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Students Taking on Prevention – Kick Butts Day

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Kick Butts Day is a student effort devoted to standing up and speaking up against the influences of Big Tobacco. This Monday and Tuesday, Students Taking on Prevention (STOP) presented a tobacco “mad science fair” at Carson Valley Middle School and at Pau Wa Lu Middle School respectively. Designed by STOP participants, the event educates and encourages teens to never use tobacco products.

STOP presenters displayed containers for toilet bowl cleaner, rat poison, nail polish remover, gas treatment and moth balls and explained how each item is an ingredient in tobacco products. STOP also shared a chewing tobacco associated ‘gross mouth’ recreated with cancers, tooth loss and gingivitis and presented a pint-size jar of tar representing tar deposits in the lungs after one year of smoking a daily pack of cigarettes.

“It’s interesting and gross at the same time,” a student at Pau Wa Lu Middle School noted about the mad science fair. Like all others who participated in the event, the student felt repulsed by the consequences of using any tobacco products. Another student trying to quit smoking reached out for advice.

We encourage anyone who is trying to break free from tobacco to take advantage of the Nevada Tobacco User’s Quitline that provides FREE professional help. Get started over phone or text. Call 1-800-764-8669 or text “QUIT” to 47848.


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New Latina women’s group improves community

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A new women’s group seeks to engage, connect, empower and develop the emotional wellness of Latino women within our community. Fuerza Latina, established through Douglas County Social Services, is designed to bridge the gap between Latino residents and community connections and engagement. The group has grown to over 30 women in two months.


Neyzer Torres, Bilingual Coordinator for the Partnership of Community Resources, facilitates Fuerza Latina and leads the women in working together to select activities for the group to participate in together. By doing so, she explains that it creates an environment by which they are empowered and their voices valued; in turn, the women take ownership of the group’s mission to grow individually, as a group and as active members of the Douglas County community. Having moved to the area from Colombia, South America in 1994 without speaking English, Neyzer relates well to the challenges that the women in her group face every day.

“Isolation is one of the biggest things,” Neyzer describes, “you get used to the people you meet every day and [in Latin countries] people are always outside. Here in Douglas, it’s a small town and you don’t see a lot of people outside their houses. If you don’t have an American family here, it’s harder to make connections.”











While it’s clear that speaking English, and speaking it well, is a continuing barrier in communication and connection, resources are available to learn English and many women in the group have taken courses.  Moreover, Neyzer expands on how disconnect from community engagement have suppressed exceptional leadership skills she sees in each woman. She hopes that Fuerza Latina will encourage each of their individual talents to transpire. “The group is still very new. We still have to see what direction it will go.”

Fuerza Latina will be giving back to the community by helping prepare the Heritage Park Gardens this month for upcoming community use.


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Let’s Help You Quit Smoking in 2016

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Every January 1, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the nearly 7 in 10 U.S. smokers who want to quit, why not make a resolution to get started? Smoking is still the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Quitting now can cut your risk for diseases caused by smoking and leave you feeling stronger and healthier.


Tiffany, a former cigarette smoker, was 16 when her mother—also a smoker—died of lung cancer. Despite her loss, Tiffany started smoking. She finally decided to quit when her daughter Jaelin turned 16 because she could not bear the thought of missing out on any part of Jaelin’s life, like her own mother did. Her effort to quit began with setting a specific date to quit smoking and reaching out to family and friends for support. In the video “Tiffany’s Decision” from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) campaign, she talks about the “aha” moment that sent her on a different, healthier path for her own life.

Most smokers who want to quit try several times before they succeed, but you can take steps that can improve your chances of quitting for good.


Where to start: Develop a Quit Plan

Planning ahead is a major part of successfully quitting smoking. Click here to start an effective quit plan.

  • Picking a quit date. Starting the new year smokefree is a great idea.
  • Letting loved ones know you’re quitting so they can support you.
  • Listing your reasons to quit smoking. See the “Smoking and Diabetes” ad featuring Bill—another former smoker who participated in the Tips campaign—for advice on finding your reasons to quit.
  • Figuring out what triggers make you want to smoke so you can avoid them, especially during the early days.
  • Having places you can turn to for help right away, including the free resources listed below.


Use Free, Effective Resources

There are many free resources for people trying to quit smoking:

  • 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569) (for Spanish speakers). This free service offers a lot of resources, including coaching, help with making a quit plan, educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.
  • Smokefree TXT. This free 24/7 texting program sends encouragement, advice, and tips to help smokers quit smoking for good. To get started, just text QUIT to 47848, answer a few questions, and you’ll start receiving messages.
  • Online help. This Tips From Former Smokers web page provides helpful online quit resources.
  • Smokefree App. The QuitGuide is a free app that tracks cravings, moods, slips, and smokefree progress to help you understand your smoking patterns and build the skills needed to become and stay smokefree.

Talk to your health care provider about medicines that may help you quit smoking.


