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Exclusive Q&A: Marijuana legalization opponent Kevin Sabet shares thoughts

October 2, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Kevin Sabet is in Oregon today and sat down for a one on one interview with The Oregonian.

Exclusive Q&A:     Marijuana legalization opponent Kevin Sabet tells Keizer crowd about pot’s     potency and harms to young people Kevin Sabet, a prominent opponent of marijuana legalization, began a three-day tour of     Oregon Wednesday, delivering a message about pot’s harms. (Noelle     Crombie/The Oregonian)
KEIZER — Kevin Sabet, a prominent voice against marijuana legalization, kicked off a three-day tour     of Oregon on Wednesday, warning of pot’s harms, particularly to young people.

It is Sabet’s second  trip to Oregon this year. He was originally slated to visit 13 communities as part of a marijuana education series, but that effort was scaledback to seven stops after legalization advocates questioned the use of federal grant dollars on what they saw as political events.

Sabet’s message: Marijuana is more potent than ever, persistent pot use among young people can lead to     a significant drop in IQ by midlife, and Americans generally misunderstand the drug’s harms.

He warned of the rise of corporate marijuana targeting young users with infused sweets, candies and other sugary treats. He talked about the popularity of eating marijuana-infused foods and using vaporizer pens, which allow people to get high discreetly.

The audience included law-enforcement officials, drug prevention and treatment experts and others who work with young people. Russ Belville, who hosts a Portland-based radio show on marijuana culture, news and politics, stood outside before the event began, handing out flyers refuting Sabet’s main arguments against marijuana.

Belville said young people who want marijuana don’t have a problem getting it. Legalization won’t lead     to increased youth access to pot, he said.

“The people who will be able to get marijuana under legalization are middle-aged guys like     me,” said Belville, who started his day at Sabet’s Madras  appearance.

Sabet sat down     with The Oregonian Wednesday afternoon before speaking to a gathering of     about 100 people in Keizer. He began the day at event in Madras. His     tour continues Thursday and Friday with stops in Roseburg, Grants Pass, La     Grande, Ontario, and Hood River. (This interview has been edited for length.)Q: What do you want Oregonians to know about marijuana?

Sabet: I am here to educate all Oregonians and really all Americans on the science behind marijuana and what the major medical associations and scientific institutes are saying about a drug that is 10 to 30 times more potent than it was 30 years ago.

There has been a lot of misinformation about marijuana, mainly because people tend to focus on their own experiences or the experiences of others they know. Look, I am not here on a ‘reefer madness’ tour. I am here to talk about the truth, which is most people who try marijuana will not become addicted –just like most drunk drivers wont get into a fatal car crash and most people who don’t wear helmets won’t get into a bicycle crash.

But still the fact is that it happens and at great cost to society, whether it’s in treatment  admissions, health costs, accidents, loss of motivation for young people not realizing their potential. I think it’s something we ought to care about.

I don’t think there has ever been a time when the gap between the public’s understanding about     marijuana and the scientific understanding has been so great.

If people actually went and hung out at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association or the     American Society of Addiction Medicine or the National Alliance on Mental  Illness, they would hear what is the universal message, which is today’s marijuana is highly potent and a cause of concern, especially for young people and we should do everything we can to deter its use. That is not a controversial statement in the corridors of science.

Q: Why aren’t you making one of your stops in Portland?

Sabet: These stops are not about legalization. We have made that very clear. This week is something that has been planned for a very long time, way before we knew the (legalization ballot measure) had been qualified. These are the communities that asked me to speak. I am only coming to the communities     that have asked me.

Q: Who is paying for your trip to Oregon?

Sabet: Various private sources, including law enforcement associations, medical associations, Rotary clubs and other private civic associations.

Q: What do you think  of how legal marijuana has rolled out in Colorado and Washington?

