressive with tire-squealing fast starts, sudden stops and taking corners at unsafe speeds. Speeding frequently leads to run-off-the-road single vehicle crashes with male teen drivers. Overall, speeding causes about one-third of all fatal crashes. Scanning Ahead – Novice drivers have a tendency to watch the car immediately ahead of them, rather than scanning ahead to anticipate problems that could develop. Scanning ahead allows one to react to a hazard before it fully develops. Experts recommend looking 12-15 seconds ahead so the driver can maintain a safe distance from hazards—a pedestrian or animal entering the roadway, a driver ahead putting on his brakes or a blind curve. Driver's Education – It may be counterintuitive, but research dating as far back at the 1970s shows no significant reduction in crashes among teens who have taken a driver's ed class versus those who have not. While driver's

ed does provide basic driving skills, most classes deliver only about six hours of actual on-the-road driving practice. It is not prudent to rely only upon a driver's ed class to prepare your teen to get behind the wheel, and therein lies the risk if parents overlook this critical issue. Distraction – The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) attributes about 17% of crashes to this risk factor. The many forms distraction may take fall into three categories: visual (taking eyes off the road); manual (taking hands off the steering wheel); and, cognitive (failing to pay attention to the driving task). Distraction in any form causes the vehicle to proceed essentially out of control. Driving at just 40 mph, a car travels 117 feet in just two seconds, while at 60 mph, 176 feet. That's a lot of ground to cover when you're not in control or aware of what's happening just ahead of you. Seat Belts – Teens have the lowest usage of seat belts among drivers of all ages. In 2011, the teen was not wearing a seat belt in almost three of five fatal crashes. In 2009, about one in eight male teens reported not using a seat belt. Alcohol and Drugs – Since 1991, the percentage of high school aged teens who drive under the influence of alcohol has dropped by more than half. Nevertheless, in 2011 nearly one million teens drank and drove, the CDC reports. Drugs, illicit and otherwise, accounted for over 6% of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in a 2009 report, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

In our next issue, read part 2 of our three-part series on teens and responsible driving. In it, we’ll delve into resources for parents and teens as well as determining the right age for your teen to get behind the wheel. 58 / THE SAFETY REPORT / VOL 5 ED 3


Launches New Tools to Combat Pedestrian Deaths by Stephanie Andre

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a new set of tools to help communities combat the rising number of pedestrian deaths that have occurred over the last two years. As part of the campaign, NHTSA is making $2 million in pedestrian safety grants available to cities with the highest rate of pedestrian deaths, and along with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is launching a one-stop shop website ( with safety tips and resources for local leaders, city planners, parents and others involved in improving pedestrian safety. “Whether you live in a city or a small town, and whether you drive a car, take the bus or ride a train, at some point in the day, everyone is a pedestrian,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We all have a reason to support pedestrian safety, and now, everyone has new tools to help make a difference.” The new website pulls pedestrian safety information from both NHTSA and FHWA and provides safety tips and resources that communities can use to keep pedestrians safe. These resources include information for parents on

teaching children about safe walking, reports on effective pedestrian projects for state highway safety offices, and guides for community pedestrian safety advocates. “We continue to see high rates of pedestrian fatalities in major cities and across every demographic,” says NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “To help stop the recent increase in deaths and injuries, we need everyone to play a role in pedestrian safety. Working with partners on the federal, state, local and individual level, we hope to turn this concerning trend around.” According to NHTSA data, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2011—an 8% increase since 2009. At a recent press conference, NHTSA provided a breakdown of those numbers, which showed that three out of four pedestrian deaths occurred in urban areas and 70% of those killed were at non-intersections. In addition, 70% of deaths occurred at night and many involved alcohol. “We are committed to making roads, highways and bridges safer for pedestrians,” says Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “We’re working to create safer environments for everyone, whether it’s getting proven safety measures onto roads and at intersections or sharing online resources with schools, teachers, and parents that teach kids pedestrian safety.” Since 2009, FHWA has committed more than $3.8 billion to more than 11,000 projects that make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The agency provides resources and expertise to improve walking routes and infrastructure, such as offering technical assistance to cities and states with the highest pedestrian fatalities and tools, such as Pedsafe, an online toolbox that communities can use to improve pedestrian safety in their area.




