Friday, October 9, 2015

Teens' positive views of marijuana and alcohol associated with future DUI

Check out Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson's blog post about why it's important to talk with children in early middle school about marijuana and alcohol.

Here's an excerpt:

New acronym for me this week: RWDD. It’s “Riding With a Drinking Driver.” Not a drunk one, but someone who has been drinking . . . A study out yesterday in Pediatrics is worth a quick mention to any parent or any adult or any family doc or any pediatrician or any nurse practitioner or any medical assistant or any coach or any teacher that has contact/supervision/leadership/influence with a teen. The study, conducted on middle school students in the Los Angeles area, found that positive beliefs about marijuana at age 12 were predictors of later getting a DUI or RWDD when a new teen driver 4 years later. Translation: middle school is a wild time of transition and the time we should check in about marijuana’s lack of safety and risks associated with alcohol. Researchers conclude that 6th grade is when we should be talking with our tweens, that “positive beliefs and ability to resist marijuana in early adolescence, not actual alcohol and marijuana use, had the strongest association with DUI  and RWDD ∼4 years later.”

Dr. Swanson talked about how positive views on marijuana and alcohol are associated with future DUI on King5:


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Parent education forum November 18: Preventing Teen Drug Use

Dr. Leslie R. Walker
What can parents do as alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs become more available? Find out during a free parent education forum:

Preventing Teen Drug Use
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Seattle Children's Hospital
Wright Auditorium
Enter hospital through the River Entrance

Dr. Leslie R. Walker, Chief of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children's, will discuss teen health, the impact of drug use, and what parents can do to prevent it.

Her talk will be followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Lisa Chinn, Seattle Children's Licensed Mental Health & Chemical Dependency Professional. In addition to Dr. Walker, panelists are:
  • Dr. Suzan Mazor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at Seattle Children's
  • Kipp Strong, Seattle Police Department Officer
  • Rachel & Joseph, parents of a college sophomore.

Monday, September 28, 2015

President's weekly message focuses on prescription drug abuse

As part of the publicity for last Saturday's National Prescription Drug Take-back Day, President Obama focused his weekly address to the nation on prescription drug abuse and the need to secure and safely dispose of drugs in the household medicine cabinet.

Here is part of what he said:

More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car crashes. And most of those deaths aren’t due to drugs like cocaine or heroin – but rather prescription drugs. In 2013 alone, overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 Americans. And most young people who begin misusing prescription drugs don’t buy them in some dark alley – they get them from the medicine cabinet.

If that’s not a good enough reason to participate in “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day,” here’s another. Many prescription pain medications belong to the same class of drugs as heroin. In fact, four in five heroin users started out by misusing prescription drugs. And over the course of just one year, between 2013 and 2014, we saw a 33% increase in the number of heroin users.

All of this takes a terrible toll on too many families, in too many communities, all across the country – big and small, urban and rural. It strains law enforcement and treatment programs. It costs all of us – in so many different ways.

Friday, September 25, 2015

New rules allow for more marijuana businesses

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) this week adopted emergency rules and issued new draft rules to begin the public process of aligning the medical marijuana market with the existing recreational market. The Board’s actions are the result of 2015 legislation, the Cannabis Patient Protection Act, which established a system for licensing existing medical marijuana outlets. The emergency rules, which are effective immediately, allow the WSLCB to begin the process of licensing medical marijuana outlets as new retail outlets that may sell both medical and recreational marijuana. Existing recreational stores may also apply for an endorsement to sell both.

Outlet Density
There will not be an initial cap on the number of retail licenses that will be approved by the WSLCB. Previously, the number of retail stores to be licensed by the WSLCB was capped, similar to the cap on liquor stores prior to privatization. This cap was a component of a more tightly regulated market supporting public health goals. Public health research repeatedly shows that when communities are home to a large number of alcohol and tobacco outlets, teenagers tend to use alcohol and tobacco at higher than average rates.

The new rules also include the ability for local jurisdictions, such as Seattle, to permit licensing of marijuana businesses within 1,000 feet but not less than 100 feet from recreation centers, child care centers, public parks, public transit centers, libraries, and game arcades. Businesses must still be at least 1,000 feet away from elementary and secondary schools as well as playgrounds.

Public Hearings
In November, the public may comment in person on the draft rules at six evening public hearings scheduled throughout the state. A public hearing will be held in Seattle on November 16.Tentative times and locations for the public hearings are available in the public hearing section of the WSLCB website.  

Comments may also be sent to the WSLCB by November 19:
Rules Coordinator
Liquor & Cannabis Board
PO Box 43080
Olympia, WA 98504-3080

Monday, September 14, 2015

Talking about marijuana with your teens

Talking about marijuana with kids can be difficult - especially these days, with the drug legalized in some states and the increasingly casual presence of weed in the media and pop culture. But with the right tools and skills, parents can have easier, more productive conversations with their children about marijuana.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids launched a new YouTube video series for parents. The videos are designed to give you quick and simple tips and skills that will help you answer all kinds of tough questions and respond to push-back from teens.

