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TheLevisaLazer.com - Health

Statewide Smoke-free Legislation Passes House Health and Welfare Committee;
 

A STATEMENT FROM SMOKE-FREE KENTUCKY COALITION

 

House Bill 173 (HB 173), a bill that would make all of Kentucky’s indoor workplaces and public places smoke-free, has cleared its first legislative hurdle. With 10 votes in favor and 3members voting no, the House Health and Welfare Committee overwhelmingly passed the bill today and will be sent to the full House for consideration.

“Passing for the fourth time in this House committee, and with a companion bill in the Senate, we expect a comprehensive, statewide law to pass this year,” said bill sponsor Representative Susan Westrom (D-Lexington). “For more than 50 years, legislators and the public have been educated and warned about the dangers of tobacco-use. The time has come to make all Kentucky workplaces and public places smoke-free.” Westrom stated that Kentucky’s smoking rates are the highest in the country, and since many people in the Commonwealth don’t live in smoke-free communities, they are exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke on a daily basis. “All Kentuckians have the right to breathe clean air. People should not have to risk their health to earn a paycheck,” added Westrom.

Representative Julie Adams (R-Louisville), the bill’s lead co-sponsor, said. “We can’t afford to continue allowing smoking in the workplace. It hurts productivity, increases health care costs and makes us less attractive to new business,” she said. Adams championed a local smoke-free law as a member of the Louisville Metro Council which is among 22 other Kentucky communities that have already gained the benefits from placing smoke-free policies.

With the passage of HB 173, Kentucky will join 24 other states and 22 Kentucky communities in making all workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free.

A recent poll shows that 65 percent of registered voters support comprehensive, statewide smoke- free legislation. Support is strong across political parties and regions of the state. More than 300 of those supporters will gather in Frankfort next Wednesday, February 12 to encourage their elected officials to pass HB 173 and SB 117 (filed by Senator Julie Denton (R-Louisville) earlier this week.).

The Smoke-Free Kentucky coalition includes thousands of individuals and over 300 businesses, community groups and health organizations working to protect everyone's right to breathe clean indoor air by passing a strong, statewide smoke-free law. For more information, please visit www.smokefreekentucky.org or www.facebook.com/Smoke-free-Kentucky-Take-Action.


40 year anniversary

Lawrence County Health Department wishes WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants and Children) a Happy 40th Anniversary.  We congratulate all the dedicated staff who provide nutrition education and nutritious foods to WIC participants.  WIC helps ensure healthy pregnancies and a great start to life for infants and young children.  The Lawrence County Health Department is fully committed to the WIC program and the participants.
 

ABOUT WIC
 

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a national public health nutrition program under the USDA providing nutrition education, nutritious foods, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum, infants, and children up to age 5.  WIC clinics provide:

Nutrition education
Breastfeeding promotion & support
Healthy foods
Screenings and referrals for healthcare and social services

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN WIC?

WIC is for low-income pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk.

Low-income: Applicants must have income at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines, or be enrolled in TANF, SNAP, or Medicaid.

Nutrition risk: Applicants are screened by health professionals for 1) Medically-based risks such as anemia, underweight, smoking, maternal age, history of pregnancy complications, or poor pregnancy outcomes and 2) diet-based risks such as not consuming the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended amount of protein or iron in their diet.

WHAT ARE WIC-APPROVED FOODS?

WIC provides certain healthy foods to supplement the dietary needs of participants to ensure good health and development. See a list of WIC Foods, allowable alternatives, and the key nutrients they provide.

HOW IS WIC FUNDED?

WIC is a public health nutrition program under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is a domestic discretionary program funded annually through the U.S. Senate and House Appropriations Committee. The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) drafts WIC’s annual budget proposal for the Federal fiscal year (Oct 1-Sept 30). Through the funding process Congress determines the level of funding that the Program will receive each year. Once the appropriation passes Congress and is signed into law, grants are provided to each state, and administered at the local level by county and city health centers, or private nonprofits.

WHAT WIC ARE HEALTH OUTCOMES?

Numerous studies show that WIC is effective and helps:

  • Reduce premature births
  • Reduce low and very low birth-weight babies
  • Reduce fetal and infant deaths
  • Reduce the incidence of low-iron anemia
  • Increase access to prenatal care earlier in pregnancy
  • Increase pregnant women’s consumption of key nutrients such as iron, protein, calcium, and Vitamins A and C
  • Increase immunization rates
  • Improve diet quality
  • Increase access to regular health care

 

WHAT IS WIC'S HISTORY?

