Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Seattle Times calls for marijuana prevention programs

Last week, a Seattle Times editorial stated that teen marijuana use prevention efforts should start now.  "Washington instead is waiting for the spring of marijuana tax revenue to gurgle up and fund prevention efforts. That’s a mistake," the editorial says.

In fact, many substance abuse prevention strategies can be implemented without funding.  As yesterday's post explains, policies supporting public health should be adopted before the new marijuana industry is fully up and running.  Several public health prevention strategies can be put in place by key institutions in our state without prevention-specific funding.

  • Local jurisdictions can strictly enforce the ban on public consumption of marijuana.  
  • Products attractive to children and teens can be prohibited.
  • Statements supporting limits on the number of marijuana stores can be made by public officials.  
  • Tighter restrictions on advertising can be adopted.  

The idea that substance abuse prevention is all about implementing school-based programs or mass media campaigns is outdated.  (Though, there is nothing stopping the Seattle Times from forming a private-public partnership and running marijuana prevention ads pro bono right now.)  Yes, those elements of teen drug use prevention are important, but to be most effective they need be part of a comprehensive strategy that addresses the many individual and community factors that contribute to marijuana use among minors.

No comments:

Post a Comment