Weeding Out the Facts: The Implications of Legalizing Marijuana

July 12, 2017

In recent years, the legalization of marijuana use has become a high-profile topic of discussion across the United States. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational usage of marijuana for adults 21 and over. In following years, other states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana usage or decriminalized it, changing usage trends across the country. The long-term impacts of these changing laws are yet to be seen, but what can we learn from the few years that have passed?

Researchers have looked at Colorado and noticed some changes in public health trends since 2012. Two highlights:

  • mjA 2016 report compared previous years’ results from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The report showed a large difference in Colorado youth (ages 12 to 17) marijuana usage compared to the national average. From 2013-2014, the percentage of Colorado youth who had used marijuana in the previous month was 74% higher than the national average.
  • A report published in 2017 showed that Colorado hospital records indicate a marked increase in marijuana-related visits. The study found that among 13-21 year olds, the number of marijuana-related visits to the emergency department (ED) and other urgent care centers rose from 146 in 2005 to 639 in 2014.

These numbers suggest that not only are adolescents more at risk because of increased access to marijuana, but also more healthcare resources are needed to respond to these risks. As time passes, it will be interesting to see how Colorado and other states respond to the changing public health needs of their communities. In fact, when discussing the findings about changes in marijuana-related ED visits, the study’s lead researcher George Sam Wang stressed that “targeted marijuana education and prevention strategies are necessary to reduce the significant public health impact” of marijuana usage on adolescent populations.

One company heavily involved in prevention is National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA), whose LifeSkills Training programs target the prevention of substance use, prescription drug abuse, and sexual violence for elementary school, middle school, high school, and college students. NHPA has also introduced an online workshop (check our online calendar for current dates) specific to teaching marijuana prevention. Workshops like these are key elements in addressing changes in adolescent mental health related to marijuana usage.

Writer: Genevieve Martin is a rising senior at Boston College studying Psychology. She also works as a Health Coach in the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) where she teaches and coaches students about stress and time management along with other general health and wellness strategies. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Online workshop: “Teaching Marijuana Prevention”

June 6, 2017

Join us for this online professional development workshop on 6/9 where we will:

  • Examine trends in the social & legal acceptance of marijuana in the US
  • Consider effective strategies in responding to learners
  • Develop specific responses to challenging questions that may arise in school and community education settings

Space is limited. Click here to register

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Prescription Drugs: The Escalation of Use and Abuse

March 28, 2017

“It’s becoming a sadly common story. People get prescribed painkillers. They become addicted and they seek out cheaper and more potent drugs like heroin and synthetic opioids.” –Lulu Garcia Navarro, Family member of an opioid victim, NPR News (2017)

Throughout the United States, prescription drug abuse has become a major public health concern.

rx.jpgIn 2015, research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that, between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled. Findings have indicated that the two distinct but interconnected trends that are driving America’s opioid overdose epidemic include:

  • an increase in prescribed opioid drugs
  • a recent surge in illicit opioid overdoses, driven mainly by heroin and illegally-made Fentanyl

The use of highly addictive opioid prescription drugs has repercussions that extend far beyond the individual user. Economic consequences include its impact on work and educational productivity as well as the cost of treatment and incarceration. According to a 2011 study by the American Public Health Association, in 2006, “nonmedical use of prescription painkillers imposed a cost of $53.4 billion on the US economy, including $42 billion in lost productivity, $8.2 billion in increased criminal justice costs, $2.2 billion for drug abuse treatment, and $944 million in medical complications” (AHPA, 2015).

Although a variety of treatments are available for heroin and prescription drug addiction, it is also vital and far more cost effective to help prevent the health risk behaviors related to opioid drug abuse. Botvin LifeSkills Training is an effective skills-based and evidence-based prevention program that can be utilized as a strategic measure to combat the growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse. And now, National Health Promotion Associates, the researchers behind LifeSkills Training, has developed a middle school prescription drug abuse prevention program. The program utilizes both digital and face-to-face intervention modalities to help young adults learn healthy behavioral social and self-regulation skills such as managing stress and anxiety, as well as drug resistance skills. “The combination of drug resistance skills and life skills has been proven to be a powerful formula for preventing drug use and can be carried over throughout their teen years” (Botvin, 2016).

According to research conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) the use of effective prevention programs like LifeSkills Training have shown to produce a  50-to-1 return, which has been noted as the highest return on investment of any substance abuse prevention curriculum studied.

It has never been a more important time to continue to pressure our legislative representatives, public health agencies, and school administrators to implement programs like LifeSkills Training as a means to help young adults make healthy choices and avoid the damaging effects of prescription drug use and abuse.

Contributing Writer: Madeline Liongson recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies as well as a Minor in Psychology. Her previous volunteer experience includes working with a wide range of students and healthcare professionals from diverse populations in Connecticut, New York and London, UK. Currently Madeline serves as the youngest Youth Board Member for the American Red Cross in the Metro New York Territory and works as a part-time Administrative Assistant at a Speech Language Pathology and Social Development center while she is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health.


Funding available for drug prevention programs> Deadlines approaching!

March 14, 2017
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Below is a list of funding opportunities that may be applicable for the Botvin LifeSkills Training program.
For more detailed information on each funding opportunity and contact information click here.
 
