Ohio Clinician Examines Why Netflix Mini-Series 13 Reasons Why Gives Cause for Concern

If you have a middle or high school student in your life, you’ve probably heard them talk about the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why (13RW).Youth development specialists, suicide awareness advocates and preventionists across the country are raising concern with the mini-series and questioning its potentially negative impact. Being revered as a “must see,” behavioral health experts are starting to caution parents and other concerned adults about the explicit and vivid scenes within the show how said images may glorify teen suicide. Dr. John Ackerman, a clinical psychologist and prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention & Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has authored a paper on the series and how it doesn’t quite hit the mark when effectively talking about teen suicide.

Eric R. Wandersleben, Director of Media Relations & Outreach
Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
30 E. Broad St., 36th Fl.
Columbus, OH  43215


ADAPAO Young Prevention Professionals Project

ADAPAO is excited to announce the ADAPAO Young Prevention Professionals Project, a one-year opportunity for young prevention professionals to engage in training, networking, and professional service, aimed at building the capacity of Ohio’s prevention professional workforce.

The Project includes an innovative aspect: The participants will identify and plan its components — with the support of ADAPAO staff and the association’s board of directors.

“Younger members have said they want specialized professional development opportunities targeted to their generation, but they have also shared that they have ideas of what those opportunities look like” noted ADAPAO Board Member Holly Zweizig. “The ADAPAO Young Prevention Professionals Project puts the creation of the Project elements in the hands of the participants.”

Twenty (20) ADAPAO members will be selected for participation in the Project. The Project Application can be downloaded and returned to ADAPAO via e-mail, fax or regular mail. Application deadline is Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Candidates will be notified by Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

The Project will kick off with a Luncheon on Thursday, June 1 from 11:45am to 2:00pm. More information about the Luncheon and the Project is available on the application. Members with questions can e-mail ADAPAO atmail@adapao.org.

New Study Finds More Marijuana Use, Higher Rates of Marijuana Addiction in States With Medical Marijuana Laws

Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
+1 (703) 828-8182

[Alexandria, VA, April 26, 2017] –  A new study released today by JAMA Psychiatry found that rates of marijuana use and marijuana addiction increased significantly more in states that passed medical marijuana laws as compared to states that have not. Examining data from 1992 to 2013, researchers concluded that medical marijuana laws likely contributed to an increased prevalence of marijuana and marijuana-addicted users.

“Politicians and pro-pot special interests are quick to tout the benefits of medical marijuana legalization, but it’s time to see through the haze —     medical marijuana has gone completely unregulated,” said SAM President Kevin Sabet. “More people in these states are suffering from an addiction to marijuana that harms their lives and relationships, while simultaneously more have begun using marijuana. No one wants to see patients denied something that might help them, but this study underscores the fact that “medical” and “recreational” legalization are blurred lines. Smoked marijuana is not medicine, and has not been proven safe and effective as other FDA-approved medications have.”

The study’s researchers wrote that increases in marijuana use in states with medical marijuana laws “may have resulted from increasing availability, potency, perceived safety, [or] generally permissive attitudes.” They conclude that “changing state laws (medical or recreational) may also have adverse public health consequences.”

Evidence demonstrates that marijuana —     which has skyrocketed in average potency over the past decades —     is addictive and harmful to the human brain, especially when used by adolescents. Moreover, in states that have already legalized the drug, there has been an increase in drugged driving crashes and youth marijuana use. States that have legalized marijuana have also failed to shore up state budget shortfalls with marijuana taxes, continue to see a thriving black market, and are experiencing a continued rise in alcohol sales.


About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in more than 30 states. For more information about marijuana use and its effects, visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.


Alcohol Awareness Month and kids

April is alcohol awareness month and it’s a good time to look at how we, as adults, are interacting with alcohol around young people.

