YES to No Tobacco Until Age 21

Author:  Seattle Mama Doc Seattle Children’s Hospital

Hear me straight: we don’t want anyone addicted to tobacco products. No question it’s an ugly habit and a terribly complex addiction. Expensive, detrimental to health, so very ugly… So I’m all for WA State House Bill 2313 (SB 6157) supporting moving the purchase age of tobacco from 18 to 21. Yes I know you can vote and enlist in the military at 18, but inconvenient or not, teen brains are not fully developed by the time they enter college-age and the effects of nicotine and the trend towards lifelong addiction are seriously grim. Complain all you want that Washington would be a “nanny state” but the facts are clear: if you start smoking at a young age, odds are that you will still be smoking as an adult. We know that more than 80% of all adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18; and more than 90% do so before leaving their teens. We need to get tobacco out of reach so we can stop addiction before it starts. This isn’t just about public health it’s also about the health care spending of your tax dollars.

My friend and colleague Dr. John Wiesman (WA Secretary of Health), gave a press conference this week on the new bill. Here are a few staggering excerpts from his speech:

Counting cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and e-cigarettes together, in 2012, 12 out of every 100 10th graders used these products, and by 2014 that number had risen to 20 out of every 100. That’s a frightening 67%  jump in just 2 years!

Both cigarettes and e-cigarettes set kids up for a lifetime of addiction and poor health.

The most effective way to stop this trend is to stop our kids from smoking before they start.

Middle school, high school and college students are still undergoing significant brain development.

Nicotine exposure during this critical time appears to affect the structure and function of the brain and may lead to lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments.

If that’s not enough reasons to support this work, I don’t know what is. But, here’s one last piece of data that will hit you square in the wallet (ouch). Each year in Washington alone, we spend:

  • $2.8 billion for tobacco-related health care
  • $2.2 billion in smoking-caused productivity losses
  • Every Washington household pays about $821 a year in taxes just for smoking caused government expenditures

Things To Know:

  1. You can learn more about and support the bill with legislators. <—link to bill in entirety.
  2. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance. No one questions this. Let’s keep our children and young adults away from it.
  3. Cigarettes are expensive. A pack in the state of Washington is almost $10. That’s almost the cost of 2 lattes. I feel guilty about buying an expensive coffee; tobacco seems an exceptionally unsavory way to spend money. Who wants their kid buying cigarettes their entire adult life?
  4. The Surgeon General reports that if smoking continues at the current rate among youth in this country, 5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking-related illness. That’s about 1 of every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger alive today.
  5. Read my most recent post on e-cigarettes and know that they may be just as dangerous as cigarettes.
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Is Marijuana Addictive?

Yes, Marijuana is Addictive.  A user may feel the urge to smoke marijuana again and again to re-create the “high.” Repeated use could lead to addiction—which means the person has trouble controlling their drug use and often cannot stop even though they want to.

An estimated nine percent of people who use marijuana will become dependent; people who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are 4-7 times more likely to become addicted than adults.

It is estimated that about 1 in 6 people who start using as a teen, and 25% to 50% percent of those who use it every day, become addicted to marijuana. What causes one person to become addicted to marijuana and another not to depends on many factors—including their family history (genetics), the age they start using, whether they also use other drugs, their family and friend relationships, and whether they take part in positive activities like school or sports (environment).

Drug Facts

NIDA: 

Statistics and Trends

NIDA:

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Legalization of Marijuana: Some Observations & News

A couple of thoughts from our friend, motivational speaker and advocate for healthy youth, Monte Stiles. Monte Stiles served his entire professional career of 28 years as a state and federal prosecutor. For the past 24 years, as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Idaho, he supervised the Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force – a group of agents and prosecutors who investigate and prosecute high-level drug trafficking organizations, including Los Angeles street gangs, Mexican cartels, and international drug smuggling and money laundering operations. In April 2011, Monte left government service to devote all of his time to drug education, other motivational speaking, and nature photography. We appreciate his insight and thoughts as we work to prevent underage use of marijuana, particularly since Washington State has legalized recreational use for those that are 21 years and older… Thanks Monte for sharing.