These videos will cover topics like:

How to respond to challenges from your teen like, “But you smoked when you were younger”; and more.

These conversations can be challenging, and they are here to help. For more tips on how to talk about marijuana, download the free parent guide.

Information courtesy of UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute.

Community programs show significant decrease in teen drug use

Between the years 2006 and 2014, Prevention WINS has worked in Eckstein middle school, with the goal of preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana in teens. In the 2008 Washington State healthy youth survey, 10% of 8th grade students said they used alcohol and 5% said they used tobacco. After working with the Prevention WINS coalition, in 2014 the number had dropped to 7% for alcohol and only 1% for tobacco. This is great considering the state average for alcohol is 8% and tobacco is 4%. Meaning that within the time the Prevention WINS coalition was able to work with the students at Eckstein their numbers dropped below the state averages.

On the national scale, with the help of prevention coalitions, alcohol and tobacco use in middle school students has decreased significantly. With both local and national data pointing in the same direction, it is clear prevention coalitions greatly benefit students who would otherwise go unaware of the dangers of drug abuse.  
Eckstein middle school 8th grade alcohol use rates:
2006: 9%                                                                             
2008: 10%                                                                                           
2010: 10%                                                                                           
2012: 11%                                                                                           
2014: 7%
Eckstein middle school 8th grade tobacco use rates:
2008: 5%
2010: 3%
2012: 6%
2014: 1%

September 26th is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) 10th national Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will take place Saturday, September 26th from 10 am to 2 pm local time in every state. Prescription Drug Take-Backs are vital, preventing abuse and theft of unused drugs.  Far too many Americans are hurt by the misuse of prescription drugs. From diminishing achievements in school and greater risks on our roads, to lives cut tragically short by overdose. The consequences of substance abuse are profound. That’s why Prescription Drug Take-Backs are so important. All Seattle police precincts will be participating on September the 26th, and will gladly take back your unused drugs.

 For information about what police precinct you’re in, click here

For more information about the DEA’s Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, click here

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Prevention WINS awarded funding for 5 more years

Good news! Prevention WINS, in collaboration with Seattle Children's Hospital, was awarded five more years of funding from the federal Drug Free Communities (DFC) program! Funded by a DFC grant since 2010, this grant will enable Prevention WINS to continue substance us prevention work in NE Seattle through 2020. Twenty-eight coalitions in our state receive DFC funding to support community-based youth substance use prevention activities that address specific risk factors in each community.

Using local data, Prevention WINS identified the following risk factors specific to NE Seattle that will be addressed by coalition activities:
  • Increasingly easy for adolescents to access marijuana, alcohol, and prescription drugs.
  • Drug use decreasingly perceived as risky.
To learn more, attend the next Prevention WINS coalition meeting on September 22, 8-9:30 a.m., at Seattle Children's Hospital. For more information, contact the Prevention WINS coordinator.

Friday, July 31, 2015

How to unleash the power of prevention

Essential reading for people interested in preventing mental health problems, youth substance use, risky driving behaviors, aggressive and delinquent behaviors, adolescent violence, and self-inflicted injury:

Unleashing the Power of Prevention and A Challenge to Unleash the Power of Prevention, both released last month by the Institute of Medicine. 

The first article starts with: Every day across America, behavioral health problems in childhood and adolescence, from anxiety to violence, take a heavy toll on millions of lives. For decades the approach to these problems has been to treat them only after they’ve been identified—at a high and ongoing cost to young people, families, entire communities, and our nation. Now we have a 30-year body of research and more than 50 programs showing that behavioral health problems can be prevented. This critical mass of prevention science is converging with growing interest in prevention across health care, education, child psychiatry, child welfare, and juvenile justice. Together, we stand at the threshold of a new age of prevention. The challenge now is to mobilize across disciplines and communities to unleash the power of prevention on a nationwide scale.

Monday, July 27, 2015

What current research says about teen marijuana use

The August 2015 Journal of Adolescent Health includes four articles about teen marijuana use.

Conclusion: Results support a growing body of work suggesting that frequent marijuana use (six or more times in the past 30 days) predicts a lower likelihood of post secondary educational attainment, and this difference may originate during secondary school.

Conclusion: Adolescents have learned from multiple sources about risks of using cigarettes, but they receive much less and often incorrect information regarding marijuana and e-cigarettes, likely resulting in their positive and often ambivalent perceptions of marijuana and e-cigarettes.

Conclusion: Substance use recently declined among high school seniors, except for marijuana use, particularly among black youth. The increasing association between marijuana and other substances among black adolescents suggests further amplification in critical health disparities.

Conclusion: This study is the first to provide nationally representative data on three groups of adolescent marijuana users. Although most adolescents (who use marijuana) use illicit sources, more adolescents (who use marijuana) appear to be using diverted medical marijuana, than using medical marijuana legally.