Monday, June 6, 2011

Attention NYS Govt.. Lets get on board!

Utah Attorney General discusses a plan to curb prescription drug abuse, a seriousproblem plaguing our nation both physically and financially. There is trulypower in numbers and I think if NYS were to jump on board with Utah's plan, greatstrides in solving this issue can be made!

PrescriptionDrug Abuse: Unique Challenge for Law Enforcement

Prescriptiondrug abuse is unlike any other type of drug addiction. People whowouldn’t dream of smoking marijuana or snorting cocaine can findthemselves addicted to painkillers that have been prescribed by their doctor.

In Utah, prescription drugabuse is our number one drug problem, and the number one cause of accidental death, ahead of car crashes.

I got a taste of how difficult it can be to get off pain medication in 2007, after amotorcycle accident crushed my left leg. I took several types of painkillers asI went through multiple surgeries. When the external frame finally came off myleg, I realized I still needed painkillers. One Friday night, with my leg hurting badly, I came home planning on taking a pain pill. That’s when mywife told me I was done with painkillers—she had gotten rid of them. Iwas only taking 10 mg of OxyContin, but I still felt I needed it to get by. NowI understand how people can feel worse than they ever have in their life and know that if they take one pill they will feel better than they ever have.

We ares eeing several particularly disturbing aspects of prescription drug abuse. Oneis teenagers’ casual attitude about these medications. They seeprescriptions in their parents’ medicine cabinet and think, ‘How dangerous can it be if a doctor says it’s safe to take?’ Another isthe number of people who are becoming addicted to prescription painkillers andthen switching to heroin, which is less expensive.

This epidemic presents unique challenges for law enforcement. Instead of targetingdrug dealers, law enforcement officials often are confronted with patients inpain and doctors who want to help them. We need to educate both doctors andpatients about the addictive nature of prescription drugs, while at the same time preventing people from “doctor shopping” to collectprescriptions for opioids.

We are addressing the problem on several fronts. In Utah, we formed a Strike Forceseveral years ago that is working to reduce the availability of prescriptiondrugs for abuse, and educate the public about the risks associated withprescription painkillers and why they should not be using these drugs fornon-medical reasons.

Utah also recently passed a law that requires doctors to take continuing medicaleducation courses on controlled substance prescribing for each licensingperiod.

One key feature of our campaign to combat prescription drug abuse is our website, This site explains theproblems of prescription drug abuse, and how to safely use, store and disposeof prescription drugs.

Utah’s controlled substance monitoring database is now receiving prescriptioninformation in real time, to make doctor shopping more difficult for peopleseeking multiple prescriptions. Ultimately I would like to see the creation ofa nationwide electronic prescription database that would do away with paperprescriptions altogether. Such a system would go a long way toward cutting downon prescription drug fraud.

Because our state has already been focused on prescription drug abuse for the pastthree years, we are ahead of many other states in tackling the problem. Butwith many drug monitoring databases already or soon to be set up in manystates, and National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days collecting hundreds ofthousands of pounds of unwanted or expired medications for safe and properdisposal, we are beginning to make progress nationwide.

This fight is costly, and in this difficult economic climate we are competing withmany important needs. One way in which I hope Utah can pay for the fight againstprescription drug abuse is by setting aside a percentage of settlements madewith pharmaceutical companies that we sued for fraud for inflating the cost ofprescription drugs sold to the state Medicaid program. I am hoping ourLegislature will agree to this plan.

I am optimistic that through a combination of law enforcement and education ofhealth care professionals and the public, we can greatly reduce the terribletoll that prescription drug abuse is taking on our state and our nation.

Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Memorial Day

Here are some pictures from the Corning Memorial Day parade. It was wonderful to meet all the Little Miss Finger Lakes and Colonial Days title holders... such cuties! And as always, an honor to receive the congratulations of all the attendees as well as the good luck wishes for Miss NY in a few weeks!

Friday, May 27, 2011

National Drug Court Month

National Drug Court Month is a powerful demonstration to raise awareness of the beneficial roles Drug Courts play in society both socially and financially.

What do Drug Courts Do?
They provide an alternative to incarceration facilities for non-violent, drug involved offenders. Drug courts differ from regular courts in the fact that they allow for collaboration among judiciary, correction agencies, drug treatment providers, and other community groups which allows the individual to receive the appropriate level of punishment while simultaneously receiving treatment to solve their substance abuse problem (which is likely to have caused the problem in the first place). If these individuals were to be incarcerated they likely would not receive the necessary level of treatment to solve their addiction, and upon release, they are more likely to become repeat offenders, thus costing the American tax payers more money. Drug courts allow for the proper balance between the need for treatment and the need for accountability (supervision, probation, monthly court appearances). The balance presented by these two elements, which is not found in traditional court settings in relation to other illegal behaviors, has proven to successfully prevent future criminal activity, reduce financial burden of repeatedly processing non-violent offenders through the national court/jail system, and increase treatment and recovery of substance abusers.