 

1.  The pot lobby claims that legalization will eliminate the black market.

 

This is a lie.

 

Drug cartels and other criminal drug trafficking organizations are not intimidated by legalization, they are emboldened by it.

 

The black market exists to avoid taxes, avoid regulations (rules and laws) and make money. Consequently, the black market can undercut the price of “legal” sources. “Lowest price guaranteed.”

 

Legalization produces massive quantities of high-grade marijuana.

 

The “legal” market expands the customer base for marijuana sales (more customers).

 

The “legal” market allows pot to be advertised, manufactured, processed, transported, distributed, and used in the open. This gives drug dealers the ability to blend in (hide in plain sight).

 

Because drug detection dogs can’t tell the difference between a “legal” ounce and 500 pounds in the trunk, they cannot be used to interdict the smuggling of large quantities of pot.

 

High grade marijuana is worth more in Ohio, New York, (anywhere else) than in Colorado.

 

Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon (and other legalized states) export massive quantities of high-grade marijuana (and marijuana concentrates, edibles, etc) to other states across the country.

 

2.  The pot lobby claims that legalization and regulation will keep marijuana out of the hands of children.

 

This is a lie.

 

The latest national survey shows that Colorado has the highest marijuana use in the nation — in EVERY age category. Marijuana use in the 12-17 age category is 74% higher than the national average. 

 

The top 21 states in the country for marijuana use by 12-17 year-olds are states that have legalized pot for “medicine” or “recreation.”

 

Legalization increases the availability of marijuana in society and reduces the perception of harm ——> higher use.

 

3.  The US Department of Justice initially claimed that it was not going to enforce numerous federal laws to avoid using federal resources to “prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana.” US Attorney General Eric Holder (October 2009)


This was a lie.


Federal resources were NEVER used to prosecute pot smokers (and especially not sick marijuana smokers) unless they were also trafficking marijuana. Most federal marijuana cases involve trafficking more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana. Depending on the quality of the marijuana, and the location of its sale, 220 pounds of marijuana has a wholesale value between $250,000 and $1.3 million.


Under the guise of leaving pot smokers alone, the federal government has facilitated the growth of a massive marijuana industry (and encouraged additional states to ignore federal laws). Non-enforcement of federal laws does not change the fact that medi-pot and recreational pot states sanction the daily commission of numerous federal felonies.

 

4.  DOJ promised to vigorously enforce federal laws relating to 8 priorities (including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing the diversion of marijuana to other states).

 

Based upon the most recent statistics, DOJ is not even enforcing its priorities.

Here’s the most recent evidence:

123 pounds of marijuana found in car with Colorado plates during Ohio traffic stop

WEST JEFFERSON, Ohio
January 21, 2016

Two men from western Colorado are facing felony charges because of what was found in their car during a traffic stop in Ohio.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says that at 9:26 a.m. on January 13, a 2014 Subaru station wagon with Colorado plates was pulled over on I-70 between Dayton and Columbus for following too closely.

A drug-sniffing dog alerted to the vehicle and a warrant was obtained to search it.

Investigators say they found 123 pounds of marijuana worth around $615,000 in the station wagon.

Kelly Harding, 47, and Craig Voigt, 46, were arrested. Both men are from Carbondale, which is south of Glenwood Springs.

Harding and Voigt face charges for possessing and trafficking marijuana. They face up to 16 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.

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The Marijuana Report January 2016

Teens Who Use Marijuana
at Risk of Schizophrenia

In a preclinical study, researchers from Western University in Ontario, Canada, studied the effects of long-term exposure to THC in both adolescent and adult rats.

They found changes in behavior as well as in brain cells in the adolescent rats that were identical to those found in schizophrenia. These changes lasted into early adulthood long after the initial THC exposure.

The young rats were “socially withdrawn and demonstrated increased anxiety, cognitive disorganization, and abnormal levels of dopamine, all of which are features of schizophrenia,” according to the article. The same effects were not seen in the adult rats.

