Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 legislative priorities

WASAVP's 2012 legislative priorities were posted earlier this month.  Below is more information about these priorities. 

1) Prevent liquor privatization and further deregulation. 
Evidence from multiple studies indicates that the more stringent the regulations in a community, particularly the ones affecting availability and marketing, the lower the prevalence and frequency of adolescent alcohol consumption and the higher the age of first use.

While Washington State voters recently approved Initiative 1183 to privatize the sale of liquor and to remove important price regulations, there are still ways that the Liquor Control Board (LCB) can regulate alcohol to reduce access among adolescents. WASAVP will work with the LCB and the state legislature to ensure that regulations are instituted to protect public safety, especially the safety of the children in our state. 

2) Support designation of all ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) fees and taxes going towards enforcement, prevention and treatment in communities, not into the general fund. 
Evidence-based prevention, treatment, and enforcement of drug laws have proven to reduce underage drinking and drug use in communities. However, largely due to recent government budget reductions, many of these evidence-based practices have been eliminated.

At the same time, major changes to our state's drug and alcohol policies, which are proven methods for preventing substance abuse, have been eliminated or significantly changed. These changes have created an environment where youth may have more access to drugs and alcohol, resulting in harms such as increased driving under the influence, assaults, and barriers to learning.

WASAVP supports the designation of ATOD fees and taxes going towards enforcement, prevention and treatment as a way to mitigate the harms created by dismantling these systems and to reinstate funding for successful prevention activities.

3) Reclassify medical marijuana so that it may be regulated and sold in pharmacies like other prescription medications.
In 1998, Washington State voters approved the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. While many prevention advocates do not agree with this legislation, it is law in Washington and WASAVP is committed to working towards preventing youth access to marijuana.

Currently, the regulation of medicinal marijuana is inadequate. Different communities have different laws and regulations concerning medicinal marijuana. In the communities where dispensaries are allowed to operate as businesses, there is little, if any, regulation of them. Like alcohol and prescription drugs, medicinal marijuana needs to be highly regulated to prevent youth access.

WASAVP supports the reclassification of marijuana so that it will be regulated like any other prescription medication and allowed to only be sold in pharmacies. Doing so will create a barrier to youth access.

4) Oppose state and federal budget cuts to community and school-based prevention programs.
Over the past few years, communities and schools have been hit hard by reductions in funding for evidence-based youth substance abuse and violence prevention programs. Evidence-based prevention programs are an important component of creating and sustaining safe and healthy communities. WASAVP opposes further cuts to prevention programs that reach all students and that support healthy youth development in communities.

Monitoring: WASAVP members identified the following issues to monitor during the 2012 legislative session.

• Healthy Youth Survey sustainability

• Prescription drug take-back program funded by pharmaceutical companies

• Marijuana legalization

• Social and emotional performance measures on the K-12 school report card

• School safety policy and funding

• School dropout prevention, intervention and re-engagement policy and funding

• Bullying prevention policy and funding

• Suicide prevention policy and funding

• Funding for school-based prevention-intervention specialists

• Statewide social host law

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