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Smart Kids Are More Likely to Experiment with Pot and Alcohol

Smart Kids Are More Likely to Experiment with Pot and Alcohol

Teen alcohol and substance use is one of the primary concerns in the prevention field. Adolescent development and growth can be inhibited by substance use until the age of 26; however, peer pressure oftentimes encourages teens to partake in substance use – whether in the form of underage drinking or drug/tobacco use. Previously, the perception was that students who were struggling in school or had a poor home life were more likely to abuse drugs. However, a new study in British Medical Journal suggests that teens with high scores on academic exams were almost twice as likely as low-scoring peers to use cannabis persistently at ages 18 to 20.

Smarter kids also were less likely than low scorers to smoke cigarettes, and more likely to drink. The researchers regard their findings as a warning against assuming that teens with poor academic performance are more likely to abuse substances than their peers. They also note that while high- achieving teens may eventually get into good universities and secure high-paying jobs, substance abuse can derail those promising futures.

Previous research suggests that marijuana can have a harmful effect on developing brains, and alcohol use among minors is linked to a higher risk of fatal car collisions, accidental injuries, alcohol poisoning and suicide.

“Reducing harmful substance use in this age group is important, no matter the level of academic ability, given the immediate risks to health and the longer term consequences,” researchers James Williams and Gareth Hagger-Johnson write in their article.

Williams and Hagger-Johnson, from the University College London Medical School, analyzed data from about 6,000 representative participants across England and sorted them into three groups based on results of a nationwide test all English students take around age 11. They tracked these students over the years with surveys that included questions about cigarette, alcohol and cannabis use, zooming in on early adolescence ― ages 13 to 17 ― and late adolescence ― ages 18 to 20.

They found that the high-scoring students were 62 percent less likely than low scorers to smoke cigarettes in early adolescence, but 25 percent more likely to drink occasionally (not every year) in early adolescence, compared with the low scorers. Their chances of drinking persistently (every year) was more than double in late adolescence.

Finally, the high-scoring kids were also 50 percent more likely to use pot occasionally, and 91 percent more likely to use pot persistently, from age 18 and onward. Compared with low scorers, the medium- scoring kids had a 37-percent higher likelihood for occasional use, and 81 percent for persistent use.

The same was true for alcohol. High-scoring students were more than twice as likely to drink alcohol, compared with low-scoring peers in late adolescence, while medium-scoring teens were 56 percent more likely to drink, compared with low scorers.

Potential explanations range from the possibility that smarter kids may be more open to new experiences, be more accepted by older peers who have access to these substances, or simply may be more honest when filling out self-reported surveys, the researchers said. Parents could have something to do with the association, as intelligent and wealthy parents tend to drink more alcohol and shun cigarettes. The new findings seem to line up with past research on adults, who are also more likely to use cannabis and drink more if they score highly on intelligence tests.

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Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change

Washington Frontiers of Innovation

Washington Frontiers of Innovation (WA FOI) is a partnership established in 2011 between The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University and Washington State stakeholders.  WA FOI develops, tests, and refines program leveland system and policy level science-based portfolios of activities targeting improved outcomes for at risk and vulnerable children, youth and families.  Our aim is to re-envision early childhood investment to stimulate creativity and support experimentation in order to produce significant, population-level change.

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Board of Trustees Meeting this Friday, February 17th

Youth Leadership Training one of our goals for the SJIPC!

Interested in supporting healthy choices for our youth and creating a community culture that promotes healthy and responsible behaviors for youth and adults? We welcome all stakeholders to the table and aim to collaborate to reach our goals and mission.

This meeting, we will be working on our planning process, as required by the State for our annual funding resources. This is a good meeting to learning more about what the SJIPC does and how you might see yourself getting involved.

We meet at 11:30am for a light lunch at the Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church, we thank them for use of the space. The meeting is 12noon-2pm. Please RSVP 378-9683.

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“Dripping” Use of E-Cigarettes continue to Evolve…What’s the Risks?

(CNN) One in four teens who vape say they’ve used e-cigarettes for an alternative technique known as “dripping,” new research finds.

By Susan Scutti, CNN Updated 8:57 AM ET, Tue February 7, 2017

Dripping produces thicker clouds of vapor, gives a stronger sensation in the throat and makes flavors taste better, according to a study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
“This study is the first systematic evaluation of the use of dripping among teens,” said Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, lead author and a professor in the department of psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Krishnan-Sarin and her colleagues surveyed teens from eight southeastern Connecticut high schools during spring 2015.
Though some respondents did not answer all the questions, 1,874 students reported having tried an e-cigarette. More than 26% of those who’d tried vaping also reported dripping.
Being male, being white, having tried more tobacco products and using e-cigarettes on a greater number of days over the previous month were the traits likely to be associated with dripping.