“With the current rise in cannabis use and the increase in THC content, it is critically important to highlight the risk factors associated with exposure to marijuana, particularly during adolescence,” the researchers warn.

Read Medical News Today story here. Read study abstract in the journal Cerebral Cortex here.

Marijuana Has Become a Media Darling,
But Are Journalists Too Soft on Pot?

Marijuana reporter Joel Warner asks if the media is currently biased in support of marijuana legalization.

He cites a recent incident brought to his attention by Kevin Sabet, founder of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), who had received a tip that the next-day release of the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health would show that marijuana use in Colorado has reached the highest levels in the nation. Sabet wrote a press release which fell on deaf ears. A Google analysis shows only 17 stories were written about this consequence of legalization in Colorado.

In contrast, a few weeks before, the release of the 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey showed a slight downturn in past-month marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12thgrade students nationwide. It was hyped by some in the press as a signal that legalization is of no consequence. A total of 156 news stories covered the results of this survey.

Warner notes that there are now “marijuana-business newspapers and marijuana culture magazines, full-time marijuana-industry reporters (this writer included), and even a marijuana-editorial division at the Denver Post called the Cannabist, staffed with a marijuana editor and cannabis strain reviewers,” like Jake Browne, pictured above.

He asks if the data supports it, could marijuana journalists “be expected to conclude that legalization has been a failure, if that means they would also be writing the obituaries for their own jobs?”

Read Joel Warner’s thoughtful International Business Times article here.

Twins Study Finds No Evidence that
Marijuana Lowers IQ in Teens

Two recent studies, one in Great Britain and this one from the University of Southern California, contradict the findings of a rigorous 25-year-long study done with a birth cohort in Dunedin, New Zealand a few years ago. That study found that persistent marijuana use that continued into adulthood resulted in an 8-point drop in IQ. The two new studies find the opposite.

The UCLA study looked at 789 pairs of adolescent twins from two ongoing studies—one in Los Angeles and one in Minnesota—who enrolled between ages 9 and 11. Over 10 years, five IQ tests were administered along with confidential surveys of marijuana use. Marijuana-using twins lost 4 IQ points, but so did their non-using twins, leading researchers to conclude that something other than marijuana was lowering IQ.

The other study compared teens who reported daily marijuana use for six months or longer with teens who used the drug less than 30 times and found no difference in IQ.

But critics say both studies are flawed in that they did not measure heavy marijuana use over a long 25-year period like the Dunedin study did.

Dr. Madeline Meier, lead researcher of the Dunedin study, writes, “Our 2012 study (Meier et al. PNAS 2012) reported cognitive decline among individuals with a far more serious and far more long-term level of cannabis use. That is, we found cognitive decline in individuals followed up to age 38 who started cannabis use as a teen and who thereafter remained dependent on cannabis for many years as an adult. This new study is different; the two papers report about completely different doses of cannabis, and about participants 2 decades apart in age.  The new study reports cognitive test scores for individuals followed up to only age 17-20, fewer than half of whom had used cannabis more than 30 times, and only a fifth of whom used cannabis daily for > 6 months. This new study and our prior study agree and both report the same finding: no cognitive decline in short-term low-level cannabis users. The message from both studies is that short-term, low-level cannabis use is probably safer than very long-term heavy cannabis use. The big problem remains that for some teens, short-term low-level teenaged cannabis use leads onward to long-term dependence on cannabis when they become adults. That is what is cause for concern.”

Read Science story here. Read Dr. Meier’s rebuttal here.

Researchers Issue Important Correction: Chronic Marijuana Use DOES Lead to Development of Psychosis, Depression, and Asthma

A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center study published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors last September found that chronic marijuana use during adolescence did not lead to depression, anxiety, psychosis, or asthma by mid-life.

The U.K.’s Independent was one of many newspapers that celebrated the news, scoffing at the National Health Service help page that warns: “Your risk of developing a psychotic illness is higher if you start using cannabis in your teens.”

Now, however, the journal has run a correction. It turns out that the researchers misinterpreted their data. They checked it again after criticism of their study and found that there was a two-and-one-half-fold increase in psychotic disorders in midlife after chronic marijuana use that began in adolescence.

