LOUISVILLE, Ky, December 31, 2021 - Substance use among youth is a persistent problem in Kentucky according to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Self-reported vaping during the high school years - when the overwhelming majority of adult tobacco users got started - is at a rate of one in four in Kentucky, and that rate was rising dramatically through 2019. High school alcohol use, while declining for more than two decades, remained at 23 percent. About 15 percent of high schoolers used marijuana - a steady problem, and 11 percent abused prescription pain meds. Other illicit drug use is less common, but a rising number of high schoolers (22.6 percent in 2019) are being offered illegal drugs on campus.

These statistics are alarming, but there are proven policies and programs to help reduce tobacco and other substance use during youth. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, in partnership with Kentucky Youth Advocates, willl offer a free webinar to share these solutions on Monday, January 11, 2021, from 2-3 pm ET. The webinar is part of the Foundation's annual Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum webinar series, which focused this year on improving child health in Kentucky.
The panelists on this webinar, Stopping Vaping and Substance Use, are:
Devine Carama, Community Coordinator, Lexington FEND Movement and Founder, Kingtucky, LLC
Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy
Tami Cappelletti, Programs and Education Manager, American Lung Association, "How to Talk to Your Kids About Vaping"
Abby Hefner, Anti-Vaping Advocate, McCracken County High School

The discussion will be moderated by Bonnie Hackbarth, Vice President, External Affairs, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. 

Speakers will help participants:

  • Understand the current state of youth use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances, as well as both longer-term trends and the specific impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those trends.
  • Explore evidence-based programs regarding how to talk to youth about e-cigarettes and vaping.
  • Learn about an effective youth substance-use prevention program in Lexington.
  • Hear about a McCracken County youth's experience of becoming addicted to nicotine, how she finally quit vaping, and her subsequent advocacy work.

Legislators, educators, advocates and others who want to learn more about evidence-based policies and programs to reduce youth tobacco and other substance use are encouraged to attend. The webinar is free, but registration is required: Register here.

The Foundation is partnering with Kentucky Youth Advocates in offering this year's Bost Forum series, titled Moving Kids Toward Natural Highs: Kentucky Opportunities to Prevent Youth Substance Use, Suicide and Risky Behaviors. The series features panels of speakers on the topics of the State of Child Health in Kentucky (held September 21; view recording here) and slide presentations here), Intervening Early (October 19; view recording here and slide presentations here), Promoting Healthy Lifestyles through Nutrition and Physical Activity (held November 9, view recording here and slide presentations here), Understanding Youth and Building Good Mental Health (held December 14, view recording here and slide presentations here) and Stopping Vaping and Substance Use (January 11) - register here).

About the Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum
The Foundation convenes the Bost Forum annually in memory of Dr. Howard L. Bost, a notable health economist and founding member of the Foundation's board of directors. The aim of the forum is to raise awareness of health issues impacting Kentuckians and to highlight model strategies and policy opportunities to improve Kentucky's health. Presentations and video from previous forums are available here.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $29 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
bhackbarth@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Alexa Kerley
akerley@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
859-229-9611 (Mobile)