What is dripping?

E-cigarettes heat liquid and turn it into vapor, which a user inhales and then exhales in a large puffy cloud.
The normal process of vaping relies on an e-cig’s reservoir and wick, both of which automatically feed liquid to the heating coil within the device, minus any effort or intervention on the part of the user.
Aficionados sometimes prefer to bypass the usual battery-operated process and substitute a more hands-on approach — essentially an artisanal version of vaping.
“Dripping is a more labor-intensive method of vaping in which the user manually applies a few drops of liquid directly to the exposed heating coil of the e-cig every so many puffs,” said Alan Shihadeh, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Aerosol Research Laboratory at the American University of Beirut.
Shihadeh, a project leader at the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products of Virginia Commonwealth University, was not involved in the new study.
Along with a better cloud, more flavor and a stronger hit, Shihadeh said, some people prefer dripping because “it allows them to conveniently change from one liquid flavor to another without wasting liquid.”
Ray Story, CEO of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, an industry group, suspects the number of teens who have tried dripping may not be as high as the study indicates.
“Do we think it’s going to become a trend or very popular? No,” he said. Story, who was not involved in the study, believes there will always be an extreme group that uses any product, including e-cigarettes, in alternative ways.
In August, the Food and Drug Administration began regulating all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, prohibiting sales to youths under the age of 18.
Story favors regulation and dislikes the fact that underage teens are vaping. Still, he said that ‘it’s much better to have them play around with vaping devices versus conventional tobacco,” a product he believes is more harmful to health than e-cigarettes.

Toxic emissions

Dripping generates higher heating coil temperatures than conventional use of e-cigarettes — and this is a safety concern. “Higher temperatures lead to greater emissions of a class of harmful chemicals known as volatile aldehydes,” including formaldehyde and acrolein, Shihadeh said.
According to Dr. David Carpenter, director of the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, both formaldehyde and acrolein are known to cause cancer in humans. Carpenter is unaffiliated with the new study.
These chemicals are also associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe.
In an unrelated study last year, Shihadeh and his colleagues approximated realistic dripping scenarios under laboratory conditions and then measured temperatures and emissions. “The aldehyde emissions were much greater than what we measured using conventional e-cigs,” he said.
More important, as puffing progresses and liquid is consumed, the temperatures and emissions rise “drastically,” Shihadeh said. Users believe they can detect when conditions have shifted by a change in flavor, he explained, but by the time they “taste the difference, they very likely have already been exposed to much higher levels of these toxicants” than would have happened under conventional e-cig use.
According to Krishnan-Sarin, “Emerging data is also showing that e-cigarettes contain many other chemicals like propylene glycol and glycerine, and they also contain a lot of flavor chemicals. Now, all of these are volatile, and when they are heated at high temperatures like we see with dripping, you could produce high levels of carcinogenic compounds.
“If the e-liquid is vaporized at a high temperature, you could get a big shot of nicotine,” Krishnan-Sarin said.
However, inhaling toxic chemicals is not the only safety risk.
“Handling liquid so often, there is a greater risk of incidental skin contact,” Shihadeh said. E-cigarette liquids typically contain nicotine, which is absorbed rapidly through human skin.
If enough liquid is spilled, then, a vaper could be exposed to toxic levels of nicotine. Shihadeh also suggested young children might be hurt by spilled liquid. An analysis of calls to the National Poison Data System estimated that more than seven young children accidentally ingest e-liquids left within reach in households each day.