The director of the Maryland chapter of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) caught the error and notified the journal which lead to the correction. SAM is calling on all media who reported the original incorrect story to correct their account of it now.

Read Independent story here.  Read SAM account of the correction here.


Note: There was a broken link to the Vermont Marijuana Health Impact Assessment in last week’s The Marijuana Report. The report can be accessed here.
The Marijuana Report is a weekly e-newsletter produced by National Families in Action in partnership with SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Subscribe to The Marijuana Report and visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, to learn more about the marijuana story unfolding across the nation.
About National Families in Action (NFIA)
NFIA consists of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. Our vision is:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants)
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy

About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.

SAM has four main goals:

  • To inform public policy with the science of today’s marijuana.
  • To reduce the unintended consequences of current marijuana policies, such as lifelong stigma due to arrest.
  • To prevent the establishment of “Big Marijuana” – and a 21st-Century tobacco industry that would market marijuana to children.
  • To promote research of marijuana’s medical properties and produce, non-smoked, non-psychoactive pharmacy-attainable medications.
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Shatter the Myths on Drugs: Facts Week January 25–31, 2016

National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM links students with scientists and other experts to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the internet, TV, movies, music, or from friends. It was launched in 2010 by scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to stimulate educational events in communities so teens can learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism became a partner starting in 2016, and alcohol has been added as a topic area for the week. NIDA and NIAAA are part of the National Institutes of Health.

Drugs & Alcohol Chat Day: During this annual live online chat held between high school students and NIDA scientists, students from around the country ask the questions they most want answers to about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse, including drug and alcohol effects, how to help friends or family that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. Our expert scientists give them the facts.

Partnerships: NIDA and NIAAA works with leading organizations, media outlets, and other Government agencies to spread the word about NDAFW and SHATTER THE MYTHSTM,SM.

For more information: Download the NDAFW Info Sheet (PDF format, 221KB)

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Red Ribbon Winners!

 

Red Ribbon

National Family Partnership would like to thank all of the participants in the 2015 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. We received hundreds of wonderful entries and over a quarter of a million votes in support of the contest photos. We are delighted to announce the ten home entries and ten school entries with the most votes in each region, who will receive an iPad and $1,000 to be used towards drug prevention for their school.

Special thanks to the Drug Enforcement Administration for co-sponsoring the contest for the fourth year in a row. We are tremendously grateful for your continued support.

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Young Leaders in Prevention

Youth Led, Adult Guided ~ National Youth Leadership Initiative 

with CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)

by Zach Fincher

Alongside Alex Mcintire and Arlo Harold, Rock Solid and H.O.T.S. (Helping Out Teens Society) members, representing the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition, we went to a CADCA training in Seattle for a three day lesson on how to stop substance abuse of all kinds, particularly for underage youth.

 

When I started getting into our local prevention organization, I didn’t think that I would go to a National Prevention Conference and for my second time, no less. The other two had not attended a CADCA training before, so I had to teach them what we did last time. It was good for me to go over it, as well. The conference was jam packed with information and activities to help us understand how we as young people can led change in our communities. The term they used was “Change Agent”.  We focused on policy change and how we have a voice and how to take initiative for a cause. I would recommend this experience to other teens wanting to change their community for the better. And, sharpen your own personal leadership skills.

 

Our team will be focusing on underage marijuana use in our community. Unfortunately, most of the Youth Prevention Teams from Washington State were also having to focus on this issue in their communities, too. Most likely due to the passing of the I-502 law making pot legal for recreational use for anyone 21 years and older. Unfortunately, this seems to make marijuana easier for youth to get their hands on and people seem to think it’s not harmful since it’s “legal”. We are learning environmental strategies to help protect the youth in our communities. We hope to work with our local community leaders and look for ways we can reduce the underage use of marijuana in our community. We hope you will consider supporting our prevention efforts to help kids choose health as they grow and develop. Thank you!

