Impact Futures discuss future events for substance abuse prevention

Local organization discuss event plans for substance abuse prevention

Impact Futures, a coalition providing awareness of drug abuse, held a meeting Thursday to discuss the future events and planning for National Substance Abuse Prevention month in October.

LaViza Matthews, director of Impact Futures, said there will be several events they will have to attract kids and make them aware of the risks of substance abuse.

â??Weâ??ll have kiddos go through four rotations of things to talk about: marijuana, prescription drugs, human trafficking, and media pulling kids in and marketing to kids,â?? LaViza said.

Matthews said one issue they will discuss thoroughly is marijuana. She said her concern comes from the possibility of marijuana becoming legal in Texas.

She said numbers in the Amarillo area shows the usage of marijuana in kids and teens is increasing.

â??We do a school survey every year. In the survey, you can see the use of tobacco has gone down, but use of marijuana has increased and perception of harm of marijuana has decreased," LaViza said.

She said a possibility for these higher numbers could be from the legalization of marijuana in other states.

â??Kiddos are seeing marijuana is medically accepted now in 20 states, and when they see that, it breaks down the barrier. They feel like itâ??s not bad for you,â?? LaViza said.

Dr. Roger Smalligan is the Regional Chair for Internal Medicine at Texas Tech School of Medicine.

He said marijuana has its medical uses that help alleviate issues associated with AIDS and Cancer.

â??For AIDS and cancer patients, it can be an appetite stimulant. It also helps with nausea so we could use it when giving a patient chemotherapy,â?? Smalligan said.

Smalligan also said that marijuana is one of the most abused drugs in the world.

"People using marijuana on a regular basis get recurring abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting,â?? Smalligan said.

He also said there is not really a need to legalize marijuana because physicians already have access to medicine containing the main active ingredient in marijuana.

LaViza said the upcoming events and youth conferences will help bring awareness of these issues to both kids and adults, and the events will cater to residents of all ages.

â??Itâ??s going to make a difference,â?? LaViza said.

The first event, National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, will focus on disposing unwanted and unused prescription drugs. It will be on Saturday Sept. 27.