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Issue 5                                                                                            Spring 2019 

Juul starter kit

Helping Teens Quit JUUL and Other Vapor Devices

Where can teens go when they want to quit JUUL and other vapor devices? Teens' options are limited because of their age, but there are choices available.

  • See a doctor and get a prescription – because of their age teens cannot walk into a store and buy nicotine patches or gum. They can use these products when they are prescribed by a doctor.
  • Teen Quitline – The Washington Department of Health has set up a separate Quitline for youth age 13-17.  Teens can call in and receive five free counseling sessions regardless of their insurance status: 1-800-784-8669
  • Truth Initiative’s Youth Text program – The Truth Initiative is sponsoring a free text message quit program for teens and young adults. Teens can text “QUIT” to 202-804-9884 to start. 

Teen Vaccines

Hello! My name is Mary O’Leary and I am the newest member of the Healthy Communities Team. I'm a health educator focusing on vaccine preventable diseases. My role is to promote the use of vaccines in Snohomish County residents of all ages through education and ensured access. One area of concern is the under-use of adolescent vaccines.

Vaccines targeted to adolescents are relatively new to national immunization schedules and recommendations for their use continue to evolve. Three of them address increased risks for disease from the mid-teen years through the early twenties: Human papillomavirus (HPV), meningococcal ACWY, and meningococcal B.

HPV infections cause over 350,000 cases of genital warts and over 30,000 cancers in the United States every year. If administered before infection occurs, the current HPV vaccine can prevent the majority of these outcomes. 

Meningococcal disease is rare, but devastating. It is the only vaccine-preventable disease with mortality rates in the double digits, even when appropriate antibiotic treatment is administered. It progresses quickly and can lead to deafness, neurologic damage, and loss of limbs. One vaccine prevents against 4 disease strains: A,C,W, and Y. It is routinely recommended for all teens. The meningococcal B vaccine is available to those who want protection from this strain.

These vaccines, along with a Tdap booster for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) and a flu shot every year will protect teens and their friends and families from potentially serious diseases.

Follow this link to the adolescent immunization schedule.

Honoring Students Who've Died by Suicide

Students often wish to memorialize a classmate who has died, reflecting a basic human desire to remember those they have lost. However, it can be challenging for schools to strike a balance between compassionately meeting the needs of the grieving students and appropriately honoring the student who died without worry of suicide contagion among other students who may be at risk. 

First, it is important to familiarize yourself with your school's or district’s suicide prevention and postvention policy and procedures. Since young people are especially vulnerable to the risk of suicide contagion, it is important to memorialize the student in a way that does not inadvertently glamorize or romanticize either the student or the death. Focus on how the student lived, rather than how she or he died. 

One suggestion for honoring a student who has died by suicide is to hold an Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. These walks are organized in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and are designed to engage youth and adults in the effort to prevent suicide. More information can be found on the AFSP website.

More creative and appropriate suggestions for honoring students who have died by suicide, including a complete toolkit with templates and sample ideas, can be found at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s website.

Farmers market fruits and veggies

Eat Fresh, Eat Local

Spring is finally making an appearance in Snohomish County! With the warmer weather comes an increase in the variety of locally grown foods available. Eating food that is in season has many benefits, including affordability and a higher concentration of nutrients in more recently picked foods. Freezing foods in season is a great way to lock in nutrients and save whatever you can’t eat immediately. Learning about different foods that are in season at different times can be a great classroom activity. You can find an easy-to-read list of what’s in season in Washington here.

While we often think of summer and its abundance of berries, stone fruits, and fresh vegetables when we think about eating locally, remember that we have local fruits and vegetables available year-round. Students may wonder about buying organic vs. conventionally grown produce. The “Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen” from Environmental Working Group is a great guide for this. Every year they rank the 12 fruits and vegetables highest in pesticides and the 15 that are lowest in pesticides. If cost is an issue, families can prioritize buying the “Dirty Dozen” organic. Learn more here.

Teen bedroom image

Not in my House: How to talk to your kids about opioids

Snohomish Health District is partnering with various school districts to host, “Not in my House: How to talk to your kids about opioids.”  The purpose of this event is to educate parents, guardians, and community members on changes in adolescent behavior that could indicate possible drug use. Using a bedroom exhibit (pictured), attendees are allowed to walk through and look for various items that could be a sign of drug use. 

We end the event with a reveal of what was in the bedroom and a presentation from a panel of speakers. 

If your school is interested in hosting an event like this, please contact Pia Sampaga-Khim at or 425-339-5279

Substance Use Prevention Curriculum

Last summer, Pia Sampaga-Khim, our Healthy Communities Specialist focused on Opioid Prevention, participated in curriculum trainings for Botvin Lifeskills and Too Good for Drugs by the Mendez Foundation. She is trained in programs designed for elementary, middle, and high school audiences. If you are trained and need support or are looking to implement either of these programs in your school, please contact Pia at 425-339-5279 or
Upcoming Events:

  • Opioids Teacher Training - October 2019. Details coming soon.
  • Teacher training with FREE clock hours:
    “Preventing Teen Substance Abuse”
    Wednesday, May 8, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

    Class will cover:
    - Adolescent brain development
    - What prevention is & how to choose a good program
    - Everything you need to know about the teen vaping epidemic
    - Marijuana use among teens
    To save yourself a seat email Jennifer Reid:
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