 

Cynthia Stark-Wickman, our SJIPC Executive Coordinator shares, “The opportunity for San Juan Island youth to participate in the National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI) is a dream come true for me as the Executive Coordinator for San Juan Island Prevention Coalition! Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) leadership in Washington, D.C., has carried forward a vision of youth leadership development that is at the highest level of honoring and empowering youth as the leaders of TODAY.  The fact that Washington State’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) helped to bring this training to Seattle also demonstrates their belief in youth leadership.  Our youth team was able to network with the Lopez Island Prevention Coalition team, as well as with nearly 200 youth from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and other states across the nation.  I am proud of their hard work and the courage to take on this challenge!  Thank you!”

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Annual Community Survey developed by DBHR, on Preventing Underage Substance Abuse on SJI

Your participation in this community survey helps San Juan Island to respond to needs and gain resources to help prevent underage substance abuse.  Please take five to ten minutes to complete the following survey of 19 questions.  Thank you!

 

ONLINE SURVEY ENGLISH: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SJSJON2015

San Juan Island

English

 

ONLINE SURVEY SPANISH:   https://es.surveymonkey.com/r/SJSJSP2015

San Juan Island

Spanish

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State, Local Officials Push Manufacturers to Pay for Drug Disposal

© The Associated Press

Sgt. Michael DiVita collects unused prescription pills on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in 2012. New DEA rules in 2014 allow pharmacies to collect unwanted controlled substances; some local officials want drugmakers to pay for drug disposals.

Story has been corrected to say Nebraska’s take-back program uses state funds only.

Each month Monty Scheele, a pharmacist in Lincoln, Nebraska, sends a big box of unused medications to be incinerated.

He collects the drugs at his three pharmacies from customers who may be cleaning out their medicine cabinets or abandoning a prescription after an adverse reaction. His effort is part of a program using state funds to keep medications from polluting water supplies and out of the hands of people who might misuse them.

But drug disposal is expensive — the Nebraska program spends $10 per pound to ship and destroy medication — and some states and municipalities want drug companies to pick up the tab.

Six municipalities in California require drugmakers to pay for take-backs. Nine states — California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington — have considered similar measures. Another such proposal is in front of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Proponents say these laws, which are similar to programs that require manufacturers to pay for electronics recycling, would make it easier for patients to dispose of prescriptions. But drugmakers oppose the local mandates and warn that disposal costs could be passed on to patients through higher drug prices.

Alameda County in California was the first jurisdiction to pass a law requiring manufacturers to pay for take-backs, in 2012, though the industry was quick to file suit, arguing it violated the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Alameda law was upheld this year when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the industry’s appeal.

That law initially applied to “non-controlled substances,” including antibiotics and over-the-counter drugs, because until last year, only law enforcement could accept more strictly controlled substances like oxycodone, morphine and Valium. But last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued new rules allowing DEA-registered pharmacies, drugmakers, hospitals and narcotics treatment centers to take back controlled substances, though pharmacies across the country appear reluctant to get involved.

Heidi Sanborn, director of the California Product Stewardship Council — a network of local governments, nongovernmental organizations and businesses that want producers to be responsible for the proper disposal of their products — helped pass the Alameda law. She points to other countries, like Canada and Mexico, which have had drug take-back programs for years.

“People [in the industry] are making this out to be super complicated and really hard, but the truth is that we can put a man on the moon, don’t tell me we can’t figure out how to collect pills,” Sanborn said.

It was the industry’s opposition to a California-wide version of the Alameda law that led advocates to focus on passing county-level measures instead, she added.

Drugmakers would rather lead their own take-back programs than comply with local or state mandates, said Priscilla VanderVeer, of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a plaintiff in the Alameda case.

Because drugmakers sell across the country, meeting the customized disposal requirements of local programs is complicated, VanderVeer said. There are also more effective ways to get rid of the medicines, she said, like at-home disposal or returning unwanted drugs using special envelopes with carbon lining.

“That’s just a financial and logistical nightmare for something that’s not necessarily going to be effective, or secure or environmentally helpful,” she said.

Public Health Crisis 

Take-back advocates want to get unused opioid painkillers and other highly addictive medications out of circulation so they cannot be abused or sold to recreational users.