Some Facts & How They Show the Benefits of Drug Courts:
  • 80% of prison inmates abuse drugs and alcohol and nearly 50% are clinically deemed addicts
  • approx. 60% of individuals arrested for a variety of crimes test positive for elicit drugs at the time of arrest
    • Substance abuse issues play a major role in inmates cause for imprisonment
  • 60-80% of drug abusers become repeat offenders after released from prison
  • about 95% return to using drugs after release
    • imprisonment has little effect on drug use
  • unless regularly supervised while in prison, 60-80% inmates drop out of treatment before successful completion
    • providing treatment without holding individual legally accountable
  • drug courts are 6 times more likely to keep offenders in treatment long enough for them to get better
    • proper balance between the need for treatment and the need for accountability
  • Drug courts reduce crime more than any other program
    • effects on crime last for years, if not decades
  • Preserve families and save abused and neglected children
    • parents who go through Family Drug Courts are more likely to go to treatment and complete it & their children spend significantly less time separated from them
  • For every federal dollar invested in Drug Courts,  $4.30 is leveraged in state funding
    If Drug Courts were expanded to treat all eligible individuals, this would save $2.14 for every $1 invested = $1.17 billion annually!
    • Drug Courts save tax payers $$$ but are not reaching the many citizens who could benefit from them

Overall, by increasing the number of Drug Courts around the country, more individuals who need help along with tax payers would benefit. In addition, future criminal activity would be greatly decreased along with the financial burden of processing low-level non violent arrestees through the nation's courts and prisons. Drug courts balance the need for treatment and the need for accountability, which is not seen in the regular court system. The goal of National Drug Court Month is to raise awareness of the need & benefit of such institutions as to give those who suffer from substance abuse and addiction, along with their loved ones, hope and redemption along with improvement in public heath and community safety!

References & for more information:

Saturday, May 21, 2011


After a beautiful commencement ceremony at UB's Alumni Arena, I am officially a Canisius College graduate!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It's GO time!

I'm back! After a few months of really hard work, I can FINALLY say I am a graduate (with honors!) from Canisius College and an official certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) as I passed my boards! I will walk at graduation this coming Saturday and I can not wait to celebrate all of my hard work... what a relief! But.. now the ever important preparations for Miss NY take the forefront. It's GO time!

Here is some of what I have been doing the past month or so:

Dyngus Day: April 25
It was an honor to be part of one of the world's most popular Dyngus Day parades, right in the heart of Buffalo, NY! The parade, run by Dyngus Day Buffalo and Dyngus Day USA, promotes public awareness of Buffalo as the Dyngus Day Capital of the World. It is the goal of the organization to grow Dyngus Day through public awareness and education and to promote Polish customs with accuracy, integrity, and liveliness. Dyngus Day USA is an ongoing contributor to the promotion and development of Polish American culture throughout North America. Jeszcze Polonia Nie Zginęła!

Visit to KED & Renaissance Campus:

The mission of the Kids Escaping Drugs organization is to raise, manage and distribute funds for the development and support of facilities, education and prevention programs for adolescents and their families in Western New York suffering from alcohol and drug dependency/addiction. The Campus consists of three buildings that house up to 62 chemically-dependent youths ages 12 to 20. Renaissance House is a 30 bed intensive treatment facility for boys, Stepping Stones is a 16 bed girls' residence which combines both inpatient and continuum of care programs while Promise House is a 16 bed continuum of care residence for boys. Visiting the campus and learning about just how much of a problem substance abuse is in the WNY area, primarily in middle and High School aged kids, was a real eye opener and certainly instilled a greater drive for me to make an impact with my platform of Peer, Community & Family Influence on Curbing Substance Abuse. My visit allowed me to connect with members of the organization in a capacity that will allow me to do this and for that I am excited and grateful. This trip was a success!

CMN Bachelor Auction in Corning
This has been one of the most fun appearances I have had thus far! It was awesome to connect with the community in which my title represents along with raising just over $3,000 for the Children's Miracle Network! I escorted the handsome bachelors along with Miss FL 2010 Amy Valenti, Miss Greater Rochester 2011 Chelsea Prophet, and Stacey Minchin Miss NY International. Our choreographed dances and skits down the runway stole the show and helped to show the ladies how worthy these guys were of bidding on!