Revisiting the past

“The other thing is, nicotine is addictive,” Carpenter said. “What I’m primarily concerned about is, they’ve become so popular with the kids, and they’re going to be just as addictive as cigarettes.”
Their popularity among teens is no longer in question. A December report from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy found e-cigarettes are now “the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and hookahs.” In fact, use of e-cigarettes among high school students increased by 900% from 2011 to 2015, according to the report.
Carpenter worries about the possibility of addiction because the devices are promoted as being safer than conventional cigarettes. Many people, though, do not understand that the fun-flavored liquids — including “mango” and “bubble gum” — often contain nicotine. Since nicotine levels also vary from formulation to formulation, users may unknowingly develop a strong need to vape more frequently.
Though it is true that e-cigarettes lack many of the toxic chemicals contained in regular cigarettes, said Carpenter, they have instead “all these added things: these flavorings, these other chemicals.” E-cigarettes are unknown territory when it comes to human health, he said.
Krishnan-Sarin agrees: “What I always tell parents is that we know very little, I think, about the short and long-term effects of e-cigarettes.”
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration identified 134 incidents of e-cigarette batteries overheating, catching fire or exploding in the United States during a seven-year period ending in January 2016.
In light of the many health concerns, the FDA announced last year that it would regulate e-cigarettes the same way it regulates traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.
This spring, the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products will host a workshop in April to “gather information and stimulate discussion” about e-cigarette battery safety concerns.
Currently, a public docket is open to anyone who wishes to comment on the topic.
Join the conversation

See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Beyond dripping is another alternative use of e-cigarettes that is of concern to Krishnan-Sarin: smoke tricks.
“You can inhale the vapor or the aerosol, and then you blow it out of your mouth or nose, and you create all different kinds of shapes,” she said. “People create dragons and volcanoes and little hearts.” Vape fests and competitions are devoted to smoke tricks, which are becoming enormously popular.
“More study is needed,” said Krishnan-Sarin. “We can’t just assume e-cigarettes are being used the way everybody thinks they’re being used.”

By Susan Scutti, CNN Updated 8:57 AM ET, Tue February 7, 2017

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Smoking…How Vaping can lead to future Cigarette Use in Teens

NIDA-funded study by University of Michigan shows that teen vaping is a significant predictor of future cigarette smoking.

Twelfth graders who had never previously smoked, but who had used an e-cigarette at least once within the past 30 days, were more than four times as likely to say that they had smoked a cigarette by the follow up survey.


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Marijuana and Teens’ Perception

Coalitions in Action: The Project Alliance’s Marijuana Summit Hits the Mark

“When it came to marijuana use, since 2011, we’d noticed that our teens’ perception of harm had been going down,” says Program Director Bill Paterson, of the Project Alliance at the University of New England (UNE). “Information from the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey coupled with anecdotal data and passage of our medical marijuana law raised a red flag.”

Uniquely positioned within the university’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Project Alliance – an initiative of Maine’s Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition (CHCC) – leads substance misuse prevention efforts to reduce retail and social access to alcohol, increase awareness of the risks of marijuana use and promotes the safe disposal of prescription medication. Its diverse board includes representatives from schools, parents, law enforcement, youth, clergy and more. Efforts target youth, parents, law enforcement and school administrators. The initiative serves coastal beach communities – 80,000 people (summertime population of 200,000) – areas which are both urban and rural.

“We were very concerned when we saw that our teens weren’t taking marijuana risks seriously,” says Paterson. “Some believe that marijuana is safe because of its legal status, and that’s dangerous thinking.”

Paterson affirms that the goal is to reduce marijuana use among students aged 12-18, and raise the level of awareness about marijuana and its potential impact on adolescents. To that effect, Project Alliance’s centerpiece is its yearly Marijuana Summit. The event brings together 60 students, school administrators, counselors, health care professionals, school resource officers and teachers who learn about:

  • The latest research
  • Evidence-based lesson plans
  • Current laws and policies on medical marijuana
  • Addiction and recovery messaging

Also in the marijuana education arena, Project Alliance:

  • Provides technical assistance to help schools review and revise policies
  • Collaborates with law enforcement (supports York County’s Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws committee to conduct party patrols)
  • Supervises the All Stars Program (youth-led initiative which focuses on the importance of developing positive norms and decision-making skills and building idealism, pro-social values and resistance skills)
  • Facilitates Table Talks (small group discussions held among parents to help them openly communicate with each other about marijuana use and how to prevent it)

University connections make Project Alliance stronger 

Paterson affirms that tapping into the university community is a win-win. The university gains visibility on important issues, and the Summit and other prevention activities secure access to some of the best minds. For example, the 2016 Summit featured Christian Teter, Pharm.D., BCPP, a UNE associate professor of Psychopharmacology who presented on the impact of marijuana use on the developing brain. Being housed in the university also affords Project Alliance with opportunities to enhance its credibility.

“We tap into the pharmacy, social work and neuroscience departments, obtaining important backing from experts who can help us achieve our goals,” says Paterson. Recent DFC, CDC and state of Maine funding was obtained partially due to the initiative’s university affiliation. Paterson also reiterates that these connections energize and mobilize activities, making community relationships ever-stronger.