VACATION SCAMMERS by Brittany Monbarren

Too often, when booking a vacation, we tend to gravitate to whatever is easiest for us, booking online. The Internet has made it quick, easy and cheaper to find a vacation rental home. However, is quick, easy and cheaper always the better way to go? As you may know, scam artists can fool people in a variety of ways, but have you ever thought about vacation rental properties? According to the Better Business Bureau, scam artists place fake ads online and list vacation rental homes for great deals. They will steal property descriptions and photos that are listed on a real estate website, or they will use an address that


is not even up for rent to create a fake vacation rental ad. To ensure that you are safely booking the vacation rental of your dreams and not being scammed, consider these tips: Beware of super cheap rates. The statement, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” goes hand in hand with vacation rentals. Most too often, scammers list vacation rentals for super low rates so they can entice a large number of travelers in a short period of time. The first thing you need to do when looking for vacation rentals is

to notice the super-cheap rates. If a listing is marked as half the price as all of the other comparable ones in the surrounding area, beware. Cyberstalk the owner. If you find a vacation rental home that you love and have talked to the owner of the home via email, it’s important that you always do some personal investigation. The Internet is the perfect tool for the investigation process. Always make sure that the information they give you is the same information that you find online. A good place to start is by searching the owner’s name, phone number and


place of residence on a search engine like Google or Yahoo!. You can also visit the local property appraiser’s website or the state’s property database to verify that the person you are working with actually owns the rental property. Look at the online reviews. Use the Internet to search for reviews about the vacation rental home. After you research their personal information, visit the rental property’s online reviews. Beware of questionable reviews. Also, in the reviews, previous renters often include the owners’ names. If the names in the review do not match the name of the person you’re working with, that is a

warning sign that something isn’t right. Contact the owner via phone. Using the Internet may be the easier and faster way to communicate with someone, but taking the time to chat with the owner on the telephone can help give you a better range on the rental situation. Yes, it is possible to be scammed over the phone. However, talking via phone allows you to ask specific questions and listen carefully. Pay by credit card. After you have done all of your research and it’s time to put down the deposit, always use your credit card.

Never pay by wire transfer. If you’re asked to pay by wire transfer, run far, far away. Also, be cautious when paying through sites such as PayPal because if you don’t get what you pay for, you may not be able to dispute it. Paying by credit card is the best way to go. If something does go wrong, you will be able to successfully dispute it and you will be refunded the money because of the protections your card offers. Before booking your dream vacation rental home, always do your research and investigate. Never book something with which you don’t feel comfortable. Always listen to your gut feeling because it’s usually right.


“I Choose” anti-bullying campaign

The “I Choose” campaign is a challenge and movement for change. It’s about recognizing bullying for what it is: a choice. What you say or do to someone has the power to affect that person’s life. The campaign challenges people to stop, think and remember that their choices matter.

What do you choose? We believe that there are five powerful choices that kids and teens can make to counter bullying: Friendship Kindness Respect Compassion Love

How you can be a part of the “I Choose” movement Teachers If you are interested in incorporating the “I Choose” Anti-Bullying Challenge into your classroom or school, please visit and get signed up today.

Youth Whether you were the victim or you know someone who was, your story has the power to shift someone’s perspective. Visit to share your story and make your choice.

Supporters Spread the message by purchasing an “I Choose” bracelet for yourself or a child in your life.

As written about in

and proudly supported by

Team Up to stop bullying.


But when you’re behind a steering wheel and your eyes leave the road—that ONE single second can change a life. ONE second is all it takes to be distracted. When you are driving, it should not be a secondary task—it should be the only task. (End Distracted Driving) was established to raise awareness and generate action against the epidemic of distracted driving. DISTRACTIONS INCLUDE:


Taking eyes off the road


Taking hands off the road


Taking mind off the road

While texting and talking on the phone are both mental and physical distractions, cellphone use is attributed to 18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes.

