Youth Health and Marijuana
Youth Perspectives on
In a series of listening sessions, community partners talked with over 200 youth and young adults on their perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs around youth marijuana use. This webinar discusses findings and our team's next steps.
The King County Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program (KC-YMPEP) developed a five-year strategic plan to guide youth marijuana prevention efforts. This work is supported by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) via the Dedicated Marijuana Account and activities are directed by DOH's Regional Implementation Guide. KC-YMPEP is led by the King County Departments of Public Health and Community & Human Services and advised by community partners.
Youth marijuana use is a problem in King County
Youth in King County live in an environment of retail marijuana and are combatting multiple risk factors and complexities. Although use rates are trending down, fewer students perceive regular marijuana use to be harmful. In addition, there are disparities in rates of use by race, place and sexual orientation.
There is also a lack of clear, consistent and available educational materials. Evidence and research are emerging, but the science is not settled and messages are often conflicting and confusing. KC-YMPEP will continue to collect, analyze and report out findings to continue to increase awareness and motivation to tackle the problem of underage marijuana use in King County.
KC-YMPEP seeks to reduce 10th grade marijuana use rates by:
- Increasing regional partnership, coordination and capacity;
- Developing an evidence base to inform current and ongoing efforts;
- Providing accessible educational information for youth and adults who influence them;
- Promoting youth leadership, and
- Supporting policies and procedures that keep kids in school and provide them with tools and resources to stay healthy.
KC-YMPEP applies the guiding principle of targeted universalism and focuses on the people and places where needs are greatest to ensure that decisions, policies and practices produce gains for all. Based on analysis of the Healthy Youth Survey and qualitative efforts, the communities of greatest need in King County include:
- Youth who identify as LGBTQ,
- Youth of color,
- Youth who reside in Seattle and South Seattle and
- Youth with multiple risk factors indicative of marijuana use; specifically, those who report using other substances, having close friends or household members who use marijuana, are at academic risk, are bullied and / or have easy access to marijuana.
Community partners provide strategic guidance and participate in activities
A 15-member Regional Network provided input to this plan and will continue to provide guidance for planning and implementation. Regional Network members represent the sectors, regions and priority populations in King County. KC-YMPEP will work with these and other community partners to implement activities.
For more information about KC-YMPEP, contact Lindsey Greto at firstname.lastname@example.org
Statewide campaigns from the Washington Department of Health
- You Can: focused on youth
- Know this about Cannabis: focused on adults
- Start Talking Now: focused on influential adults
- 5 things to know about marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding
Campaign Toolkits: the Washington Department of Health provides social press kits for each of their campaigns. The toolkits are password protected—contact Lindsey.Greto@kingcounty.gov for access.
Purpose: To support King County youth to adopt healthy beliefs and behaviors that promote each to achieve their personal best.
The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) is a coordinated group of youth leaders and adult facilitators who work to change favorable youth attitudes toward underage marijuana use. The YLI will work on changing favorable attitudes by increasing resilience planning in and amongst youth, building and strengthening leadership and communication skills with YLI participants, and empowering YLI participants to continually shape planning and implementation of YLI program initiatives.
For more information about this work or to get involved, contact Erin James at Erin.James@kingcounty.gov
In 2017, youth leaders developed a series of public service announcements to explain why youth marijuana use is concerning. View the videos to hear from the youth, in their own words, below.
Steer Clear of underage marijuana use
Youth—in their own words
Don't ride with a marijuana impaired driver
With King County data
Don't let marijuana
get in the way of your dreams
Don't ride with a marijuana impaired driver
- Marijuana and Public Health, CDC
- A parent's guide to preventing underage marijuana use
When it comes to protecting your child's health, it’s important to remember your power as a parent. By knowing the facts, and using proven prevention strategies, you can help your child avoid using marijuana, alcohol, other drugs, and other risky behaviors.
This guide is available in PDF format in multiple languages and in hard copy format for organizations serving King County, WA residents. completing an order form in full.
For other counties or states, submit a request by email to the ADAI Clearinghouse at email@example.com.
Past trainings and webinars
- King County webinar: Youth perspectives on marijuana use
- Presentation slides: Washington Department of Health
- Resource guide
Marijuana and E-Cigarettes: facts teens can use to make healthy choices
- King County webinar: Youth marijuana use in King County
- King County training: Navigating marijuana data in a world of alternative facts
Data and communication resources
- Presentation slides: Washington State Liquor & Cannabis Board
Implementing Marijuana Regulation in Washington State: A 2016 Updates
- Presentation slides: Washington Attorney General’s Office
Tobacco 21: Raising the Legal Sales Age
- Presentation slides: Issaquah Schools Foundation & Influence the Choice
Advocacy Tips: Successful Advocacy in Ten Easy Steps
- Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America
The Seven Strategies for Community Change
- King County training: Applying an equity lens to youth marijuana prevention and education
Presentation slides: Equity 101 and Racial Justice
Participant Guide: Multicultural Guidelines
- Youth engagement presentation: Scott Backovich
Resource guide: Monday Momentum: from in-class activities to on-campus movements
The King County Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program (KC-YMPEP) is a regional effort led by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the King County Department of Community and Human Services, with funding support from the Washington State Department of Health's Dedicated Marijuana Account.
We work with communities, partners, and priority populations to reduce marijuana initiation among King County youth by ensuring that all youth have the information and tools they need to make healthy decisions about marijuana. This page is designed to strengthen efforts by providing best practices, resources, and locally relevant information for youth marijuana prevention and education.
Lindsey Greto, Program ManagerEmail: Lindsey.Greto@kingcounty.gov
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