Marijuana and the Developing Brain – American Psychological Association

“What’s clear, however, is that marijuana’s signature high comes from a psychoactive component known as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And evidence is mounting, says Weiss, that THC is not risk-free.

In the short term, marijuana use has been shown to impair functions such as attention, memory, learning and decision-making. Those effects can last for days after the high wears off. Heavy marijuana use in adolescence or early adulthood has been associated with a dismal set of life outcomes including poor school performance, higher dropout rates, increased welfare dependence, greater unemployment and lower life satisfaction. ”



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Board of Trustees Meeting – December 16, 2016

Our SJIPC Board of Trustees meetings welcome our community members to get involved in Prevention. We meet at the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church. We thank them for allowing us to meet there:) A light lunch is served at 11:30am. Please RSVP 378-9683. The meeting runs 12noon- 2pm. Stay for as long or as little as you can, just being connected is a wonderful support, as we work to collaborate with all the stakeholders of our community.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SJI Prevention Coalition Community Survey 2016

Please help us, help our community. We need San Juan Island residents to complete this brief, anonymous survey created by the State, used for our funding requirements for the next year. Your feedback also helps shape our future prevention programming. The San Juan Island Prevention Coalition supports our schools with curriculum, helps support the FHMS Prevention Intervention Specialist and helps youth get involved in Youth Leadership Training programs, to name a few ways this survey will help our island youth. Thank you for your time and support. Takes about 5 minutes…

Online Survey English:

Online Survey Spanish:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Washington State Prevention Summit 2016

Reaching the Summit, Now the Real Work Begins

A group of local teens, their adult team advisors and chaperones made the annual trip to Yakima for the Washington State Prevention Summit. Our youth teams from San Juan Island are sponsored with grants through the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition.  Our teams are Rock Solid and H.O.T.S., Jr (Helping Out Teens Society at Friday Harbor Middle School), which together included: four 7th graders, an 8th grader, a 9th grader and an 11th grader.

Over 400 students from across the state join forces to learn more about the world of Prevention and gain new leadership skills. These teens are tasked with returning to their communities and putting together a project in prevention. This is where the real work begins.  We ask you to help support these youth as they work on ways to help create positive change in our community and schools.

Upon reflection, some of our students shared their insight to this 2 day Summit. Chiara Power, a 9th grade student at Friday Harbor High School shares, “It really was a pleasure to see so many young people open their minds to prevention. They all were there for a reason and they all made it count. They sat through a four hour lecture and paid attention, took notes, and most importantly, took it to heart. We had up to 5 lectures in a row and I was amazed how everyone stayed engaged and focused. Because they knew it was for us. To see people do that really restored some faith about our generation. It was an amazing experience and I hope I get to go to another one.” Zach Fincher, a junior at Friday Harbor High School recalls, “The Prevention Summit covers many topics from Depression to Gambling, but I particularly liked the one called Leadership 201: Written Communication. I gained new insights and sharpened my skill set through the power of the written word. These are skills I can use now and will help me as I plan my future.” This was Zach’s 6th year attending the Prevention Summit. Luke Fincher, Zach’s younger brother and 7th grader at Friday Harbor Middle School, made the trip for the first time. Luke shares,” I learned that 1 in 8 adolescents in WA. reported being depressed. I learned ways I can help others struggling with depression and to break the silence around talking about youth suicide.”

Not only do the youth have these powerful learning moments at the Summit, but the adult chaperones and team advisors share similar sentiments. Cindy Gutierrez, San Juan Island Prevention Coalition Trustee admits, “ I feel much more connected to our goals as a coalition, having the opportunity to experience the Summit firsthand. I learned something new in each workshop, but honestly, I mostly enjoyed being with the kids and soaking up their enthusiasm. I hope to attend more conferences in the future. I understand more of our mission now!”

Navigate Your Future was this year’s theme. We are grateful to the prevention workforce in our State that collaborates and organizes such meaningful, enriching and culturally appropriate training and networking opportunities for youth, volunteers and professionals who are working to prevent substance abuse, violence and other destructive behaviors in their communities. As well, the Summit integrates prevention efforts with primary healthcare and mental health promotion. The San Juan Island Prevention Coalition mission is to reduce substance abuse in youth and to create a community culture supporting healthy choices and responsible behaviors in youth and adults. Our Executive Coordinator, Cynthia Stark-Wickman, is instrumental in pulling together these funds, often writing grants, to support youth leadership training, a hallmark of our SJIPC efforts since 2004.

