This week’s Health Talk is written by Kaitlyn Gawet, LMSW, Regional Prevention Partnership Coordinator at Rutland Regional Medical Center. Take the time during National Prevention Week to explore some of the terrific resources available to support the conversations necessary to help the youth of our community. You can find plenty of material online at the following organizations: Parent Up VT, the VT Help Link, the NIDA, CDC and Partners for Prevention. Source
Additionally, during the 30 days prior to the 2019 survey, respondents reporting use of marijuana within this same group (grades 9-12) are at 27% for Rutland County and the state of Vermont, whereas nationally it is at 22%. What does this mean? This means the Vermont and Rutland County numbers are higher than the national average. The time to act is now with prevention efforts to address this trend. What do the marijuana use numbers look like for Rutland County? The 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows 44% of youth in Grades 9-12 report they have used marijuana in their lifetime, compared to 40% statewide.
May 9-15 is National Prevention Week. The focus of this initiative is to prevent youth and young adults from using and misusing substances such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. As a community, we have a responsibility to our youth to embrace those conversations, however uncomfortable they may be, and to relay our expectations. We need to have these difficult conversations and clarify and discuss the consequences that exist with using and misusing these substances. Like many other substances, use of marijuana by youth can affect their developing brain in several ways. Research shows the brain is not considered to be fully developed until a person is in their mid-20s. Early marijuana use can cause issues with memory, the ability to learn and problem solve, and also alter one’s mood and perception. Additionally, marijuana use can increase the risk for anxiety and depression among other mental health issues.
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