E-cig popularity fuels spike in flavored tobacco use among teenagers

After dropping off a few years ago, the use of flavored tobacco products has rebounded among middle and high school kids because of e-cigarettes, a new study says.

The number of high school age kids using flavored tobacco fell from 69.4 percent in 2014 to 57.7 percent in 2016, according to a study in JAMA Pediatrics published Monday. But between 2016 and 2017, that number started moving back up to 63.6 percent.

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Starbucks to install safe needle disposal boxes after employees sign petition

Several Starbucks locations in the Seattle area will be installing safe needle deposit boxes in store bathrooms after thousands of workers signed a petition calling on the coffee mega chain to “protect employees.”

Workers took to Coworker.org to pen the petition, which 3,700 employees had signed by Wednesday evening, 300 shy of its 4,000 person goal.

In the petition, workers urged corporate to place needle deposit boxes in Starbucks bathrooms, citing the “heroin” and hepatitis C “crisis” as well as the risks involved with unsafely discarded hypodermic needles.

“Exposure to HIV/AIDS, Hep C, Hep B, etc. is a risk in Seattle where there is a heroin/hep c crisis,” the petition claimed. “Employees risk getting poked, and DO get poked, even when following ‘protocol’ of using gloves and tongs to dispose of used needles left in bathrooms, tampon disposal boxes, and diaper changing stations.”

The petition went on to report that along with the risk of being poked with needles, “Employees have to pay out-of-pocket for [treatment if poked] before being reimbursed until Starbucks’s company insurance kicks in.”

Read more here.

‘Horror Movie’ Ads Aim to Scare Kids From Opioids

Arizona is betting on shock value to keep teens from abusing opioids.

The state is spending more than $400,000 on an anti-opioid campaign that features 30-second scare ads depicting a teenager trapped inside an opioid pill and a bottle of pills beside a lifeless hand. The campaign’s tagline, “Getting in is easier than getting out,” seeks to educate teens about how quickly people can become ensnared by addiction.

“It kind of has a horror movie feel to it,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, according to The Arizona Republic. She said the campaign, tied to state legislation, “had to be graphic, and it had to show the law enforcement consequences of opioids.”

The ads run on social media and music streaming sites and direct viewers to a teen-oriented website that discusses the risks associated with prescription painkillers and street drugs, the Republic reported. The spots echo the message of four scare ads, featuring real-life stories of people who became addicted to opioids, unveiled by the White House last June.

“That’s the least expensive thing we can do, where you scare them from ending up like the people in the commercials,” President Donald Trump said in March while discussing steps his administration was taking to combat the epidemic.

Continue reading here.

Is Marijuana as Safe as We Think?

Permitting pot is one thing; promoting its use is another.

few years ago, the National Academy of Medicine convened a panel of sixteen leading medical experts to analyze the scientific literature on cannabis. The report they prepared, which came out in January of 2017, runs to four hundred and sixty-eight pages. It contains no bombshells or surprises, which perhaps explains why it went largely unnoticed. It simply stated, over and over again, that a drug North Americans have become enthusiastic about remains a mystery.

For example, smoking pot is widely supposed to diminish the nausea associated with chemotherapy. But, the panel pointed out, “there are no good-quality randomized trials investigating this option.” We have evidence for marijuana as a treatment for pain, but “very little is known about the efficacy, dose, routes of administration, or side effects of commonly used and commercially available cannabis products in the United States.” The caveats continue. Is it good for epilepsy? “Insufficient evidence.” Tourette’s syndrome? Limited evidence. A.L.S., Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s? Insufficient evidence. Irritable-bowel syndrome? Insufficient evidence. Dementia and glaucoma? Probably not. Anxiety? Maybe. Depression? Probably not.

Read more of this article here.

Marijuana needs warning labels like tobacco for associated mental, physical health risks

The situation is similar to when cigarettes first became extensively marketed; health risks were known but not disclosed, driving disease and deaths.

In his inaugural address on Jan. 1, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, like other governors, announced that he will push for the legalization of recreational marijuana, but he said nothing about what he will do to mitigate the health risks. Before legislators legalize marijuana, they should require bold and direct warning labels to be placed on the packaging as is done with tobacco products. If the states fail to act, then the Food and Drug Administration should step in and require it.

In early 2017, after exhaustive review, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that there are significant health risks associated with using cannabis and cannabinoids. Yet none of the 33 states that have legalized medical marijuana, or the 10 states that have legalized recreational use, gives adequate warnings of those risks.