  • 1972: WIC was piloted as a supplemental food program aimed at improving the health of pregnant mothers, infants and children in response to growing concern over malnutrition among many low income mothers and young children.
  • 1974: The first WIC site opened in Pineville, Kentucky in January.
  • 1974: WIC was operating in 45 States.
  • 1975: WIC was established as a permanent Program by legislation.
  • 1975: Eligibility was extended to non-breastfeeding women (up to 6 months postpartum) and children up to age 5. WIC had initially provided supplemental foods to children up to age 4 and to breast-feeding postpartum mothers.
  • 1978: Legislation introduced new elements into the Program:
  • Nutrition education must be provided.
  • The supplemental foods should contain nutrients found lacking in the target population, and have relatively low levels of fat, sugar, and salt.
  • States needed to coordinate referrals to social services including immunization, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, child abuse counseling, and family planning.
  • 1992: WIC introduced an enhanced food package for exclusively breastfeeding mothers to further promote breastfeeding.
  • 1997: USDA implemented Loving Support Makes Breastfeeding Work campaign to increase breastfeeding rates among WIC mothers and improve public support of breastfeeding.
  • 2004: The Breastfeeding Peer Counselor initiative was launched: Women with breastfeeding experience and training (often past WIC participants) became counselors to support other women learning to breastfeed.
  • 2009: Based on Institute of Medicine recommendations, USDA introduced a new food package with foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for American and established dietary recommendations for infants and children over two years of age. Fruits, vegetables, and culturally sensitive substitutes for WIC foods are now part of the WIC food package. In addition, mothers who exclusively breastfeed receive more healthy foods with the enhanced WIC food package for exclusively breastfeeding mothers.

 

To learn more about WIC or to schedule an appointment, call the Lawrence County Health Department at 606-638-4389.

Sixty percent of 12th graders do not view regular marijuana use as harmful

NIH’s 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey shows high rates of marijuana use; decreases in abuse of pain relievers and synthetic drugs


The percentage of high-schoolers who see great risk from being regular marijuana users has dropped dramatically in the past 10 years, according to this year’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which measures drug use and attitudes among the nation’s eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-graders. The change in attitudes is reflected in continued high rates of marijuana use in all three grades and could predict higher use in future years, based upon past MTF data (PDF - 204KB) showing an association between softening attitudes and increased use of marijuana.


The survey reports that 39.5 percent of 12th graders view regular marijuana use as harmful, down from last year’s rate of 44.1 percent, and considerably lower than rates from the last two decades.

The rates of marijuana use have also shown significant changes in the past two decades, with 6.5 percent of seniors smoking marijuana daily compared to 6 percent in 2003 and 2.4 percent in 1993.

“This is not just an issue of increased daily use,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “It is important to remember that over the past two decades, levels of THC — the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — have gone up a great deal, from 3.75 percent in 1995 to an average of 15 percent in today’s marijuana cigarettes. Daily use today can have stronger effects on a developing teen brain than it did 10 or 20 years ago.”

Nearly 23 percent of seniors say they smoked marijuana in the month prior to the survey, and just over 36 percent say they smoked it during the past yearFor 10th graders, 4 percent say they use marijuana daily, with 18 percent reporting past month use and 29.8 percent reporting use in the previous year. More than 12 percent of eighth graders say they used marijuana in the past year.

“We should be extremely concerned that 12 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds are using marijuana,” Volkow added. “The children whose experimentation leads to regular use are setting themselves up for declines in IQ and diminished ability for success in life.”

“These increases in marijuana use over the past few years are a serious setback in our nation’s efforts to raise a healthy generation of young people,” said Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy. “Teens deserve to grow up in an environment where they are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and drug use never factors into that equation. Today’s news demands that all of us recommit to bolstering the vital role prevention and involved parenting play in keeping young people safe, strong, and ready to succeed.”

There is mixed news regarding abuse of prescription medications. The survey shows continued abuse of Adderall, commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with 7.4 percent of seniors reporting taking it for non-medical reasons in the past year. However, only 2.3 percent of seniors report abuse of Ritalin, another ADHD medication. Abuse of the pain reliever Vicodin has shown a marked decrease in the last 10 years, now measured at 5.3 percent for high school seniors, compared to 10.5 percent in 2003. In addition, 5 percent of seniors report abuse of cough products containing dextromethorphan, down from 6.9 percent in 2006, the first year it was measured by the survey.

Graph showing perceived harm from marijuana
Percentage who think regular marijuana use is harmful
There are some other bright spots in this year’s survey. Past year use of K2 or Spice, sometimes called synthetic marijuana, dropped to 7.9 percent among high school seniors from 11.3 percent last year. While many of the ingredients in synthetic cannabinoids have been banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Spice manufacturers have attempted to substitute other chemicals in their mixtures, and many young people continue to experience toxic reactions to these substances.