What makes up the other 82%? » Putting on makeup » Reaching to grab a drink » Changing the music » Dealing with the GPS » Eating on the go The distractions are endless. But they don’t have to be. The Core Mission of EndDD Our core mission is to preserve life and promote safety on a large scale through advocacy, education and action. It is our hope that we can prevent families and friends from suffering the loss of a loved one because of distracted driving. Together, let’s work to prevent distracted driving from claiming another life.

VISIT US ONLINE web: twitter: facebook:

End Distracted Driving is sponsored by the Casey Feldman Foundation and is dedicated to inspiring individuals and communities to take action to end distracted driving. CONTACT US toll-free at 855-363-3478 or @end_DD EndDistractedDrving


DOs & DON’Ts



Check local building codes.

Play it safe with electricity.

Start before you’re fully prepared. Reinvent the wheel.


Stop a project midway. Use the right tools. Ignore safety.

Call a professional if you’re unsure.


Wear safety gear. Prep before you paint.


Mess with structural framing without an expert.


Milestone Consulting, LLC is a comprehensive settlement planning and management firm. We believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Our consultants are licensed in all fifty states to provide guidance on settlement-related issues including government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, wealth preservation, and annuities. We also provide mediation support to assist the plaintiff in reaching a settlement that will meet their present and future medical and financial needs. In addition to our work with plaintiffs and trial attorneys, we actively support a number of civil justice organizations, including The Injury Board, the American Association for Justice, the Civil Justice Foundation, and statewide organizations in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit our website at

Determining the Medicare SetAside (MSA) allocation is a critical part of settlement in many liability and Workers’ Compensation cases. The amount is determined by adding up the cost of future injuryrelated medical treatment (which would otherwise be payable by Medicare Parts A & B) and future injury-related prescription drug treatment (which would otherwise be payable by Medicare Part D). Why Not Rely on the Defense’s Allocation Report? The defense broker is not required to keep the plaintiff’s best interests in mind. By using the defense’s allocation report, the plaintiff runs the risk of using a report prepared by a carrier tied to the defense. There are a number of factors that may not be taken into account by the defense’s allocation firm, including: »» Life expectancy: Life expectancy can- and should- be a major determining factor in assessing the future cost of care and therefore, the set-aside amount. Higher rated ages (based on a number of health-related factors) equal a shorter life expectancy, which could result in a lower projected cost for future injuryrelated medical care. »» Estimated generic pricing of prescriptions: To date, there are no current regulations for pharmaceutical pricing in liability cases*. Generic versions of prescription medications can be substituted for brand

name prescription medications, resulting in an lower overall allocation. »» Use of structured arrangements: In Workers’ Compensation cases that require future surgical care, the claimant can elect to receive a lump sum in an amount equal to the first expected surgery and/or replacement, and two years of annual payments. The remaining funds are then annuitized and divided as annual payments over the course of the claimant’s life expectancy. If the claimant selects this option, once the payment for a given year has been exhausted, Medicare will cover any additional costs related to the work injury during that year. These factors can all contribute to the cost of the MSA—sometimes significantly. In addition to having the right to review the allocation prepared by the defense, the plaintiff also has the right to obtain a report from an allocation firm selected by the plaintiff’s attorney or settlement consultant. An accurate allocation will allow the plaintiff to retain as much of their settlement as possible, while also ensuring that Medicare’s interests are adequately protected.

*In Workers’ Compensation cases, pharmaceutical pricing is determined using the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) methodology.

milestone consulting s e t t l e me nt p l anni ng & manage me nt

{in life, there comes a time to move forward to the next milestone.}

At Milestone, we believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Our comprehensive planning services include the areas of government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, and wealth preservation. We offer assistance during mediation to ensure that your client’s settlement will meet their future medical and financial needs.

Contact us today to learn more about what our solutions can do for your clients: 855.836.2676

Together, we will help your clients move forward.

john t. bair Founder/Member

howard t. saperston Founder/Member

737 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203 | phone 716.883.1833 | fax 716.883.2124 | toll-free 855.836.2676 |

The Safety Report V5E3 - Milestone  

Drug abuse now kills more Americans per year than homicide or car accidents. If you delve a bit deeper, you’ll see that much of this war is...

The Safety Report V5E3 - Milestone  

Drug abuse now kills more Americans per year than homicide or car accidents. If you delve a bit deeper, you’ll see that much of this war is...