PRESENTERS …Fayette CDC member Karen King poses with HC3 presenters Beth Thompson, Josie Marchena, and Robin Wilson after youth substance abuse presentations. (PHOTO BY ANNA WOZNIAK, STAFF)
By: Anna Wozniak
“I’ve never seen such a group of dedicated and committed people,” Beth Thomas, who works for the Fulton County Health Department heading Community Education and Engagement, remarked during the opening of the Monday January 23rd, Fayette CDC sponsored meeting.
The presentations, which began at 7:03 p.m., were focused on conversation around youth substance abuse within Fulton County.
A major part of this conversation is the program that is HC3, or Healthy Choices Caring Communities.
HC3, founded in 2007 to address concerns of binge drinking within Fulton County, has garnered over ten years’ worth of Federal funding.
The allocation of this funding served to combat the underage use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, pharmaceuticals, and other illicit substances.
After wishing the community to express their observations of the consequences of underage drug use, Thomas then expanded on how the underage use of vaping products has been amplified, with cases starting at the elementary level.
Josie Marchena, who is the Subject Matter Expert on Vaping, detailed the different variations of vapes that are available.
Marchena emphasized that the FDA is not responsible for regulating the packaging of vaping products, resulting in inaccuracies relating to nicotine content and chemical additives.
This lack of regulation has led to the prevalence of what Marchena defined as “pop-corn lung,” or EVALI (E-cigarette, or Vaping Product, Use Associated Lung Injury).
EVALI occurs because the chemical additive diacetyl crystallizes air sacs in the lungs, coating them and forcing them to burst.
Diacetyl was previously known for causing injury to popcorn factory workers, wherein it was found that the vapor of the buttery flavoring was harmful when inhaled.
Marchena stressed that vaping is starting to be seen younger and younger, with tempting flavors enticing children who do not understand how addictive nicotine is.
Marchena is available to give educational presentations on the dangers of underage substance abuse Mondays and Fridays, and urges that these presentations be started younger than they have been currently.
Robin Wilson, Media and Cessation Expert, described how HC3 is committed to providing resources to people who want to quit using nicotine products and other substances.
Wilson stressed the importance of The Baby & Me – Tobacco Free Program, which is coordinated by Marchena.
This program incentivizes mothers who are at or before 36 weeks gestation to quit using tobacco products by providing them with free counseling services and baby product vouchers.
Both parents are encouraged to participate in this program, and for more information please contact
Marchena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson also explained the specificity of two different resources: the Ohio Quitline and My Life My Quit.
The Ohio Quitline is geared towards adults who are 18+ years of age. They provide resources to help nicotine cessation, and in some cases can provide nicotine replacement therapy products. To reach the Ohio Quitline call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
My Life My Quit is geared more towards youths, and features consultation through text. Youths seeking to contact My Life My Quit should text “4hope“ to 741-741.
In closing, Thompson urged that parents and community members learn how to start conversations with youth about substance abuse, and to start these conversations young.
“Listen more than you talk” is a method of asking youths what they think and feel about substance use, and listening to what they say.
Focus on what harm vaping and smoking is causing to youths right now, as it is more effective than referring to future ramifications of smoking and nicotine use.
Thompson asks parents within the community to be good role models, particularly when it comes to substance use.
Part of this is enabling your children to develop their own thought process on how they would like to abstain from substance use, giving them a safe exit plan for if they are confronted with substance use, and being creative with how you introduce your children to what may be an uncomfortable conversation.
For anyone who is interested in attending an educational presentation on substance use, Karen King encourages joining her and Ohio Representative Jim Hoops at 400 East Gamble Street Fayette, Ohio on February 20th at 7 p.m.
There will also be a Community Conversation pertaining to substance use prevention within Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Williams Counties in Archbold, OH at 7:30 a.m.
Registration is required, and if interested please contact Taylor at email@example.com with any questions or visit bit.ly/SubUseBreakfast to register.
Anna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org