FUNDING FOR BOTVIN LIFESKILLS TRAINING IN PENNSYLVANIA
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is accepting applications for Delinquency Prevention Programs Funds to support a targeted group of evidence-based programs proven to be effective in reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors.   The 2017 Funding Announcement includes a list of programs eligible for funding under this announcement including Botvin LifeSkills Training.
Application deadline is 3/14/17
 

 

DRUG-FREE COMMUNITIES SUPPORT PROGRAM GRANT
The FY 2017 Drug-Free Communities Support Program funding opportunity by the Office of National Drug Control Policy anticipates award amounts up to $125,000. The DFC Support Program establishes and strengthens collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.
Application deadline is 3/15/17
 

 

GOOD SHEPHERD GRANTS FOR NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA 
The Good Shepherd Fund, Inc. offers grants to community agencies for substance abuse prevention and education.  Community agencies in Columbus, Bladen, Robeson, New Hanover and Brunswick counties in North Carolina and Horry County of South Carolina are eligible for grant funds.  Each year mini grants are awarded on a competitive basis to selected non-profit or governmental agencies.
Application deadline is 3/15/17
 

 

GRANT PROJECTS AIMED AT PREVENTING SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN IDAHO
The Idaho Office of Drug Policy (ODP) is accepting applications for grant projects aimed at preventing substance abuse. Public entities and non-profit organizations are eligible for funding and encouraged to apply for grants totaling about $1.6 million annually to Idaho communities for substance abuse prevention programs.  ODP endorses Prevention education and training that provides specific skills to participants.

Application deadline is 3/24/17

 

 

$3.6 MILLION AVAILABLE FOR BOTVIN LIFESKILLS TRAINING IN ARIZONA
The Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family announced the release of a competitive grant solicitation in a Request for Grant Application for the Arizona High School Health and Wellness Program. The goal of the program is to prevent the onset of underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse and abuse by utilizing evidence based programs. Research has identified Botvin LifeSkills Training as an approved program under this grant.
Application deadline is 4/4/17
 

 

VIRGINIA ABC OFFERS ALCOHOL PREVENTION GRANT
In an effort to encourage and support the development of alcohol education and prevention programs across the commonwealth, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is accepting applications for its 2017-2018 Education and Prevention Grant awards. Grant awards will be limited to a maximum of $8,000 per recipient. Community coalitions, law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, schools, faith-based organizations and prevention groups are encouraged to apply.
Application deadline is 4/25/17
 

 

DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION FUND ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS IN ILLINOIS
The Freeport Community Foundation announces that the John M. Drogosz Youth Substance Abuse Prevention/Treatment Memorial Fund will award  grants for educational, prevention, and/or substance abuse treatment programs focused on helping youth age 21 or younger in Freeport, Illinois. Grant amounts vary on a project-by-project basis. To be eligible, organizations must have 501(c)(3) status.
Application deadline is 6/1/17

How to Become a LifeSkills Trainer of Trainers (TOT)

February 20, 2017

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Step 1 – Attend a provider training workshop (online or in person).

Step 2 – Implement any level of the LifeSkills Training program for one full cycle.

Step 3 – Fill out the TOT application and email it to training@nhpamail.com

Step 4 – Once your application has been approved, you can register for the next TOT workshop: Greater NYC Area: March 30-31, 2017*

This two-day advanced training workshop teaches you how to deliver and conduct Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) workshops for your organization.  Eligibility is limited to those who complete an LST workshop and implement the program for at least one full semester.

 *Space is very limited; please register early.


$3.6 Million In Grant Funding Available For High School Drug Prevention

February 13, 2017

money.jpgThe Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family announced the release of a competitive grant solicitation in a Request for Grant Application for the Arizona High School Health and Wellness Program. The goal of the program is to prevent the onset of underage drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse and abuse by utilizing evidence based programs.

Successful Applicants who are selected for award shall also implement the prevention education strategy using evidence-based and evidence-informed curricula to high school students. Research has identified Botvin LifeSkills Training as an approved program under this grant.

Eligibility: Arizona High Schools (public and charter), serving 9-12 grade levels.

Prospective Applicants are encouraged to attend a pre-application conference on February 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (Arizona time) at the State Health Laboratory Building, 250 N. 17th Avenue, First Floor Conference Room, Phoenix, Arizona 85007.  The purpose of the conference is to discuss and clarify this Request for Grant Application (“RFGA”).

For more information visit: http://substanceabuse.az.gov/substance-abuse/grants.

Applications are due 4/4/17


Funding Available for LifeSkills Training in Pennsylvania

February 10, 2017

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) is accepting applications for Delinquency Prevention Programs Funds to support a targeted group of evidence-based programs. Because a substantial body of research exists on the causes and correlates of adolescent problem behaviors, implementing programs that are effective in preventing adolescent problem behaviors continues to be a priority within PCCD. Risk and protective factors related to these behaviors have been identified in many Pennsylvania communities through local community assessments. Supported by strong evaluations, many prevention programs designed to reduce or eliminate risk factors and facilitate protective factors have already been implemented across the Commonwealth.PCCDLogo-2C

To enable communities to implement such programs, PCCD is making available State Delinquency Prevention Programs Funds to support evidence-based prevention programs. This funding is intended for new program implementations, expansions of an existing program into a new and distinct geographic area, or for the support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Operations. This funding is meant to help enable communities to build upon existing adolescent problem behavior prevention efforts that were developed through collaborative risk-focused prevention approaches.

Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) – Middle School is eligible for funding under this announcement.

All applications must be submitted electronically through PCCD’s Egrants System no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, Tuesday, March 14, 2017. The Egrants Help Desk is available to assist with questions until 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Contact the PCCD Egrants Help Desk at (717) 787-5887 or by email at: RA-eGrantsSupport@pa.gov.

Application deadline is 3/14/17


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