The use of substances commonly known as bath salts is at or under 1 percent in all three grades. Bath salts refers to an emerging family of drugs containing one or more synthetic chemicals related to cathinone, an amphetamine-like stimulant found naturally in the khat plant. Use of the hallucinogenic herb salvia is declining, with 3.4 percent of 12th-graders reporting past year use, compared to 5.9 percent in 2011 and 4.4 percent last year.

The past year use of inhalants in all three grades has declined. Among eighth-graders, the 2013 rate is at 5.2 percent, compared to 8.7 percent 10 years ago and 11.0 percent 20 years ago. Inhalants are among the abused substances that have higher rates of use by the younger students in the survey. Four percent of seniors report use of Ecstasy (MDMA) in the previous year, still considerably lower than 2001, when use peaked at 9.2 percent.

For cocaine and heroin, while there was no significant change from the 2012 rates, there continues to be a gradual decline in use, with both drugs at historic lows in all three grades. The 2013 rate for high school seniors for past year cocaine use is 2.6 percent, compared to a peak of 6.2 percent in 1999. Similarly, the reported use of heroin by 12th-graders is 0.6 percent this year, compared to a peak of 1.5 percent in 2000.

Cigarettesmoking continues to decline as well. For the first time, the percentage of students in all three grades combined who say they smoked in the past month is below 10 percent (9.6 percent) compared to 16.7 percent 10 years ago and 24.7 percent in 1993. Daily smoking of cigarettes is now at 8.5 percent for 12th-graders, 4.4 percent for 10th-graders, and 1.8 percent for eighth-graders. However, 21.4 percent of seniors report smoking tobacco with a hookah in the past year, more than 3 percent above the rate teens reported in 2012 (18.3 percent).

“While cigarette use among youth continues to decline, such progress is threatened by use of other tobacco products such as hookahs,” said Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., assistant secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We must remain vigilant in protecting kids against both old and new agents that promote addiction.”

Theuse of alcohol by teens continues its steady decline. For 12th-graders, alcohol use peaked in 1997, with more than half (52.7 percent) reporting drinking alcohol in the past month. Only 39.2 percent of seniors reported past month use this year. An indicator of binge drinking (defined in the survey as five or more drinks in a row at least once in the past two weeks) stayed the same as last year for eighth-graders (5.1 percent) but dropped considerably for 10th-graders (to 13.7 percent from 15.6 percent in 2012.) The 2013 binge drinking rate for 12th-graders is 22.1 percent.

In 2012, the survey added questions about where students get marijuana. Looking at the last two years combined, 34 percent of marijuana-using 12th-graders living in states with medical marijuana laws say that one of the ways they obtain the drug is through someone else’s medical marijuana prescription. In addition, more than 6 percent say they get it with their own prescription. The team of investigators who conduct the survey will continue to explore the link between state laws and marijuana’s accessibility to teens.

Overall, 41,675 students from 389 public and private schools participated in this year's Monitoring the Future survey. Since 1975, the survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes in 12th–graders nationwide. Eighth- and 10th-graders were added to the survey in 1991. Survey participants generally report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month. Questions are also asked about daily cigarette and marijuana use. NIDA has provided funding for the survey since its inception by a team of investigators at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, led by Dr. Lloyd Johnston. MTF is funded under grant number DA001411. Additional information on the MTF Survey, as well as comments from Dr. Volkow, can be found at http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/MTF.html.

MTF is one of three major surveys sponsored by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services that provide data on substance use among youth. The others are the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The MTF website is: http://www.monitoringthefuture.org External Web Site Policy. Follow Monitoring the Future 2013 news on Twitter at @NIDANews, or join the conversation by using: #MTF2013. Additional survey results can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/news External Web Site Policy or http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp External Web Site Policy. Information on all of the surveyed drugs can be found on NIDA's website: http://www.drugabuse.gov.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is the primary source of statistical information on substance use in the U.S. population 12 years of age and older. More information is available at: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/NSDUH.aspx External Web Site Policy.

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey, part of HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, is a school–based survey that collects data from students in grades nine–12. The survey includes questions on a wide variety of health–related risk behaviors, including substance abuse. More information is available at http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm External Web Site Policy.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug abuse and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy and improve practice. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs of abuse and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at http://www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or fax or email requests to 240-645-0227 or drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at http://drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at http://drugabuse.gov/mediaguide, and its new easy-to-read website can be found at http://www.easyread.drugabuse.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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