Sabet: I think it sounds a lot better in theory than it plays out in practice. In theory, it sounds  like rainbow and unicorns — tax revenues, getting rid of gangs, and keeping it out of the hands of kids. In reality it means gummy bears and  ’pot tarts’ marketed to 15-year-olds and coupons that allow you to get a one dollar joint if you show your ski pass and more dangerous roads and communities that are all of a sudden in the pocket of special interest marijuana groups.I don’t think that’s what the soccer mom in Littleton thought about when she voted for (Colorado’s)     Amendment 64.

Q: You’ve said you support medical research into cannabis. Do you support reclassifying     marijuana from a Schedule I drug? (The federal government views Schedule I drugs, such as heroin and marijuana, as dangerous and lacking medicinal value.

Sabet: I support rescheduling components of marijuana or medications based on marijuana. That is like saying I support rescheduling morphine but not opium because raw opium is not medicine.

Essentially I think we need to do more research into it. If you are a parent of a child with intractable     epilepsy or you have terminal illness, you should have access to medicinal components of marijuana whether that’s cannabidiol or whatever. I don’t think people should be arrested for using marijuana if they have a bonafide condition. I just think we need to treat it like every other medicine and have a standardized products.

Q: Legalization  advocates say your message is modern-day ‘reefer madness.’ What do you make of how you and your message are portrayed?

Sabet: I think I am  extremely misunderstood and also purposely mischaracterized. It would be a lot better for legalization advocates if I was a modern-day prohibitionist  from the ’20s, saying that everybody should go to prison if they smoke a joint and this is a gateway drug.

That would make their lives easier. They could say, ‘This guy is crazy.’ I didn’t say any of that. I go out of my way to say a couple things. One, I go out of my way to say most people who use marijuana won’t become addicted. Two, most people who use marijuana will not go on to use heroin. And three, that this is not the devil’s weed.

But what I do talk about is what every single medical association talks about, which is the drug is more harmful than it used to be, that we underappreciate its harms because its harms aren’t as immediately apparent as other drugs, that we desperately need to understand the connection between mental illness and learning and if we are supposed to create a race to the top for education and a workforce that can compete on the global marketplace, we should think  twice before allowing ourselves to be duped by another industry, just like the industry we are beginning to put in its place, which is tobacco.

– Noelle Crombie










NL-S SWAT Students preparing for Red Ribbon Week

October 1, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »


NL-S High School SWAT Students are busy preparing for Red Ribbon Week in their School October 27-31, 2014.  The SWAT Team will be doing anti-drug presentations to the 4th graders at Prairie Woods Elementary School during that week.   The SWAT Team is coached by Mrs. Korzendorfer whose is also a teacher in the Middle School.

About the Red Ribbon Campaign

The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign. NFP provides drug awareness by sponsoring the annual National Red Ribbon Celebration. Since its beginning in 1985, the Red Ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America.

Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. When he decided to join the US Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. “I’m only one person”, he told her, “but I want to make a difference.”

On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena’s body was found. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Camarena’s memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena’s memory, the red ribbon.

In 1988, NFP sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children and families. The National Family Partnership (NFP) and its network of individuals and organizations continue to deliver his message of hope to millions of people every year, through the National Red Ribbon Campaign.  For more information, please visit:


October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month!!

by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

In 2011 President Obama issued the first-ever Presidential Proclamation designating October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. The tradition continues in 2014 as parents, youth, schools and community leaders across the country join this month-long observance of the role that substance abuse prevention plays in promoting safe and healthy communities.

ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli Speaks about National Substance Abuse Prevention Month:

View the President’s 2014 National Substance Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation here.

Why do we recognize National Substance Abuse Prevention Month?

Every day, far too many Americans are hurt by alcohol and drug abuse. From diminished achievement in our schools to greater risks in our roads and in our communities, to the heartache of lives cut tragically short, the consequences of substance abuse are profound. Yet, we also know that they are preventable.

Preventing drug use before it begins-particularly among young people-is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences. The best approach to reducing the tremendous toll substance abuse exacts from individuals, families and communities is to prevent the damage before it occurs.

The President’s Drug Control Strategy promotes the expansion of national and community-based programs that reach young people in schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace with tailored information to help them make healthy decisions about their future.  In fact, recent research has concluded that every dollar invested in school—based substance use prevention programs has the potential to save up to $18 in costs related to substance use disorders.

