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.