Scheele, the Nebraska pharmacist, has begun to use secure lockboxes where customers can return their controlled medications under the new DEA rules. He said he was apprehensive about adding a lockbox, on top of his existing efforts, because it would bring excess amounts of highly desired drugs to his pharmacies. But the security of the metal boxes, which are bolted to the floor and the wall, has diminished that concern.

“I’m really glad to see this stuff get out of the community,” he said, noting that he would continue to use the lockboxes even if the funding for Nebraska’s program disappeared.

About 110 Americans die each day from a drug overdose. More than half of those deaths are attributed to opioids, including painkillers. And 70 percent of people who misuse painkillers report getting the drugs from a friend or a relative.

Marcia Mueting, with the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, said it makes sense for patients to return unused medications to pharmacies because they have relationships with their pharmacists, who can inquire about why a patient did not finish a medication and potentially identify adverse reactions.

“At the point when you decide that I no longer want this medication in my home, you should be able to take it somewhere,” she said.

More than half of Nebraska’s 500 pharmacies are doing take-backs. The program began in Lincoln and Lancaster County in 2012 and went statewide earlier this year. Since 2012, more than 14,800 pounds of drugs have been taken back.

Many participating pharmacies are small and independently owned. Some larger pharmacy chains have rules that prevent them from collecting the drugs, Mueting said.

VanderVeer argued that take-back programs are not a panacea and patients won’t be willing to make frequent trips to a pharmacy with their medications. The industry would rather focus on educating consumers about at-home disposal, she said.

“It’s sort of like recycling: the easier you make it for people, the more likely they are to comply,” VanderVeer said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that some medications can be flushed down toilets or sinks, but that others should be removed from their original containers and mixed with undesirable substances like used coffee grounds or cat litter (to deter people from using them) and then sealed in a plastic bag before being thrown away.

Environmental Impact 

Sealing and disposing of medications in the trash is supposed to be safe, but studies have found that even treated liquid waste from landfills still contains contaminants, and that drugs in water supplies are affecting fish.

It is unclear just how much groundwater contamination comes from flushed drugs versus human waste, said Cindy Kreifels, an executive at the Groundwater Foundation, a Nebraska nonprofit.

“Obviously we need to get the pharmaceuticals out of all water bodies,” she said, and take-back programs are important because the first step in cleaning up groundwater is getting people not to flush their medications.

Kreifels said there had not been any studies of contamination in Nebraska’s water since the take-backs began in 2012.

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Day of Caring Event at the Village at the Harbour

The United Way of San Juan County supports the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition’s Youth Leadership Initiative and Challenge program annually.  This funding is critical to continue our positive impact with youth, growing children and teens who are empowered to lead the way into a bright future for us all.

One of the ways we give back to United Way is by participating in their annual Day of Caring event which gathers folks from all the organizations who benefit from United Way’s support.  At this event, teams of volunteers complete tasks that help community members throughout the County.  This year the Day of Caring event became “extended” when Alice Hibberd, representing the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition, volunteered her skills at the Village at the Harbour.

Alice came to the “game hour” three times Thanksgiving week to learn from and share some old tricks with the dear residents who look forward to playing bingo and other games each day.  The residents thoroughly enjoy bingo as it is a steady part of their routine.  Alice remembered how her mother looked forward to bingo when she and her father were volunteers for the local fire company in Brick, N.J. where she grew up.  She also remembered how important card games were in her own family.  Her mother, grandmothers and aunts played cards regularly and all the kids learned, too.  So, to stir things up at “game hour”, Alice brought in a jumbo deck of cards (easy for residents to use), a deck Alice uses for team building activities through the SJIPC’s Challenge program.  Adapting the old fashioned card games of “Concentration” and “Go Fish” so residents could relax into and enjoy some new challenges, the group gained a sense of “team” as they helped each other while learning together.  Alice was tickled to see the smiles of joy, hear some fun teasing between friends, and watch folks “lean on each other” for support as needed.  Just like games and activities used in the SJIPC Challenge program, these simple card games became inspiration for growth and teamwork with residents at the Village at the Harbour. Young at Heart!

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