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.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New WA marijuana legislation & its impact on local youth

During this year's state legislative session, two bills were adopted that make changes to the marijuana systems in Washington. Below is a summary as they relate to youth in NE Seattle.

Cannabis Patient Protection Act (5052)
  • Eliminates medical marijuana businesses.
  • Requires the newly re-named Liquor & Cannabis Board (LCB) to increase the number of marijuana retail licenses they issue.
  • Creates a voluntary medical marijuana registry. Those who register as medical marijuana users are exempt from the marijuana excise tax. With a medical marijuana authorization card, people can possess more marijuana than they can without one.

Comprehensive Marijuana Market Reforms (2136)
  • Permits local jurisdictions to reduce the buffer between marijuana businesses and community centers, transit centers, libraries, arcades, and child care centers from 1,000 feet to 100 feet. The 1,000 foot buffer between schools and marijuana businesses remains.
  • Allows retailers to have an additional sign identifying their business and trade name.
  • Prohibits consumption in a "public place" instead of "in view of the public".
  • Eliminates the 25% excise taxes on marijuana producers (growers) and processors and increases the excise tax on retail marijuana sales to 37%.
  • Provides some marijuana tax revenue to local jurisdictions based on retail sales and population.

Local Impact
  • More businesses: LCB likely will increase the number of marijuana business licenses for Seattle.
  • Smaller buffer zones: The City Council likely will reduce the 1,000 foot buffer between marijuana businesses and places where children frequently congregate.
  • Business clusters: Since most of Seattle is zoned as single family residential, which is off-limits for any marijuana business, marijuana businesses likely will continue to be clustered along large arterials and in only certain areas of the city.
  • Businesses in a few neighborhoods: In NE Seattle, areas that could see more marijuana businesses include the University District, Lake City, Northgate, and Jackson Park.
  • Continued public use: Since most tickets for using marijuana in public are given to people in the greater Downtown area, the public use definition change likely will have little impact on NE Seattle. It is unclear if the public place definition will change enforcement of the law during festivals like Hempfest.

What Prevention Science Tells Us
  • Research has repeatedly shown that the more places that sell alcohol, tobacco, and fast food in a community the more likely teenagers are to consume those products.
  • Research has repeatedly shown that taxes on cigarettes and alcohol decrease youth use of those products.
  • Substance use prevention coalitions are proven to reduce population-level adolescent drug use rates. This is especially true when schools that are part of coalitions implement evidence-based curricula, such as Life Skills Training and Project Alert.
  • Most teenagers who use alcohol and marijuana report getting the drugs socially, mostly from friends. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Encouraging parents to talk to their kids about marijuana

The Washington Poison Center continues to report increased "exposures" to marijuana among teenagers. In other words, kids continue to gain access to marijuana and report adverse health effects.

That's why it is particularly important for parents to talk to their children about not using marijuana. To help parents, Prevention WINS and other coalitions in the Seattle area have been conducting an awareness campaign with billboards and transit ads featuring doctors from Seattle Children's Hospital.

This one, featuring Dr. Glen Tamura, appears at the corner of Lake City Way and NE 95th Street.

The billboards direct parents to visit Parenting guides are also available through the ADAI Clearinghouse.