This month we pay tribute to all those working to prevent substance abuse in our communities and rededicate ourselves to building a safer, drug-free America.


Alcohol Blackouts vs. Passing Out

June 13, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Shining a Light on Alcohol Blackouts

Blackout – Amnesia for places a person went or things they did while intoxicated; can involve spotty memory (fragmentary blackout, brownout, or grayout) or large missing chunks of time (en bloc blackout).

Blacking out vs. Passing out – Blacking out from alcohol implies that a person is awake and functioning but unable to create memories for events and actions. Passing out from alcohol implies a person is asleep or unconscious from drinking too much. The two states are quite different.

What does it mean when someone says they were “blackout drunk?” How does a blackout differ from “passing out” after drinking, and what are the possible dangerous effects of drinking enough to blackout?

Blackouts are periods of amnesia during which a person actively engages in behaviors like walking and talking but does not create memories for these events as they transpire. This results in missing periods of time in the person’s autobiographical record. Blacking out is quite different from passing out, which means either falling asleep from excessive drinking or literally drinking oneself unconscious.

All blackouts are not the same and are distinguished by the severity of the amnesia. The most common form of blackout involves spotty memories for events, with islands of memories separated by missing memories in between. This form often is referred to as a fragmentary blackout, a grayout, or a brownout. With this type of blackout, focusing on the islands of memories often helps cue recall for some, but not all, of the missing pieces. Full and complete amnesia often spanning hours  or more is known as an en bloc blackout. With this severe form of blackout, trying to fill in the missing pieces typically is fruitless. The memories were never formed and so no amount of digging will uncover them. They simply don’t exist.

It seems that alcohol produces blackouts by shutting down circuits that involve the hippocampus, a brain area which plays a central role in consolidating memories for what happens in our day-to-day lives. Information coming into the brain from the world around us is processed in various brain areas and then funneled to the hippocampus, which somehow weaves the information together into a running record of facts and events in our lives, a process called consolidation. By interfering with how these memory circuits work, alcohol creates a void in the record-keeping system.

During a blackout, the ability to remember things that happened before the blackout typically is spared. Because of this, even in the midst of a blackout, a person can carry on conversations and even tell stories about events that happened years ago or earlier in the evening while they were intoxicated but not yet in the blackout. Outside observers typically are unaware that an individual is in a blackout. Depending on how much alcohol the person drank and how impaired other brain functions are, a person in the midst of a blackout could appear incredibly drunk—or not overly intoxicated at all.

Anything a person can do while they are drunk and not blacked out they can do while they are blacked out—they just won’t remember it the next day. Depending on how impaired the brain regions involved in decisionmaking and impulse control are, the missing events could range from mundane behaviors, like brushing  teeth, to dangerous and traumatic events like driving a car, getting into a fight, or committing—or being the victim of— a sexual assault or other crime.

Blackouts are surprisingly common, particularly among younger drinkers. Across four waves of the Harvard College Alcohol Study, which spanned the 1990s, roughly 1 in 4 male and female students each year experienced a blackout—defined as not being able to remember places that they went or things they did while drinking. Smaller studies by researchers at Duke University report that roughly 1 in 10 male and female college students and recent high-school graduates experienced at least 1 blackout in the 2 weeks before being surveyed.

Research suggests that there are several factors that can increase one’s risk of  blacking out, in particular drinking in  ways that cause one’s blood alcohol  concentration (BAC) to rise quickly  and reach a high level. The BAC rises  quickly when lots of alcohol gets into  the bloodstream at once. This could  mean drinking on an empty stomach,  doing shots, chugging alcoholic  beverages, or all three. Being a female  is also a risk factor for several reasons.  Females are more likely to drink on an empty stomach than males, and they tend to drink beverages with higher  concentrations of alcohol than beer,  such as mixed drinks, shots, and wine. From a biological standpoint, they reach higher BACs than males after each drink as a result of differences in the amount of water in the body. In all cases, the best predictor that a drinker will black out is that they have blacked out before. Some people seem to be very susceptible to blackouts, whereas others are relatively resistant to the serious effects of alcohol on memory. Research with twins suggests that if one twin experiences blackouts the other is likely to experience them too, so it seems there is a genetic component to sensitivity to blackouts.

