JOINT RELEASE: Three Educational Days of Youth Substance Use Prevention Talks


For more information contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or

SPOKANE, Wash. – April 19, 2016 – With recent legislative changes around recreational marijuana, privatized liquors sales, and vaping products, Spokane County is facing a unique set of challenges for youth substance abuse prevention. In response, Spokane Regional Health District and its partners at NEWESD 101 are hosting three free community events centered around the changing landscape of youth substance abuse.

“We know that marijuana use, particularly long-term, chronic use that begins at a young age, can lead to dependence and addiction,” said Mona Griffin, Center for Prevention director for NEWESD 101 “Marijuana is not a benign substance, especially when it concerns youth and we're seeing normalization and increased use in our county.”

The week’s community events will focus on the health risks posed by youth using marijuana, nicotine and alcohol and the connection this has to mental health Each event will feature keynote presentations from Jason Kilmer, Ph.D., an associate professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences from University of Washington (U of W), and Shannon Bailie, MSW, an expert in crisis intervention, also from U of W. Both hold leadership positions at U of W’s Health and Wellness Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education—Bailie as director and Kilmer as assistant director.  

The first event is Wednesday, April 20, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Details are: Alcohol, Marijuana, and Mental Health Community Forum– What everyone needs to know about impacts to youth Shadle Park High School, Auditorium 4327 N. Ash St., Spokane, WA 99205

This community forum is especially relevant for families of adolescents and teens, or anyone in the community who works with youth. The keynote presentation will break down the “Top 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know” about youth substance use, and then transition to a Q&A session themed around what the community can do to support youth.

The second event occurs Thursday, April 21, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Details are: Building a Healthy YOUth Symposium– The changing landscape of substance use Eastern Washington University (SEWC), room 122, 668 N Riverpoint Blvd, Spokane, WA, 99202

This one-day symposium is designed for the regional professionals who are critical in guiding youth to live healthy and full lives here. It is an opportunity to develop a network of partners to jointly address substance use among youth. Foundational to these partnerships, the symposium will offer ample chances to learn about new and evidence-based methods to reduce youth initiation. It is also an opportunity to get caught up on the current landscape of state policy with regard to the most-widely used substances. The event is free, but registration is required.

The final event occurs Friday, April 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Details include:

An Introduction to Brief Intervention Strategies & Motivational Interviewing for School Professionals (REGISTRATION FULL)

Spokane Regional Health District 1101 W. College Ave., Room 122, Spokane, WA 99201

This workshop will share tools for how to have a non-judgmental, non-confrontational conversation with young people about substance use and is meant for school professionals and anyone who works with youth in an intervention capacity.

The events are paid for in part with funding from Initiative 502, which requires public health to educate communities on preventing youth marijuana use.

For questions, contact SRHD Tobacco, Vaping Device and Marijuana Prevention program coordinator, Paige McGowan (509) 324-1504 or Information can also be found at SRHD’s web site offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.