“We’re very excited about our marijuana and teens program and couldn’t do it without UNE. The university acts as the foundation, supporting our efforts and their success. Take the time to nurture relationships with colleges and universities wherever you are. You won’t regret it,” concludes Paterson.

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E-Cig Risks to Teens

E-Cig Risk: Teens Who Vape More Likely to Start Smoking Tobacco

By Rachael Rettner, Senior Writer | 
E-Cig Risk: Teens Who Vape More Likely to Start Smoking Tobacco

Credit: Shutterstock/scyther5

Teens who “vape” in high school are at increased risk for using tobacco cigarettes in the future, a new study found.

The study discovered that teens who use electronic cigarettes, a practice also referred to as vaping, in the 12th grade were four times more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes within the next year, compared with teens who didn’t vape in the 12th grade.

The findings “contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting vaping as a ‘one-way bridge’ to cigarette smoking among youth,” the researchers wrote in their study, published online today (Feb. 7) in the journal Tobacco Control.

When using an electronic cigarette, teens inhale vapor that may contain nicotine, as well as flavors such as bubble gum or milk-chocolate cream, the researchers said.

E-cigarettes are often advertised as safer alternatives to tobacco cigarettes, because the electronic variety’s vapor contains fewer chemicals known to be harmful to humans, compared with traditional cigarette smoke. However, researchers are still investigating the health effects of e-cigarettes, and some studies have suggested that e-cigarette use still poses health hazards, such as an increased risk for markers of heart disease.

Other studies have suggested that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular tobacco cigarettes, compared to teens who don’t use e-cigarettes. But these earlier studies involved teens in a single city or state, so the results were not necessarily representative of the U.S. population, the researchers of the new study said. [4 Myths About E-Cigarettes]

The new research involved a nationally representative sample of about 350 teens who were randomly selected from a larger survey of 122 schools around the country. Subjects were first surveyed on their smoking and vaping habits in 12th grade, and then surveyed again one year later.

Among teens who said they vaped in the 12th grade but had never tried a tobacco cigarette, 31 percent went on to try tobacco cigarettes in the next year, the study found. In contrast, among teens who hadn’t vaped or smoked tobacco cigarettes in the 12th grade, just 7 percent went on to try tobacco cigarettes in the next year, the survey revealed.

 The use of e-cigarettes may desensitize teens to the risks of tobacco cigarettes, explaining the findings in the study, the researchers said. Although 80 percent of 12th graders from the study said they thought smoking cigarettes posed a “great risk” of harm, those who vaped in 12th grade were four times more likely to change their views (saying cigarettes posed less of a risk) one year later, compared with those who didn’t vape in 12th grade.

“Youth who begin to vape primarily to experiment and because vaping tastes good (the most common reasons for vaping) may detect no immediate health consequences and [so] conclude that the dangers of smoking are exaggerated,” the researchers wrote.

The results also suggest vaping leads former cigarette smokers to return to smoking. This was seen in the teens who had smoked in the past but hadn’t smoked recently when they took the first survey, in the 12th grade. In that group, those who vaped in the 12th grade were twice as likely to say they smoked cigarettes again one year later, compared to those who didn’t vape in the 12th grade.

Still, the researchers noted that the new study cannot prove that vaping caused teens to start smoking cigarettes. The study did take into account some factors that could be associated with increased risk of smoking, such as the respondents’ gender and ethnicity, as well as their parents’ educational attainment. But there are still other factors the current study failed to address that could influence people’s risk of smoking, the researchers said. This includes the teens’ affiliation with smokers in the community, the perception of their friends’ attitudes toward smoking and their level of rebelliousness, the investigators said.

Original article on Live Science.

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Learn About National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®

During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® and year round, teens can test their knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse by taking the interactive National Drug and Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz. A new challenge is posted annually during NDAFW.

When marijuana is smoked or vaporized, its effects begin almost immediately and can last from 1 to 3 hours. Decision making, concentration, and memory can suffer for days after use, especially in regular users.2  If marijuana is consumed in foods or beverages, the effects of THC appear later—usually in 30 minutes to 1 hour—but may last for many hours.

Long-term, regular use of marijuana—starting in the teen years—may impair brain development and lower IQ, meaning the brain may not reach its full potential.3,4

Learn more about how the brain works and what happens when a person uses drugs. And, check out how the brain responds to marijuana.