Blackouts aren’t necessarily a sign of a problem with alcohol, but they are always a reason for concern and should prompt a person to consider their relationship with alcohol.

For more information, see NIAAA’s fact sheet, “Alcohol Overdose: The Dangers of Drinking Too Much.” Available at:


Y’s Healthy Kids Day – April 22, 2014

April 13, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Get a Jump on Summer at Healthy Kids Day! Tuesday April 22 from 5-7:30pm. This FREE event is open to all children Pre-K through 6th grade. You do not have to be a member of the Y to attend.  Summer is a time of active play and exploration for kids, but for some kids exposure to activities that stimulate the body and mind ends with the school year.  As part of the Y’s commitment to strengthening our community, Healthy Kids Day encourages kids and parents to commit to keeping the body and mind active this summer. Healthy Kids Day is the Y’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families across the country.  Come enjoy the obstacle course, plant some flowers, learn about bike and water safety, read a book, watch a short video, enjoy a magician’s show, play games with the Willmar Stingers, learn about hand washing,teeth brushing, and more!

Come see us at our Booth – we will be giving away magnets, mood pencils, nail files  and two winners will receive a medication lock bag! Your child can put on ” Smoking Bugs Me” temporary tattoo and you can learn about our Prescription lock box in our community.  There are also two surveys that parents can fill out.  Here is a picture of the Medication lock bag that we are giving away ($19.99 value)!




February 21st Marks Great American Spit Out!

February 21, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »
February 21st Marks Great American Spit Out!
Smokeless tobacco is still tobacco: it’s addictive and causes cancer.

Nearly 8.9 million Americans aged 12 and older are current users of smokeless tobacco and 8.9 percent of American high school students report current use of smokeless tobacco. Using smokeless tobacco products can cause mouth cancer, gum disease, and tooth loss. It is also addictive. Smokeless tobacco products now contain warning labels on packaging.

Official 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health Press Conference Set for Friday, January 17th

January 17, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Official 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health Press Conference Set for Friday, January 17th 


CADCA is honored to join so many professionals, advocates, researchers and other tobacco control partners to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health that laid the foundation for tobacco control efforts in the U.S. A new report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General,” will be released on Friday, January 17, 2014, at a press conference in Washington, D.C. at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time. Click here to view the live stream of the press conference.


New resources can be found on the Surgeon General’s website, including a podcast, “Clearing the Air”, with Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, that stresses the urgency to clear the air of secondhand smoke so everyone is equally protected from the negative health effects caused by smoking in the workplace.


To help you promote the January 17 press event and the Hallett podcast, the CDC has prepared Twitter and Facebook posts you can use.  Feel free to modify these

to meet your specific needs.  The twitter hashtag for the event is #SGR50.


Twitter: Jan 16 – SGR50 Report Released

Learn more about progress in tobacco control over last 50 yrs with release of the #SGR50 report on January 16.


Twitter: Hallett Podcast

What can we do to protect everyone against the dangers of secondhand smoke? #SGR50 podcast “Clearing the Air.”


Facebook:  Jan 16 – SGR50 Report Released

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. On January 16, 2014, a new Surgeon General’s Report will be released that will present new information on the health consequences of smoking, and discuss what can be done to help end the tobacco epidemic in the United States.  Learn more:


Facebook Hallett Podcast

Check out our “Clearing the Air” podcast with Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, as she talks about the urgency to clear the air of secondhand smoke so everyone is equally protected from the negative health effects caused by smoking in the workplace.