Drinking rates among youth are the lowest they’ve been in years which is reason to celebrate. In 2016 the Monitoring the Future Survey found that 7% of 8th graders, 20% of 10th graders and 33% of 12th graders had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days; down from 1991 rates of 25%, 43% and 54% respectively.

But while kids are drinking less, we’re learning more about the potential harm that alcohol poses to the not-inconsequential number that do drink.

Brain science

As medical technology advances, we’re learning more about the impact of alcohol on the adolescent brain. The human brain develops from the back to front, with the prefrontal cortex being among the last areas to become fully developed in the mid-20’s. This area is the center of judgment and impulse control, and adding alcohol to the mix can impede development. The memory center of the brain, the hippocampus, has been found to be smaller in teens that drink a lot. In her studies of the adolescent brain, Susan Tapert of the University of California San Diego has found that just 12 drinks a month–two or three binges–can result in diminished memory and thinking skills in teens.

The  European model debunked

In an effort to keep kids from drinking irresponsibly as adults, some parents look to the “European model” of allowing young children to drink at home where they are supervised, so that they won’t drink so much in other places. But the data says this tends to backfire. Kids whose parents allow drinking at home tend to drink more overall, and they find ways to get alcohol outside of the home.

Australian researchers surveyed parents and children over the course of four years and found that children who were allowed to drink at home at 13 or 14 were three times more likely to be drinking more at age 16 than their peers who were not served alcohol at home.

Modeling moderation

It may be more effective for parents to model moderation practices when it comes to alcohol. Home consumption and hosting can be opportunities to show children how adults can drink and be safe. Part of the effort could involve maintaining open lines of communication so kids know that some activities are for adults only and why that is the case. Parents should realize that if they rely heavily on alcohol to cope with the stress of parenting, this is a lesson that is being passed on, too.

Talking about it

Keeping the lines of communication open, making time to talk, and researching credible sources when you don’t know the answers are all steps in the right direction. There are many good resources for talking to kids of different ages including Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (drugfree.org) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s Power of Parents (http://www.madd.org/underage-drinking/the-power-of-parents/).

These sources also have tools for helping kids develop refusal skills around alcohol and other unsafe activities.

It’s also important for kids to know about whether Medical Amnesty laws apply where they live. Such a law would apply in a situation where someone is passed out possibly due to alcohol poisoning. If an underage person needs medical assistance, Medical Amnesty means that the person calling for help will not get in trouble. There is great potential for these kinds of laws to save lives.

These conversations may be uncomfortable, but if they don’t learn about alcohol from caring adults, they may get inaccurate information from someone else.

Healthy risk-taking

It’s developmentally appropriate, even essential, for teens to take risks to help them find their way in the world. Adults need to encourage healthy risk taking–the kind of behaviors that challenge and build skills and resilience, but don’t put them at risk for great physical harm.

And even if you don’t have teenagers or young children at home, we can all do something to discourage underage drinking. If you shop somewhere that aggressively sells cheap alcohol, fill out a comment card or talk to the manager and ask them to consider changing their sales practices.

Tough ID laws and good training for servers and sellers can be impediments for kids to get their hands on booze.

Supporting opportunities in your community for kids to get involved in sports, arts and other activities that don’t revolve around drinking can go a long way to making sure that the investment in schools–and the kids that attend them, are not lost.

Also enforcing alcohol laws that keep the alcohol industry regulated is a basic but often overlooked need for keeping trends moving in the right direction. Only responsible regulated industry members should be involved in the alcohol business.









Article curtesy of Healthy Alcohol Marketplace.

Alcohol Awareness Month: Be aware – Mary Haag, PreventionFIRST!