E-cigarettes are fairly new products. They’ve only been around for about a decade. Therefore, researchers are just in the early stage of studying the health effects for people who use these products or who are exposed to the aerosol (vapor) secondhand.

E-cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine without the other chemicals produced by burning tobacco leaves. Puffing on the mouthpiece of the cartridge activates a battery-powered inhalation device (called a vaporizer). The vaporizer heats the liquid inside the cartridge which contains nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals. The heated liquid turns into an aerosol (vapor) which the user inhales—referred to as “vaping.”

Because they do not burn tobacco, e-cigarettes are not expected to be as harmful to the lungs as other tobacco products.  But since they are so new, we do not know for sure.  Health experts have raised many questions about the safety of these products, particularly for teens:

  • Testing of some e-cigarette products found the aerosol (vapor) to contain known cancer-causing and toxic chemicals, and particles from the vaporizing mechanism that may be harmful. The health effects of repeated exposure to these chemicals are not yet clear.
  • There is animal research which shows that nicotine exposure may cause changes in the brain that make other drugs more rewarding. If this is true in humans, as some experts believe, it would mean that using nicotine in any form would increase the risk of other drug use and for addiction.
  • Some research suggests that e-cigarette use may serve as a “gateway” or introductory product for youth to try other tobacco products, including regular cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to early death. A recent study showed that students who have used e-cigarettes by the time they start 9th grade are more likely than others to start smoking traditional cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products within the next year.7
  • The liquid in e-cigarettes can cause nicotine poisoning if someone drinks, sniffs, or touches it. Recently there has been a surge of poisoning cases in children under age 5. There is also concern for users changing cartridges and for pets.

Are e-cigarettes regulated?

Yes. The U.S. government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on May 5, 2016 that the FDA will now restrict how and to whom e-cigarettes, as well as hookah tobacco and cigars, can be sold. This means the FDA will now regulate these types of tobacco products in much the same way they regulate cigarettes:

  • It is now illegal to sell e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, or cigars in person or online to anyone under age 18;
  • Buyers have to show their photo ID to purchase e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, or cigars, verifying that they are 18 years or older.
  • These products cannot be sold in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility).
  • It is illegal to hand out free samples.

FDA regulation also means that the Federal government will now have a lot more information about what is in e-cigarettes, the safety or harms of the ingredients, how they are made, and what risks need to be communicated to the public (for example, on health warnings on the product and in advertisements). They will also be able to stop manufactures from making statements about their products that are not scientifically proven.

Regulation does not mean that e-cigarettes are necessarily safe for all adults to use, or that all of the health claims currently being made in advertisements by manufactures are true. But it does mean that e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco, and cigars now have to follow the same type of rules cigarette manufacturers have been following since 2009.

When teens drink, alcohol affects their brains in the short-term– but repeated drinking can also impact it down the road, especially as their brains grow and develop.

Short-Term Consequences of Intoxication (being “drunk”):

  • An intoxicated person has a harder time making good decisions.
  • A person is less aware that his/her behavior may be inappropriate or risky.
  • A person may be more likely to engage in risky behavior, including drinking and driving, sexual activity (like unprotected sex) and aggressive or violent behavior.
  • A person is less likely to recognize potential danger.

Long-Term Consequences as the Teen Brain Develops:

  • Research shows that drinking during the teen years could interfere with normal brain development and change the brain in ways that:
    • Have negative effects on information processing and learning.
    • Increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from morphine, a psychoactive (mind-altering) substance that is extracted from the resin of the seed pod of  the opium poppy plant. Heroin’s color and look depend on how it is made and what else it may be mixed with. It can be white or brown powder or a black, sticky substance called “black tar heroin.”

Heroin is part of a class of drugs called opioids. Other opioids include codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin), and hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin). These drugs are chemically similar to endorphins, which are opioid chemicals that the body makes naturally to relieve pain (such as after exercise).

Because of where opioid receptors are located in the brain, heroin and other opioid drugs also activate the brain’s reward center, causing the “high” that puts the user at risk for addiction. In an overdose, it can also cause a person to stop breathing, which is often fatal.

Heroin use and overdose deaths have dramatically increased over the last decade. This increase is related to the growing number of people misusing prescription opioid pain relievers like OxyContin and Vicodin; many who become addicted to those drugs switch to heroin because it produces similar effects but is cheaper and easier to get.

In fact, nearly 80 percent of people who use heroin report having first misused prescription opioids.

To learn more about the different types of opioids, visit our Prescription Opioids Drug Facts page.

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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. ”




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