The situation is similar to when cigarettes first became extensively marketed. The health risks were known but not disclosed, leading to disease and lives being lost. In addition to appearing on the packaging, the warning labels should be displayed prominently wherever the product is sold, in advertising and in mandated public service announcements funded by the marijuana industry.

Continue reading here.

Denver could become the first US city to decriminalize magic mushrooms

The Mile High City might be getting a whole lot higher.

An advocacy group has collected nearly 9,500 signatures to get a measure on the ballot in May that would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms in Denver.

On Monday, petitions were submitted to the city and county of Denver’s Elections Division for the measure to appear on the upcoming ballot, and the division has 25 days to review.

While the Denver Elections Division has yet to verify the signatures, the issue is sure to sprout some debate.
“We want people kept out of prison, families kept together,” said Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver. “That was the main motivation for this.”
It’s important to note that the measure would not legalize the use or sale of magic mushrooms in Colorado’s capital but instead would treat possession of the drug as the lowest law enforcement priority.

Tend to get too happy at happy hour? Consider mindful drinking

Born in the UK, the “mindful drinking” movement helps those who want to cut back on drinking — but not quit altogether.

The National Institute on Alcoholism and Abuse defines low-risk drinking for women as no more than seven drinks per week and 14 drinks a week for men — but a study published in The Lancet last year might call for a rethink.

Examining data from almost 600,000 participants, the study found consuming more than 100 grams of alcohol — or roughly more than five drinks a week — was associated with an increased risk of mortality and could take years off your life.

If these studies have you examining how much you’re drinking, the “mindful drinking” movement promises to help those with a desire to cut down on their drinking — but maybe not quit altogether. Born in the UK and catching on stateside, mindful drinking has spawned a series of events and a popular book.

Continue reading here.

Elevating Prevention within the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

WHEREAS, individuals struggling with substance use disorder often leave behind children who have experienced unspeakable trauma. Many other children are living in the midst of their parents’ substance use. Children who witness substance use are more likely to abuse substances as adults, which can prevent them from achieving their full potential; and

WHEREAS, prevention education helps children develop the knowledge and skills to live healthfully. Effective prevention not only helps students stay drug-free and make healthy choices for a lifetime, but it also can help students succeed academically; and

WHEREAS, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has the Prevention Services Bureau embedded within its current structure;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of this State do hereby order and direct that the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Director create a senior level position to lead the Prevention Services Bureau who will focus each day to make sure proven age and environmentally appropriate prevention education is provided in kindergarten through 12th grade.

I signed this Executive Order on January 14, 2019 in Cedarville, Ohio and it will not expire unless it is rescinded.

Mike DeWine, Governor

See the posted webpage.

DeWine Hits the Ground Running

Yesterday marked the start of Governor Mike DeWine’s administration, and he has hit the ground running with six new executive orders signed immediately after he took the oath of office at his farm in Cedarville, Ohio.

Though all six display the positive changes and priorities Governor DeWine plans to bring to the State, one in particular has caught our attention as prevention advocates.

Executive Order 2019-06D, Elevating Prevention within the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, will create a senior level position to lead the Prevention Services Bureau. The person filling this position will focus on providing evidence based, environmentally appropriate prevention education in kindergarten through 12th grade.

In addition to the issuance of this executive order, we are also happy to see the appointment of Lori Criss to Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. With more than 20 years of experience, a strong knowledge base, and a track record of advocacy in the field of behavioral health, Lori is a natural choice for this crucial position. This Executive Order combined with her appointment signifies a strong understanding of the importance of prevention in the continuum of care by the DeWine administration.

We are very pleased to see these steps being taken and look forward to seeing other positive changes from the administration and the department. We’re also anxious to see who Governor DeWine appoints to this newly created position as that person will have a significant role to play in the state’s increased focus on prevention.

The other Executive Orders are as follows:

Ohio’s medical marijuana program: For dogs, cats?

Ohio’s medical marijuana program is still weeks away from its debut.

The roll-out is leading to more questions for some businesses, including for pet stores who have offered hemp oil products for dogs and cats for years.

Despite new rules in Ohio’s medical marijuana program, vendors insist those products are still legal.

Captivating Canines in Westerville, Ohio sells hemp-derived cannabidiol infused products for pets suffering from everything from arthritis to anxiety.

“I’m a leading supplier. I am an advocate. My dog is a user,” said Ron Keller.

Recently, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy decided all marijuana products, including CBD oil, can only be sold from a licensed Medical Marijuana Control Dispensary.

Some have stopped selling it, but not Keller.

Read more here.