Find a Medication That’s Right for You

Because cigarettes contain nicotine, a powerfully addictive drug, when you first quit, your body may feel uncomfortable until it adjusts. This is known as withdrawal, and there are medications that can help lessen this feeling and the urge to smoke. Studies show that smokers who use medicine to help control cravings, along with coaching from a quitline, in a group, or from a counselor, are much more likely to succeed than those who go it alone. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider before using any medications if you:

  • Are pregnant or nursing
  • Have a serious medical condition
  • Are currently using other medications
  • Are younger than 18

Many options are available if you are considering using medications to help you quit smoking. The most common smoking medications are nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), which give your body a little of the nicotine that it craves without the harmful chemicals found in burning cigarettes. Examples of Food and Drug Administration-approved NRTs that you can buy over the counter include:

  • Nicotine patches
  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine lozenges

NRTs that need a prescription include nicotine inhalers and nasal spray. Your doctor can also prescribe medication that does not contain nicotine (such as bupropion or varenicline) to help you quit smoking completely.

As the start of a new year approaches, isn’t now the perfect time to quit smoking? You can start 2016 as a healthier you by making a quit plan, using free resources, and finding a smoking medication that’s right for you. Even if you don’t smoke yourself, you can use this article to help a friend or family member become smokefree in 2016!


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Marijuana Use Remains Strong Despite Drop In Other Drug Use

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U.S. Youth Drug Survey: Marijuana Use Remains Strong Despite Drop In Other Drug Use; Survey Design Misses Kids Not In School


December 16, 2015
12:01 a.m.

Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister
+1 (415) 680-3993

[WASHINGTON, DC] – The nation’s annual school survey of drug use, Monitoring the Future (MTF), shows marijuana use among adolescents, including heavy marijuana use, remaining stubbornly high and significantly higher than in 2008 — despite reductions across the board among the other three substances kids use most.

“Why is marijuana use not dropping like the use of other substances? The answer is likely the dramatic rise in marijuana commercialization and industrialization,” said Dr. Kevin A. Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor who serves now as President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “It may also be why daily marijuana use is at near-record levels. And this doesn’t even include teens not going to school.”

Moreover, this year’s survey may underestimate minors’ marijuana use. Of most concern is its exclusive focus on use of “marijuana/hashish.” The term is not well-defined given the explosion of novel marijuana products. The survey showed that kids in “medical marijuana” states use far more edible products than kids not in those states.

That narrow focus may also exclude highly concentrated products such as butane hash oil (BTO), waxes, and resins (“shatter”), which have also gained in popularity. It therefore remains unclear whether survey respondents identified use of all of the above products as “marijuana/hashish” use.

The survey also excludes high school dropouts, who are more likely to use marijuana than their peers.

“This year’s survey shows how, in an era of falling overall drug, cigarette, and alcohol use — an achievement made possible by years of effort and millions of dollars of public funding — marijuana use among kids remains strong,” remarked Dr. Sabet.

“We should look no further than the powerful marijuana industry that is promoting marijuana use and selling products like marijuana sodas and gummi bears,” Sabet added. “It has counteracted the hard work and advances made by drug prevention advocates, all in favor of financial gain.”

“Furthermore, the survey shows that more kids use edibles in ‘medical marijuana states’ and that a third of high school seniors in those states get their marijuana from a friend’s marijuana recommendation. The survey also excludes dropouts, who use at a higher rate.”

According to statements from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the American Psychiatric Association, marijuana use, especially among youth, should be avoided, and legalization efforts opposed.

“Medical research is very clear that marijuana is both addictive and harmful,” noted Dr. Stu Gitlow, immediate past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. “One in six adolescents that use marijuana develop an addiction, and use is associated with lower IQ, lower grades, and higher dropout rates in that same population. It is therefore of significant concern that this year’s study may actually underreport marijuana use and downplay its impact.”

Meanwhile, the toll of legalized marijuana continues to climb in Colorado and Washington. For example, a 2015 report indicated that the percentage of DUIs linked to marijuana use in Washington state has almost doubled since legalization, from 18.6% in 2012 to 33% in early 2015. That same report indicated that a full 85% of drivers involved in fatal accidents in Washington tested positive for recent marijuana use. Similarly, marijuana poisonings in Colorado rose 147% from legalization in 2012 to 2014, and was up 52% in Washington during that same timeframe.

“Additionally, a powerful marijuana industry lobby has emerged that sued Colorado to stop restrictions on advertising to protect children, and is now pushing back against municipal regulations in Oregon to keep pot stores away from schools and day care facilities,” commented Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President. “Like other addictive industries, marijuana needs to create and maintain heavy users to maximize revenues. It is taking a page from Big Tobacco’s playbook, and expect to see more of the same as big companies put their bottom line before public health.”

For more information about marijuana use and its effects, see


About SAM
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in 31 states.

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STOP youth represented Nevada in National Truth Summit

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Five Douglas High youth activists involved in Partnership of Community Resources’ program Students Taking on Prevention recently returned from a national youth activism summit in Orlando, Florida. Sophomores Brittnei Rollins, Thomas Rao, Madison Schirlls, Marissa Flanders and Hannah Sizelove represented Nevada as advocates to prevent youth under 18 from using tobacco.

stop with ritney

Left to right: Madison, Brittnei, Hannah, Thomas, Marissa and Ritney Castine from Truth Iniative.