Watch for good things to come from this experience and these youth, as they share the power of prevention in their upcoming projects. Thank you for supporting these teens and the mission of the SJIPC. Here’s to a Healthy 2017!

Debbi Fincher, Rock Solid Team Youth Advisor & SJIPC Media

The San Juan Island Prevention Coalition Teams! Back row: Cindy Gutierrez, Joyce Wells, Cynthia Stark-Wickman, Andy Gutierrez, Zach Fincher, Middle row: Inga Harold, Eva Sanabria, Lilah Savlen, Luke Fincher, Front row: Debbi Fincher, Robin Taylor, Chiara Power

One way you can support our local youth is to take the annual community survey created by the State. This anonymous survey is part of our funding requirements by the State and helps guide future planning for prevention programming.  Thanks!

Online Survey English:

Online Survey Spanish:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WA State Department of Health: Marijuana Facts and the Sources used to help implement a plan to keep youth safe.

The state of Washington is confronted with the legalized recreational use of marijuana, through Initiative 502. The general consensus among health, safety and substance abuse professionals throughout Washington State is that under-age marijuana use[1] and use of marijuana by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers[2] is harmful and addictive[3], smoke (of any kind) is harmful to a person’s health,[4] and there are risks associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana. [5]

[1] Use of marijuana by youth is harmful an addictive. 1.) Escalation of Drug Use in Early-Onset Cannabis Users vs Co-twin Controls, (2003). Michael T. Lynskey, PhD; Andrew C. Heath, DPhil; Kathleen K. Bucholz, PhD; Wendy S. Slutske, PhD; Pamela A. F. Madden, PhD; Elliot C. Nelson, MD; Dixie J. Statham, MA; Nicholas G. Martin, PhD JAMA. 2003; 289(4):427-433. doi:10.1001/jama.289.4.427. 2.) The Teen Brain on Marijuana, (2012). Sion Kim Harris, PhD, Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

[2] Use of marijuana by pregnant and breast feeding mothers is harmful. 1.) Trezza, V.; Campolongo, P.; Cassano, T.; Macheda, T.; Dipasquale, P.; Carratu, M.R.;Gaetani, S.; Cuomo, V. Effects of perinatal exposure to delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol on the emotional reactivity of the offspring: A longitudinal behavioral study in Wistar rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 198(4):529–537, 2008. 2.) Schempf, A.H., and Strobino, D.M. Illicit drug use and adverse birth outcomes: Is it drugs or context? J Urban Health 85(6):858–873, 2008. 3.) Effects of Marijuana on the Fetus and Breastfeeding Infants. Source: Texas Tech Health Sciences University website,9.18.12 4.) Garry, et al, (2009). Cannibis and breastfeeding. Journal of Toxicology. Doi: 10.1155/2009/596149 5.) Miller, Clinical Lactation, 2012, Vol. 3-3, 102-107

[3] Marijuana is addictive. 1.) Anthony, J.; Warner, L.A.; and Kessler, R.C. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. 2.) Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 2:244–268, 1994. Hall, W.; and Degenhardt, L. Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet 374:1383–1391, 2009. 3.) Hall, W. The adverse health effects of cannabis use: What are they, and what are their implications for policy? Int J of Drug Policy 20:458–466, 2009

[4] Smoke (of any kind) is harmful to a person’s health. 1.) 2.) 3.) National Institute on Drug Abuse. DrugFacts: Marijuana. Revised November 2010.
[5] There are risks associated with driving under the influence of marijuana. 1.) Richer, I., and Bergeron, J. Driving under the influence of cannabis: Links with dangerous driving, psychological predictors, and accident involvement. Accid Anal Prev 41(2):299–307, 2009. 2.) O’Malley, P.M., and Johnston, L.D. Drugs and driving by American high school seniors, 2001–2006. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 68(6):834–842, 2007.
[6] Informed by key elements of Evidence-Based Approach in Public Health Practice, (EBPH) published by Julie A. Jacobs, MPH; Ellen Jones, PhD; Barbara A. Gabella, MSPH; Bonnie Spring, PhD; Ross C. Brownson, PhD in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Accessed March 7, 2012. PubMed
[7] 2014 WA State Revenue Forecast
[8] Office of Juvenile Justice Definition of Minor: A youth under the age of full legal responsibility in a particular state. In Washington State a minor is defined as a youth under the age of 18 years old. However, the legal age to use recreational marijuana is 21 years old. Per this document, youth is defined as those 12-20 years of age.
[9] CSAP Strategic Prevention Framework and Six Prevention Strategies

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help reduce prescription drug abuse…Take Back Your Meds

“More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record. The majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.1 And since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioid pain relieversand heroin) nearly quadrupled.2 From 2000 to 2014 nearly half a million people died from drug overdoses. 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

We now know that overdoses from prescription opioid pain relievers are a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. Since 1999, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled,2 yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.3,4 Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have also quadrupled since 1999.”

