A Line in the Sand

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By: Curt Wheeler, Certified Prevention Specialist

With so many developing substance use trends, discussions about health and safety have become more common.  Some of these trends include the growing use of Electronic Smoking Devices (ESD), the variety of substances that may be used in these devices, the arrival of more synthetic drugs and the legalization of marijuana that drives an ever growing variety of THC products.  As a result, a variety of costs are passed onto families, schools, businesses and communities.  In an effort to minimize the damages, the Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) has been working with coalitions and other community partners to support local efforts in addressing many of these substance use trends.

One of the trends that have been part of the discussions is the growing use of ESD’s and the variety of substances that can be used in them.  Over the last few years, schools districts have been working to tighten their policies to address these devices and the substances that may be used in them.  Businesses have also gotten on board and have been revising their tobacco use and drug policies to include ESD’s.  Even local communities have been joining the effort by adopting policies and ordinances that prohibit the use of tobacco, including Electronic Smoking Devices, in the parks and around playgrounds.  Some of the goals include increasing the health and safety of bystanders, decreasing community costs, and providing a more positive influence for youth.

Open dialogue and education about the REAL costs of substance use can help raise awareness leading to a better understanding of why a particular policy or ordinance makes sense.  Though some feel a policy or law is restrictive, most understand that they are necessary as not everyone considers how their choices may impact others.  We can all find ways to help minimize the costs by supporting prevention efforts, leaving plenty of opportunity to enjoy life without passing costs on to others.

To get connected with local coalitions that are working to prevent substance use among youth and decrease substance use issues in their communities, go to http://www.asac.us/prevention/community-coalitions/.