“Many of my friends smoke and most of my family have died from tobacco and alcohol use,” Brittnei explains. “I feel that it is important to reduce risks. Youth under 18 are more likely to get addicted.”

The activism summit was organized by the Truth Initiative, a Washington DC-based foundation that leads the Truth campaign to empower the current generation of youth to end smoking. The summit consisted of media training, action planning and various inspirational speakers. “We learned that when you are going to speak to a large group of people, you need to create that personal connection in order to communicate effectively,” the youth describe their experience. “We want our peers to discover their passions and realize that they can achieve more without the negative effects of tobacco and drug use.”

Students Taking on Prevention (STOP) provides an opportunity for young people to make a difference in our community through tobacco, alcohol, drug, suicide and teen pregnancy prevention. STOP is currently recruiting 9th-12th grade students at Douglas High School to be trained this fall.

For more info visit


Story Featured on: Carson Valley Times and The Record Courier 9/23/2015

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h Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) report shows significant increases in traffic fatalities, child poison control exposures, hospitalizations, youth use, amongst other alarming data, detailing how Colorado’s experiment with retail marijuana regulation is a public health and safety failure.

DENVER, CO – The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) has released its updated report, “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado The Impact, Volume 3,” which outlines the most alarming data to date, demonstrating how Colorado marijuana legalization policies have harmed public safety and health.

Highlights from the report show serious changes since 2014, when retail marijuana businesses began operating in Colorado, including:

Traffic deaths: A 32 percent increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths in just one year from 2013

Driving under the influence: Toxicology reports with positive marijuana results of active THC for primarily driving under the influence have increased 45 percent

Marijuana use by children: Colorado youth usage (ages 12 to 17) ranks 56 percent higher than the national average

ER visits:A 29 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits

Hospitalizations: A 38 percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations

Poison control:Marijuana-only related exposures increased 72 percent in only one year

More marijuana trafficking: The yearly average interdiction seizures of Colorado marijuana increased another 34 percent.

“This report serves as a wake-up call for all Coloradans,” said Bob Doyle, chair of Colorado SAM. “It is time to stop yielding to Big Marijuana special interests and put health and safety ahead of marijuana commercialization.”

“For too long, the marijuana industry has been telling Americans that ‘everything’s fine’ in Colorado. This data-driven report tells a very different story,” said Kevin Sabet, President of SAM and an assistant professor at the University of Florida.

Jo McGuire, co-chair of Colorado SAM added, “We are prepared to engage Colorado community members in conversations that will send strong messages to our state leaders that these outcomes are unacceptable and legalization clearly does not work.”

In August 2015, poll results showed that popularity for marijuana legalization amongst Coloradans is losing support over concerns of traffic problems, youth usage, child exposures and the proliferation of edible products.


About SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana)

SAM is a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens who want to move beyond simplistic discussions of “incarceration versus legalization” when discussing marijuana use and instead focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonizes users nor legalizes the drug. SAM supports a treatment, health-first marijuana policy.

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Myth vs Fact

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The Future of E-cigarette Regulation in Nevada

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A proposed tax hike on cigarettes and tobacco products may categorize e-cigarettes under it, and health officials call for action regarding the regulation of  the subject matter.

We recorded News 88.9 KNPR interview with Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of Southern Nevada Health District, and Brian Madera representing the Nevada Vaping Association.

You can listen to it here online.

KNPR, February 3, 2015 approx. 9:30 AM

Can’t see the play button? Click this audio link:  knpr e-cigarettes iser and madera



1.       E-cigarette restrictions of sales to minor

          Currently, there are no restrictions of sale. Both parties expressed banning sale to minors.

2.       Secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes

           In 2006, The Nevada Clean Air Act was passed which banned cigarette smoke in most public places and indoor places of employment (learn more about it here). Dr. Iser believes that vapor should be blanketed under this prohibition.

           A study suggests respiratory infections caused by e-cigarette vapors. Read the article here.

3.       Using e-cigarette as safer alternative or cessation

          Mr. Madera acknowledged that some people use e-cigarettes as a safer alternative; however, he stated that e-cigarette should not be treated as a tobacco cessation tool until further research comes out. Meanwhile, Dr. Iser stated that the point to drive home is neither tobacco nor vaping is safe. His biggest concern is the intended use of e-cigarettes to deliver nicotine to users. “Nicotine is a toxin and it can be deadly,” he added. He was also concerned about several other chemicals and toxins found in e-cigarettes that can be harmful to human health like heavy metals, such as Cadmium, and Formaldehyde—a cancer causing chemical used to preserve dead bodies that is found both in vapors and tobacco. He suggested sticking to over the counter and prescription medication that have scientific backing to help quit from tobacco.


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150 Seats open at Marijuana Summit, Reno

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This is a FREE event! We encourage anyone who works in education, medicine, treatment, law enforcement, justice, and interested community members to sign up.

Seats are limited.

Marijuana Summit January 2015_1

Upcoming Events

  1. Prescription Drug Round-up

    October 28 @ 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM