Oregon launches marijuana prevention program for Youth

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on July 08, 2016.

Aiming to prevent underage use of marijuana by young people ages 12 to 20 in the state, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) launched a pilot program -- “Stay True to You” on Wednesday.  The campaign, which includes print ads, posters, social media, micro-website, videos and audio spots, is an attempt to raise awareness about the health effects of marijuana use among the young people.

As many as twenty-eight focus groups were conducted in Portland, Bend, Medford and Pendleton featuring 260 youth to make the campaign success. Participants from the African American, Asian and Pacific Islander, white, American Indian or Alaskan native and Latino communities were included.

According to a study of the OHA, regular recreational marijuana use by adolescents and young adults is associated with impaired learning and memory as well as low academic achievement. The state health agency found in a survey last year that 9 percent of Oregon eighth-graders and 19 percent of 11th-graders had reported using marijuana in the past month.

"Brain development is not complete until your 20s," said Kati Moseley, a policy specialist with the OHA. "For the best chance to reach your full potential, you should not use marijuana to get high while you are young." She added.

Notably, Oregon allows anyone 21 and older to possess marijuana and grow the plant in their backyard. The Oregon Legislature has passed HB 4014 and SB 1597, which provide OHA with $3.97 million to develop, pilot and evaluate a youth marijuana use prevention campaign in the state.

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