Media Contact Information

Professionals can connect to curb youth marijuana use

May 20, 2016

Science behind prevention focus of free conference

Youth-serving professionals can learn new approaches to marijuana prevention, access future grant funding opportunities.

TACOMA, Wash. – Marijuana dependence can begin at an early age. According to the State Liquor and Cannabis Board, one in eight youth who uses marijuana by age 14 becomes dependent. State experts say the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington contributes to increased youth usage.

At a free conference on June 10, Marijuana Prevention Conference: Science of Prevention for Professionals, educators, counselors, mental health providers, and youth workers have an opportunity to learn how to steer youth toward making healthy choices. This first-ever conference, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, 1500 Broadway, will connect professionals with regional and national experts.

“Professionals who work with youth need proven strategies to intervene early,” said Tutrecia Baker, health promotion coordinator at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. “This conference is a way for professionals to learn how to apply the science of prevention to have a positive effect in schools and the community,” Baker said.

While the long-term effects of marijuana on intelligence are unclear, according to the Washington State Department of Health, marijuana can alter brain chemistry and affect academic achievement in youth. The conference includes several speakers who will explore these issues:

Workshop Facilitators

  • Kevin Haggerty -- expert in marijuana use and youth development from the University of Washington.
  • Jason Kilmer -- explores youth health behaviors, including marijuana use, from the University of Washington.

Keynote Speakers

  • Kevin Sabet -- an advisor to three U.S. presidents on drug policy and co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana).
  • Larry Cohen -- founder and director of the Prevention Institute.

In addition, a youth panel will offer professionals first-hand accounts of marijuana use.

The free conference includes a free breakfast and lunch. Register at: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department partnered with Puget Sound Educational Service District to co-sponsor the event.

Chemical dependency professionals can earn continuing education credit through the National Association of Addiction Professionals for attending the conference.

Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager
(253) 798-2853, (253) 405-6822 (cell/text),
Tutrecia Baker, Health Promotion Coordinator
(253) 798-6545, (253) 377-5904, (cell/text),

« Back to Headlines