SEATTLE, November 28, 2016 – The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) announced that it is now the owner and curator of the statewide medication return website, and its social media pages. In an effort to increase awareness and expand its use across Washington State, the WAPC will incorporate Take Back Your Meds into existing statewide education outreach programs and harm reduction efforts as well as future stewardship and growth.

Currently, pharmaceutical substances account for about half of all exposure calls to the Washington Poison Center, and poisoning/overdose remains the number one cause of unintentional death in Washington state and in the U.S.. “Handling over 35,000 drug cases annually and employing two full time public health educators based in Seattle and Spokane, the Take Back Your Meds program aligns with our mission to reduce the harm caused by poisonings. It is reinforced by existing programs, services, and education outreach WAPC delivers statewide to people of all ages,” said Washington Poison Center’s Medical & Executive Director, Dr. Erica Liebelt. helps Washington state residents locate pharmacy and law enforcement locations to dispose of their unused, unwanted, and/or expired medications. Eliminating excess medication from the home can reduce the potential for unintentional injury or misuse and abuse. Promoting secure medication takeback and safe medication disposal are vital components of an overall order by Governor Inslee to address the opioid crisis nationwide and here in Washington State.

Since taking ownership of the page, the WAPC has updated the website content to include an interactive map of take back location, allowing Washingtonians to quickly locate medication return sites near them. This map also differentiates between locations that accept controlled and non-controlled substances. In addition, the site includes tips on safe storage and disposal.

Visit to find a take back location and connect with Take Back Your Meds on Facebook(@takebackyourmeds) and Twitter (@takebackurmeds).

For full article click here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Marijuana Facts

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SJIPC Community Survey 2016

Please take a few minutes to add your insight and thoughts on our annual community survey, as it pertains to prevention, especially as we work to protect our youth from underage substance abuse. This anonymous survey is offered through the State and your answers help us, to help our community. This survey is for San Juan Island Residents. Thank you.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

Marijuana and Health


• 1 in 10 people who try marijuana will become addicted to it, developing a dependence that produces withdrawal, cravings.

• If marijuana use starts in adolescence, the chances of addiction are 1 in 6.i

• Long-term studies from the USA and New Zealand have shown that regular cannabis smokers report more symptoms of chronic bronchitis than non- smokers.ii

• And today’s marijuana is not the marijuana of the 1960s; potency has tripled in the past 15 years, according to a 2009 report from the U.S. government. It has grown 5 times since 1960.

• In the U.S. since 1990, more people have gone to the emergency room after using marijuana even though the overall numbers of marijuana users has remained relatively stable.iii

• In the U.S., cannabis emergency rates have been rising sharply for cannabis- related admissions. Visits to hospital emergency departments because of cannabis use have risen from an estimated 16,251 visits in 1991 to more than 374,000 in 2008.iv

The Brain and Mental Health

• Marijuana use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, and reaction time. These effects can last up to 28 days after abstinence from the drug.v

• Science confirms that the adolescent brain, particularly the part of the brain that regulates the planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision-making and social behavior, is not fully developed until the early to mid-20s. Developing brains are especially susceptible to all of the negative effects of marijuana and other drug

• Marijuana use is significantly linked with mental illness, especially schizophrenia and psychosis, but also depression and anxiety.vii

The Heart

• Marijuana use can cause an increase in the risk of a heart attack more than four-fold in the hour after use, and provokes chest pain in patients with heart disease.viii

The Lungs

• Research has shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs, resulting in greater prevalence of bronchitis, cough, and phlegm production.ix

• Marijuana smoke, in fact, contains 50-70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.x

• Evidence linking marijuana and lung cancer are mixed, with a recent study stating that “cannabis smoking increases the risk of developing a lung cancer independently of an eventual associated tobacco exposure.”xi Other studies have failed to find such a link.xii

• Marijuana smoke also includes an enzyme that converts some hydrocarbons into a cancer-causing form, potentially accelerating the changes that produce malignant cells.xiii

• Mark Gold, perhaps the most distinguished professor in the country on drugs and the brain and body, said, “It is possible, but not proven, that cannabis smoke may be less toxic than cigarette smoke, but it is not better than clean air. Clear, unbiased, and convincing evidence of safety and comparable efficacy are needed for therapeutic claims. It is smoke, after all.” “Columbus brought Tobacco to the ‘New World’ and it took nearly 500 years for absolute proof of tobacco smoke dangerousness to be established,” Gold continued. “To this day, each year, over 400,000 United States deaths are due to tobacco smoke.