Dear Friends,
I have been surprised of late, by news of a couple of extended family members who needed liver transplants. Both are baby boomers, one has died.
I remember overhearing in the gym locker room, an older man describing his shock when his wife was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, the prognosis fatal. “She would only have one drink every evening.”
Lately, we continue to hear of young adults who “binge drink” and bear the immediate consequences of alcohol intoxication – death, or causing harm to others. In March, I was disappointed to see the media reporting on “Green Beer Day” daily leading up to St. Patrick’s Day.
In all cases, it is likely that none were “alcoholics”. But all were examples of over consumption. Our society fails to recognize the fact that alcohol is a toxin. It doesn’t matter what type of alcohol one consumes. What matters is exposure to the toxin.
During Alcohol Awareness month, let us all take a step back and remember the short term and long term consequences that come from the misuse of alcohol products. Make an effort this month to assess your own level of use, talk with your kids about the harms of underage alcohol use, and understand why we have the age-limit laws we do and the low risking drinking guidelines designed to keep us more safe & more healthy.

Mary F. Haag

President/CEO PreventionFIRST!

AG Office Accepting Teen Ambassador Board Aps

The Ohio Attorney General is  accepting applications for its Teen Ambassador Board for the 2017-2018 academic year.  The Ohio Attorney General’s Teen Ambassador Board is open to high school juniors and seniors from public, private, home, charter, and online schools in Ohio. The mission of the board is to provide Ohio’s future leaders with an inside look at Ohio law and government.

Board members serve a one-year term during which they convene twice in Columbus. They advise the office on issues relating to teens and work in groups to propose solutions to problems facing Ohioans. They also meet with Attorney General Mike DeWine and other officials. Ohio high school students who will be juniors or seniors during the 2017-2018 academic year are eligible to apply. Ideal candidates are motivated self-starters who are interested in law and government.  Applications are due May 31, 2017, and may be completed on the Ohio AG’s website at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/TeenAmbassadorBoard.

Canadian Federal Government Releases Legislation

“We’re saying, ‘please keep the public health focus front of mind as this legislation is unrolled,’ ” said Gail Beck, the clinical director of youth psychiatry at The Royal, a psychiatric hospital in Ottawa. “Lots of people think this is harmless.”

For Immediate Release
April 13, 2017
Contact: Anisha Gianchandani
(703) 828-8182

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Today, SAM President and CEO Dr. Kevin A. Sabet released a statement on today’s legislation released by the Canadian federal government to legalize marijuana:

“The Canadian legislation is not about decriminalization, but rather the full legalization of marijuana and marijuana edible products for anyone over 18 years of age. The brain is in a critical time of development until about age 30. And without safeguards to protect against stoned drivers, public safety will be at risk.

“Canadians should learn from our painful experience of legalization in Colorado, where the special interest marijuana lobby now has set up more pot shops than Starbucks coffee outlets and McDonald’s. A new report, reviewed by senior researchers at Harvard, University of Colorado, Boston Children’s Hospital, and other public health research universities, found surges in youth pot use, hospital visits among young children, increases in fatal car crashes related to recent marijuana uses, greater workplace issues, more arrests of Black and Latino youth, and other negative consequences.

“The report also cites Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman who recently said, ‘The criminals are still selling on the black market. … We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.'”

“In the time that some U.S. states have legalized marijuana, the only winner is the pot lobby that is lining its pockets.”

Jo McGuire, chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate remarked, “This is not what we signed up for. Where is the control? This concept of ‘regulation’ is a farce. It is time to step up against the marijuana industry.”

Pamela McColl, of SAM Canada, said, “This piece of legislation puts the Canadian family at risk. Youth already think marijuana is harmless, and now we are giving them the government’s seal of approval. This risk will spill over into even younger kids.”

For more information about marijuana policy, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.