Details from January 8th Press Conference



It’s Been 50 Years Since the Surgeon General First Reported that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer

January 11, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »
It’s Been 50 Years Since the Surgeon General First Reported that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer


Fifty years ago today, on January 11, 1964, the U.S. Surgeon General reported for the very first time that smoking causes lung cancer in men and was a likely cause of lung cancer in women. In addition, the Surgeon General also reported that smoking likely caused chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which is known today as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
In the 50 years since the Surgeon General first released this report, nearly 18 million people have died because of tobacco use and millions more have suffered from a disease caused by tobacco.

50 Years of Progress We also know that our collective efforts to fight tobacco are paying off. A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Associationfound that 8 million early deaths related to smoking from 1964–2012 have been prevented. That’s 8 million more mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters, sons and daughters who gained more years of life thanks to tobacco control efforts such as smokefree laws and campaign promotions designed to prevent kids from starting to smoke.


What’s Next? The fight against tobacco doesn’t end today. And it won’t end this year. There is still a lot of progress to be made, which is why we’re part of a coalition committed to reducing the smoking rate in America to less than 10% by 2024. This ambitious goal will only be attained with your help. Together, let’s make tobacco history.


Frequently-Asked Questions About E-Cigarettes

January 2, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »

Recently, many people have come to me with questions  about an emerging product on the market called e-cigarettes.  There has been a lot of confusion about  e-cigarettes, and most people have limited information gathered from  advertisements or word of mouth from friends. I have put together the most  frequently asked questions about e-cigarettes, along with the answers, to  inform communities with currently updated information.

What  is an e-cigarette?           An e-cigarette is a battery-powered nicotine delivery device  that contains a cartridge filled with what the manufacturers often call  “liquid”.  This “liquid” often includes  candy flavoring, nicotine, and chemicals to create a “vapor”.  Most e-cigarette companies offer cartridges  of differing nicotine levels, although no testing has been conducted to verify  those claims.

Are  e-cigarettes considered tobacco? The FDA has jurisdiction over tobacco products under the Family  Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and has stated the intent  to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product.

Are  e-cigarettes like using the nicotine patch or nicotine gum?  Can I stop smoking by using e-cigarettes? Using e-cigarettes to quit “smoking” isn’t the same thing  as quitting nicotine addiction.  Nicotine  replacement products like the patch or nicotine gum are designed for short-term  use with a tapering off period to help break nicotine addiction.  On the other hand, e-cigarettes are not  marketed for short-term use, or tapering to break nicotine addiction.
In 2010, the FDA sent a warning letter to some  e-cigarette manufacturers which marketed their e-cigarettes as smoking cessation  drugs.  The FDA stated that these  companies committed “violations of good manufacturing practices, making  unsubstantiated drug claims, and using the devices as delivery mechanisms for  active pharmaceutical ingredients1.”   The FDA further states that there is no way to know what level of  nicotine is in e-cigarette cartridges, or if they are even safe since they have  not been thoroughly tested.

What  is in e-cigarettes that makes “smoke” or “vapor”? The FDA has done some limited testing on e-cigarette  cartridges and reports that they contain various levels of nicotine (even in  products labeled as containing “no nicotine”) and chemicals that are heated by  an atomizer and turned into a vapor(2).  Although e-cigarette manufacturers claim that  the smoke is actually water vapor, this does not appear to be the case.

What  are your concerns about e-cigarettes? 1) E-cigarettes  are being marketed as a hip, young product with a variety of flavors and flashy  colors which clearly appeal to youth.

2) One  e-cigarette manufacturer, Blu, is using a cartoon character named “Mr. Cool” to  advertise their product.  They are also  sponsoring smoking sections at theme parks across the country, as well as  sponsoring music festivals where minors are likely to be in attendance.

Mr Cool

3) Some  e-cigarette companies attempt to market their products using a message of  “freedom”; however their products contain the addictive drug, nicotine, which  is hardly a representation of freedom.


4) The  marketing of e-cigarettes mirrors the way Big Tobacco marketed their cigarettes  in the past using candy flavoring and cartoon characters.






Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014 by Kandiyohi County Drug Free Communities Coalition No Comments »


The Kandiyohi County DFC Coalition wants to wish you and yours a fabulous 2014!