Kids Escaping Drugs & NHS Walk for Kids: For 19 years, the Kids Escaping Drugs Campaign and the local National Honor Society chapters have been working together to raise over $280,000 for Renaissance Campus with the Walk for Kids event! This year's walk was held at Canisius College's Koessler Athletic Center, which was especially cool for me because as a Sports Medicine major I have spent a lot of time there and it was a great last memory to create there. I worked the raffle table and was so lucky to have met Josh who is a graduate of Renaissance House and who shared his story of triumph over addiction with me. He was  beyond inspiring and someone that I will continue to confide in for help with work related to my platform. The entire event was so well put together and an amazing way for High School kids to do their part to support substance abuse awareness and help put an end to the ever prevalent issue that they experience among their peers on a daily basis!

So now that I am caught up you can expect regular updates with a lot of fun stuff!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Time is flying!

On March 25 I had an appearance at the 2011 Buffalo Motorama which was held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention center as an employee of People, Inc.volunteering/Miss FL. We teamed up with Airport Plaza Jewelers who purchased a ton of chocolate for People, Inc. to sell through the Easter holiday. Last year, over $25,000 was donated to People, Inc (Western New York's leading human services agency), as television's most well-known jeweler, Don Hoffman, allowed the agency to transform his large "The Showroom" facility in the Airport Plaza into a chocolate store, selling delicious Fowler's Chocolate Easter candy. Hoffman donated his building, staff, and three weeks of advertising time towards the successful project. 100% of net proceeds went to People Inc. (Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars!). This year's fund-raiser promises to be bigger and better, especially with the half-hour show dedicated to promoting the sale and your generous support of it. Visit for more information on how to purchase chocolate or donate to People, Inc.!

The following night I walked in the "A Year Of Inciting The Riot Fashion and Music Mayhem" fashion show for Eurostyle apparel which can be purchased at Splash Panic on Elmwood in Buffalo and at Ooo La La Boutique on Main St. in East Aurora, check it out: Eurostyle Apparel



Also, last night a new Miss Mohawk Valley 2011 was crowned! Unfortunately I was not able to attend due to being sick but I am very excited to welcome Lynn Tryon to the MNY 2011 family! See you next weekend girl! Congratulations to all of the contestants in this year's pageant on a job well done, everyone looked stunning in the pictures I've seen!

More to come soon! XO,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Catch Up

It has been one thing after another for me the past couple of weeks, but I have finally caught a break and am so excited to share some updates! So here we go....

March 13: Miss Greater Rochester Pageant
I was thrilled to be able to attend the Miss GR pageant both because I was a contestant in the past and because this was my very first time being able to sit back and watch a MAO pageant! I met the wonderful Miss Buffalo 2011, Desiree Wiley, who was a pleasure to chat with and share each of our experiences up to this point. Boy, were we in for a treat watching each of the amazing contestants compete in such a well put together event. Katie Martin, Miss GR 2010, was also a pleasure to watch and her story of her involvement in the MAO organization was truly inspirational... it gave me a lot of pride to be in the position that I am and taught me to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way and to learn from it! As the announcement of the top 3 ladies was about to begin I watched with baited breath because I truly could not have singled out one contestant from the group to be the winner as they all did amazing. When Chelsea Prophet was crowned Miss Greater Rochester 2011 I was so happy for her and so excited to have another Buffalo Area sister join the MNY Class of 2011! Congratulations to Chelsea, all of the contestants in this year's pageant, and Katie for an amazing year.

March 20: Buffalo St Patrick's Day Parade
This year it was such an honor to ride in Buffalo's St. Patrick's Day parade which is the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the country! Accompanying me was the Buffalo Jills' Rookie of the Year, Gina Barbera. My brother, Tyler, was nice enough to drive us girls down the parade route (even though I think he had just as much fun as we did and was proud to show off his car more than his sister and Gina!)  It was amazing to see the thousands of people who came out to this event, their amazing reception and excitement when my float went by, and to experience  the general excitement that people in Buffalo have the ability to bring to any occasion.

March 23: Photo session with Shawn Connors
Yesterday I got to see my old friend Shawn Connors and also took some great pictures too! Thank you Shawn! If anyone would like to contact Shawn in order to set up a photo session please contact me ( and I would be glad to send you his information!

More updates to come after an appearance at the Motorama Auto Show tomorrow as a spokesperson for People, Inc. and walking for Eurostyle Apparel in the "A Year Of Inciting The Riot Fashion and Music Mayhem" show. Click here for more information on attending this event on Saturday, March 26!