Washington's youth marijuana use prevention
efforts featured on TVW's
The Impact

A survey scheduled for this fall will reveal whether marijuana use among Washington youth is on the rise, state officials say.

Although the hope is that marijuana use among teens will stay flat – as shown in a 2014 survey – or even decline, the “predictors are that it will go up,” said Michael Langer, prevention and treatment supervisor for the Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery at DSHS. That is because as the so-called “perception of harm” with marijuana, as with any drug, goes down, its use will often rise. Langer said that the lower perception of harm seems to pre-date the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use, tying it instead to the legalization of marijuana for medical use some years before.
Langer and Steve Smothers, marijuana education and prevention manager for the Washington Department of Health, appeared on TVW’s The Impact to speak about youth substance abuse issues and the Healthy Youth Survey, taken every two years by 220,000 middle and high school age students.

Smothers cautions that there is “a lot of misinformation out there” and while more research needs to be done, “we as educators need to educate people about the risks of marijuana.”

When show host Anita Kissée asked what the state is doing to prevent youth use, Smothers pointed to the recent launch of the youth-focused web site ListentoYourSelfie.org that explains how marijuana might hamper a youth’s chances of fulfilling goals like a college degree or athletic achievements. Langer pointed to efforts by a multi-agency healthy youth coalition and the web site StartTalkingNow.org that educates parents on how to talk to their children about alcohol and marijuana use.

“Grade school is not too early,” Langer said. The state hosts two youth-focused events, the Spring Youth Forum and the Washington Prevention Summit in the fall, that brings teams together to showcase youth prevention efforts.

Results from the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey are expected to be made public in early 2017 after data is collected and analyzed.

New youth-focused web site empowers teens
to 'Remember what's important. Forget marijuana'
A new web site launched by the Washington Department of Health challenges youth to consider the long-term consequences of choosing to use marijuana. The site, Listen2YourSelfie.org, features real stories from teens to discuss why marijuana use might be the wrong decision. It includes sections on health effects,
the potential impacts on school plans and success in life, and the legal ramifications of marijuana. The site was developed by the Department of Health with funds from legal recreational marijuana sales for adults through Initiative 502.

The site was developed based on conversations with youth in focus groups held in several communities across the state.  

Marijuana legalization has consequences,
new Washington-based study finds

Adults in Washington state rank among the highest users of marijuana in the nation, pot is disrupting the classroom and cannabis grown in The Evergreen State is being illegally ex
rted across America, concludes a new report that examines the impacts of the drug since voters
legalized it for recreational use in 2012.

The 142-page report, produced by a federally funded office in Seattle that works closely with law enforcement on drug trafficking issues, draws information from 37 public entities to provi
de a comprehensive snapshot of the impacts of Initiative 502. It covers the history of marijuana in Washington since voters approved it for medical use in 1998 and reviews key state laws, regulations and rulings over those 18 years.

(Continue reading) 


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Office of National Drug Control Policy