• Marijuana smoking during pregnancy has been shown to decrease birth weight, most likely due to the effects of carbon monoxide on the developing fetus.xiv

IQ, Learning, and Job Performance

• One of the most well designed studies on marijuana and intelligence, released in 2012, found that persistent, heavy use of marijuana by adolescents reduces IQ by as much as eight points, when tested well into adulthood.xv

• Other studies have found that marijuana use is linked with dropping out of school, and subsequent unemployment, social welfare dependence, and a lower self-reported quality of life than non-marijuana abusing people.xvi

• According to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, youth with poor academic results were more than four times as likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth with an average of higher grades. This is consistent with an exhaustive meta-analysis examining forty-eight different studies by Macleod and colleagues, published by Lancet, who found that marijuana use is consistently associated with reduced grades and a reduced chance of graduating from school.xvii

• In addition, studies have linked employee marijuana use with “increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover.”xviii

i Wagner, F.A. & Anthony, J.C. From first drug use to drug dependence; developmental periods of risk for dependence upon cannabis, cocaine, and alcohol. Neuropsychopharmacology 26, 479-488 (2002).

ii Tetrault, J. M., Crothers, K., Moore, B. A., Mehra, R., Concato, J., & Fiellin, D. A. (2007). Effects of marijuana smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications. Archives of Internal Medicine, 167(3):221-228.

iii Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2011). Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2008: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. HHS Publication No. SMA 11-4618. Rockville, MD.

iv Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2011). Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2008: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. HHS Publication No. SMA 11-4618. Rockville, MD.

v Hall W & Degenhard L (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374:1383-1391

vi Giedd. J. N. (2004). Structural magnetic resonance imaging of the adolescent brain. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1021, 77-85.

vii Moore TH, Zammit S, Lingford-Hughes A, et al. Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: A systematic review. Lancet 370(9584):319–328, 2007. Also Large, M., Sharma S, Compton M., Slade, T. & O., N. (2011). Cannabis use and earlier onset of psychosis: a systematic meta-analysis. Archives of General Psychiatry. 68. Also see Arseneault L, et al. (2002). Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study. British Medical Journal. 325, 1212-1213.

viii Hall W & Degenhard L (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374:1383-1391.

ix Tetrault, J.M., et al. Effects of cannabis smoking on pulmonary function and respiratory complications: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med 167, 221-228 (2007).

x Hoffman, D.; Brunnemann, K.D.; Gori, G.B.; and Wynder, E.E.L. On the carcinogenicity of marijuana smoke. In: V.C. Runeckles, ed., Recent Advances in Phytochemistry. New York: Plenum, 1975.

xi Brambilla, C., & Colonna, M. (2008). Cannabis: The next villain on the lung cancer battlefield? European Respiratory Journal, 31:227-228.

xii Bello, D. (2006). Large study finds no link between marijuana and cancer. Scientific American, Available at:

xiii Tashkin, D. P. (1999). Effects on marijuana on the lung and its defenses against infection and cancer. School Psychology International, 20(1):23-37.

xiv Hall W & Degenhard L (2009). Adverse health effects of non-medical cannabis use. Lancet, 374:1383-1391.

xv Meier et al. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

xvi Fergusson, D. M. and Boden, J. M. (2008), Cannabis use and later life outcomes. Addiction, 103: 969–976.

xvii Macleod, J.; Oakes, R.; Copello, A.; Crome, I.; Egger, M.; Hickman, M.; Oppenkowski, T.; Stokes- Lampard, H.; and Davey Smith, G. Psychological and social sequelae of cannabis and other illicit drug use by young people: A systematic review of longitudinal, general population studies. Lancet 363(9421):1579-1588, 2004.

xviii National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2011). Research Report Series: Cannabis Abuse. Accessed November 2011 at

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vaping Info…

“New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more teens have an electronic cigarette habit than ever before.

According to the CDC, in 2015 one in four high school students and one in 13 middle school students in the U.S. reported using some type of tobacco products at least one day in the previous month. This adds up to 4.7 million students who did some type of vaping, toking or smoking, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published online on April 15.”  4/15/16 NEWSWEEK

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment