Category Archives: Uncategorized

“I’ll Never Do That” – Improbable Players at Winchester Public Library!

Register now for “I’ll Never Do That” on December 12, 2019 at the Winchester Public Library! Here is the registration link: https://tinyurl.com/IPWinchester19.

Expecting Thanksgiving Discussions About Vaping and Nicotine?

When you get together with family and friends around a Thanksgiving table do you expect the subject of vaping and vaping illnesses to come up? Do you worry that you don’t know how to respond because you want to share accurate and helpful information? Here are a few suggestions to help you respond about vaping tobacco and nicotine from the Tobacco-Free Community Partnerships in Massachusetts along with links you can follow to learn more.

Q: I hear there is a ban on vaping and e-cigarette products in Massachusetts. What is that all about?

A: Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency in response to the outbreak of severe lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes and vaping. To protect the health of Massachusetts residents, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health ordered a temporary ban on the sale of all vape and e-cigarette products in Massachusetts so that federal agencies have time to investigate the cause of the illnesses, which is still unknown. The ban is currently in effect until December 24, 2019.

Q: People say only off-the-street and homemade products are making people sick–so why is there a ban on everything?

A: All products are banned temporarily because it’s not clear which products or substances are making people sick. The common factor linking all cases is a history of e-cigarette use and vaping. It’s important to know that while the federal government is regulating certain aspects of e-cigarettes, this DOES NOT currently include the manufacturing of e-cigarettes and vaping products. What that means, is that no e-cigarette or vaping product sold in local convenience stores, vape shops, online or on the street has been tested and approved as safe to use. In addition, ingredients for e-juices are not regulated and therefore we can’t really be sure what is in them or that they are safe and flavors have not been approved to heat up and inhale.

Q: What is in e-cigarettes? I hear that it is just flavored water. What is so bad about them?

A: Users may be inhaling harmful and potentially harmful substances. E-cigarettes contain pre-filled pods or e-liquids/e-juices that the user adds to the device. E-liquids generally consist of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavorings. E-cigarettes produce an aerosol, commonly called vapor, which users inhale from the device and exhale.

Q: What can I do to prevent my child or loved ones from vaping?

A: Simply talking with your child about these products can help protect them. Let them know that you care about them and that vaping is not safe. Tell them the facts: e-cigarettes contain nicotine; nicotine is a highly addictive substance. The smoke from vapes is an aerosol, not water vapor. The aerosol can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including: nicotine, ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease, volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. Nicotine can damage a teenager’s brain and lead to addiction.

Q: Now that these products are not available for purchase in Massachusetts, how can I encourage youth and young adults to quit vaping?

A: There are currently two programs available to help youth and young adults quit vaping, smoking or using other tobacco products.

This is Quitting powered by truth® is a texting program for young people who want to quit vaping. It is a free, confidential 30-day program during which youth receive texts with information, tips, and support. They receive daily text messages to help them prepare to quit and supportive texts from young people who have been through the program. To enroll in the program, youth text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. Youth can also connect with their school nurse, counselor, or coach to help get them started.

My Life, My QuitTM is a specially designed program to help young people quit vaping or other tobacco products. My Life, My QuitTM provides five free and confidential coaching sessions by phone, live texting, or chat with specially-trained youth coach specialists. Youth can text “Start My Quit” to 855-891-9989 or call toll-free 1-855-891-9989 for real-time coaching. They can also visit mylifemyquit.com to sign up online, chat with a live coach, get information about vaping and tobacco, and find activities to help them quit.

Q: How can I help adults who are trying to quit vaping, smoking or using other tobacco products?

A: Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to connect with the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline. The Helpline is a free and confidential service for Massachusetts residents who want help to end their nicotine and tobacco use. If you are looking to quit tobacco, you can now get help from a quit coach over the phone; or use online tools and resources; or a combination of these online features and telephone coaching. You can also enroll online using a computer or smartphone at https://ma.quitlogix.org/en-US/Enroll-Now.

Q: How can I learn more information and stay up-to-date?

A:

• Facts about vaping, tips for parents, and information for schools from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health: https://www.getoutraged.org • Basic facts for youth and a list of quitting resources for youth: https://www.mass.gov/ vaping • Weekly updated information about vaping-related illnesses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/ severe-lung-disease.html#latest-outbreak-information • Information about the emergency vaping regulation in Massachusetts: https:// http://www.mass.gov/guides/vapingemergency • To contact the Tobacco-Free Community Partnership in your region: http://makesmokinghistory.org/my-community/community-partnerships/

Visit GetOutraged.org to learn more or contact me at (978) 722-2864 or ashley.hall@glfc.org – Ashley Hall, MS, Tyngsboro Program Manager, Northeast Tobacco-Free Community Partnership 

Winchester Police Department Safety Reminders For Prom & Town-Wide Events

WINCHESTER — As residents of all ages look forward to Winchester’s spring traditions of the En Ka Fair, senior prom and Town Day, Chief Peter MacDonnell and Winchester Police wish to offer information and tips for remaining safe during each event.

The En Ka Fair takes place on May 17 and 18, senior prom is scheduled for May 29 and Town Day will be held on June 1.

“Each of these events is well attended enjoyed by Winchester’s residents,” Chief MacDonnell said. “Our top priority is ensuring that everyone has a good time and gets home safely. We want high school seniors in particular to be conscious of their behavior and the importance of making good decisions on prom night.”

Residents should be aware that some roads will be closed during these events. Beginning on Tuesday, May 15 at 6 p.m. and continuing through the morning of

Sunday, May 19, Skillings Road will be closed in both directions from the high school entrance to the Town Hall intersection in order to accommodate the EnKa fair. On Thursday, May 15, Mount Vernon Street will be closed in both directions from the rotary to the Town Hall intersection starting at 6 p.m. and also continuing through the morning of Sunday, May 19. For both the fair and Town Day, motorists should exercise extreme caution due to increased pedestrian traffic on town streets and sidewalks.

Winchester Police will have an increased presence at each event, but fair and Town Day attendees should remain vigilant and maintain awareness of their surroundings. Anyone who sees something that appears suspicious or out of place should immediately notify an event organizer or public safety officials. Parents please keep in mind that during this time of year, risky behaviors (such as underage alcohol use, vaping and/or juuling and marijuana use) among our middle and high school aged youth may increase.

Prom can be one of the most memorable and exciting events of their high school career, but for parents, it can be a stressful night. Students should remember the decisions made before, during and after prom can have long-term consequences.

Chief MacDonnell recommends parents reinforce the importance of good decision making with their children, and encourages families to remember the following guidelines as prom night approaches.

Think responsibly: Students are responsible for their own actions, and should not feel pressured to take part in inappropriate behavior — prior, during, or after the dance. It’s OK to say no, even if others are participating.

Travel safely: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. Always buckle up, no matter how short the trip. It’s the law.

• Don’t drink and drive, and don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

• Don’t text and drive. Texting and cell phone use while driving is illegal for Massachusetts teens under 18 years old.

Plan ahead and know the law: After prom parties should be supervised. Students should make plans to be with friends and notify parents or guardians where they’ll be and how to reach them.

• The Good Samaritan Law (M.G.L. 94C §34A) states that a person experiencing a drug-related overdose (or someone with the overdosing party) who seeks medical assistance will not be charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance.

• The law now also provides immunity from prosecution for those under twenty- one who unlawfully possession alcohol (c. 138 § 34C) and those who unlawfully purchase alcohol (c. 138 § 34A) when seeking medical attention for alcohol incapacitation. The person who calls for medical attention and the person in need of medical attention are immune from prosecution from these alcohol related offenses.

• Under the Social Host law, parents are criminally and civilly liable if they allow underage drinking to occur in their homes or any property controlled by them.

Communicate: Parents should reinforce to their children that they will not tolerate underage drinking, and that’s it is illegal. Get students’ itineraries for the evening, including whom they will be with, where they’ll be going before and after the prom, and the phone numbers of where you can contact them. Come to a fair decision on a curfew and express any concerns about their health and safety.

Be understanding: Family members are urged to make it clear to their children that they can call them at any time for help, advice or a ride.

The Winchester Police Department is here as a resource for the community and our ultimate goal is to keep all people who live in or visit Winchester safe.

Please join us for a community presentation on the Challenges We Face With Underage Drinking on Tuesday evening May 7, 2019 from 7-8pm in the Winchester High School Library/Media Center. This program is being co- sponsored by the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community and the Winchester Police Department. All are welcome to attend.

Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition Press Release ~ Youth Substance Use Social Marketing Campaign

Winchester to Provide Parents with Tools to Address Youth Substance Use

November 20, 2018

Seven cities and towns in the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition (MVPHC), including the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community, are banding together to launch a social marketing campaign aimed at preventing underage drinking and substance use among middle school-aged youth. The campaign comes after studies found that although parents and guardians would like their children to not use alcohol and other drugs, many expressed a belief that underage drinking is inevitable.

Over the past two years, the MVPHC, which includes Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Winchester and Wakefield, has collected and evaluated data on youth alcohol and substance use. It has also conducted focus groups and one-on-one interviews with parents regarding their attitudes and behaviors in regard to youth alcohol and substance use. Their findings include the following:

  • Youth substance use in the Mystic Valley region is higher than the state average.
  • Parents/guardians generally want to do the right thing but are not sure how to begin.
  • Parents/guardians are willing to talk with other parents but aren’t doing that currently.
  • Some parents believe that alcohol use is a rite of passage and that allowing their children to drink as adolescents will teach them how to drink “responsibly.’

“Although parents and guardians may believe that youth alcohol use is inevitable, research shows that parental intervention is effective in discouraging alcohol and substance use in children,” said Elizabeth Parsons, MVPHC Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator. “Our goal is to share fact-based information and tools they can use to have meaningful conversations with their children and adults in the community.”

Prevention research shows that social marketing campaigns targeting parents are the best ways to change cultural attitudes and influence behavior. Parents in the MVPHC region reported that they get their news and information from print and online newspapers, radio, Facebook, and in-person at community gathering spots and school and town meetings. Parents also heavily rely on information from school correspondence and medical professionals. The MVPHC campaign will leverage in-person communications, the MVPHC’s quarterly e-newsletter, and social media to reach its intended audience.

“The MVPHC social marketing campaign will be aimed primarily at middle school families as that seems to be the time that parents and guardians are most ready for this message,” noted Lauren Chambers, MVPHC Opioid Abuse Prevention Coordinator. “That said, it’s never too early or too late to address these issues with your kids.”

The campaign will give realistic and actionable steps that parents can take to learn more about substance use prevention, how to talk to their children, and why and how to talk to other parents as well. Parents will be educated on the substance use issues that youth are facing along with tools that parents can use to have honest conversations with their children. In these conversations parents will be urged to communicate expectations, rules and consequences for alcohol and drug use. Lastly, parents will be encouraged to speak openly with other parents about their family position on alcohol and drug use in order to build a culture that values a healthy community for children.

The MVPHC’s work is supported by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services For more information, visit www.mysticvalleypublichealth.org.

About the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition

The Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition (MVPHC) is a coalition of health departments representing Malden, Medford, Melrose, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winchester. It was developed in 2004 to address Emergency Preparedness mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since 2004, a strong system of collaboration has expanded efforts throughout the region, including a regional tobacco control grant affecting tobacco policy in the Mystic Valley. In 2013, the MVPHC received the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative (MOAPC) grant, and in 2015 received the Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative (SAPC) grant focusing on underage drinking and marijuana. The MVPHC is a collaboration of both grant-funded and non-funded community coalitions.

Contact the MVPHC at mvroap@gmail.com or (781)-393-2449 or (781)-979-4132. Find them online at https://www.mysticvalleypublichealth.org/. Follow them on Twitter @mysticvalleyphc or on Facebook at Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition.

Contact the Winchester Coalition for a Safer Community at winchestercoalition@gmail.com.  Find them online at https://winchestercoalitionsafercommunity.com.  Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Winchester.Coalition.Safer.Community/?ref=bookmarks, on Twitter @WinchCoalition and on Instagram at WinchesterCoalitionSafer.