About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens who oppose marijuana legalization and want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. Learn more at http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

For Sale:  Public Health by Tony Coder, DFAA

In 2016, the Center for Public Integrity wrote about the pharmaceutical industry and opiate policies across the United States.  In the article, it was stated that the pharmaceutical lobby spent over $880 million on lobbying state legislatures and Congress to make sure that the policies set by states were not too restrictive on opiates, a very profitable medicine.  They employed an army of lobbyists, around 1350 lobbyists per year, in states to make sure that policies did not hamper the industry too much.  In addition, the opioid industry contributed to nearly 7,100 public office candidates across the country and this was all being done while individuals were dying of overdose and misuse in record numbers.  In Ohio, this number is especially high, with 3,050 people dying from overdose in 2015 alone and the numbers for 2016 are predicted to be much higher.  In the meantime, advocates were able to spend a little over $4 million for tighter controls.  Needless to say, the devastation from opiates to communities skyrocketed and now states are trying to figure out how to turn things back.

Earlier this week, another report was issued by a group in Georgia called the National Families in Action.  This report, titled, Tracking the Money That’s Legalizing Marijuana and Why It Matters, shows that those who finance the marijuana industry, primarily billionaires George Soros, Peter Lewis and John Sperling, have spent $145 million on legalization campaigns since 2010 and have been quite successful.  In that same time frame, those who want to protect public health and defeat these policies have raised $34 million.  The staggering difference in money is the key to why they have been so successful.

These past two weeks, I have met with a number of states who are contemplating marijuana legalization and it has been increasingly troubling to me as I meet with leadership from those General Assemblies.  The questions are not about public health or public safety but have steered more toward revenue for the state.  The responses they want are not how marijuana (or drugs in general) impact communities and families.  The conversation is not about mental health wellness or creating safe environments.  It comes down to questions about revenue and costs. Although the revenues for legalization are easy to determine because of entire Departments of Revenue tracking those, the costs of legalization are not as easily available and no one seems to be tracking those well.

I have to state that in the Colorado Governor’s budget proposal, he admits that schools are not getting tax monies from legalization, as he has asked for $16 million additional dollars for schools.  The Colorado Governor has also asked for a little over $16 million for funding for homelessness, much of it brought on by legalization.  There are other needed increases for law enforcement, black market eradication and healthcare, and we are working on compiling those numbers.

The bottom line is this – when we advocate, when we talk to policy leaders, we must talk in numbers because in many minds in power, health has a price.  Make sure that when you advocate you not only measure your work in human costs, but financial costs as well.  It’s what is driving the public health discussion.

Drug Free Action Alliance Legislative Update    March 17, 2017

Supply or Demand Tony Coder, DFAA

For many years, the focus of drug policy has been to stop the supply of drugs into the country.  Much of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy budget has been delegated to stop drugs through border patrols, working with foreign governments to eradicate grows and law enforcement working across communities to stop those who deal drugs in our neighborhoods.  And, there have been some success that have taken dangerous substances off of our streets. Yet, with all of that being done, the issue of drug abuse is a prominent issue today

The issue with “supply reduction” is that it doesn’t account for the other part of any person who has a substance use disorder -we have not spent or done nearly enough to work with the demand for substances.  Policy makers tend to forget this part because dealing with this part is much more difficult than eradicating a substance from a community.  Let us understand that we do not have a drug problem in our country – instead we have an addiction problem.  Law enforcement has done an admiral job but when one substance is taken away, another is there to take its’ place.

We have seen this happen in Ohio within the last decade.  About six years ago, legislation was signed that eliminated pill mills in the state.  Yet, prescription pills were replaced by heroin.  We put more squeeze upon heroin and substances like fentanyl and carfentanyl have risen.  Cocaine interdictions have risen over 60% in this country.  No matter what drug is eradicated, new ones are always ready to take the place.

The importance of evidence-based prevention has never been stronger and it is showing in the way that we are handling the drug issue in this country.  Prevention can teach children the importance of healthy lifestyles.  Prevention can show communities how to instill drug-free messages into every sector of the community.  Prevention can give us examples of the promise of not wiping out drugs but instead, working on those things that want individuals to try them in the first place.  Our work is important – as we must deal with the demand side with the same commitment and the same vigor that we have given to the supply side of drugs.

Legislative Update March 31, 2017