Tag - Lamoille County

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The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use
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Saturday, October 28 is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
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Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

The Link Between Childhood Trauma and Tobacco Use

By: Scott Johnson, Lamoille Family Center

Perhaps you’ve heard about the impact of trauma on long-term health. In Vermont and here in Lamoille Valley there is a lot of attention being paid to the set of childhood experiences that are directly linked to challenges later in life. These experiences, called Adverse Childhood Experiences (see the list below), or ACEs, are traumatic events that, if untreated, can have significant negative effects. The most common of these ACEs in Vermont are: divorce/separation, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and extreme economic insecurity.

What may surprise you is the link between these ACEs and tobacco use. The chart below shows the number of ACEs and their relationship to early smoking onset, adult smoking rates, and the lung disease known as COPD. Here are some important statistics about those connections.

  • If you experience more than three ACEs you are more likely to use tobacco.
  • 88% of Vermont smokers started before age 18.
  • In Vermont, forty percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 who have experienced more than three ACEs are using tobacco. That’s more than twice the number of users in that age range who have fewer than three ACEs.
  • Those individuals with four or more ACEs are 3x more likely to start smoking before age 18.

According to the Vermont Department of Health website, tobacco use is the NUMBER ONE preventable cause of death. In Vermont, smoking costs approximately $348 million in medical expenses and results in about 1,000 smoking-related deaths each year.

 

According to their own internal documents, tobacco companies try to attract new young smokers by targeting retail stores near schools and parks. (http://www.counterbalancevt.com)

 

According to the 2015 Youth Behavior Risk Survey, almost one-quarter of high school students in Lamoille County have reported using three different types of tobacco products:  27% tried electronic vapor products, 23% tried a flavored tobacco product, and 22% smoked a whole cigarette, with 11% of students reporting that they smoked within the past 30 days.

If we want to reduce the use of tobacco and improve health outcomes in our region we must do something to reduce exposure to those ACEs, or do more to help young people heal from the impact of those experiences before they start using tobacco. The annual focus on urging smokers to quit is called The Great American Smokeout, and it occurred last week on November 16th. Maybe some of you participated in this event, and remain tobacco free!

The community has an important role to play in reducing the likelihood our young people will choose to smoke. The links between smoking rates and adverse childhood experiences tell us that solutions lie in community-level efforts that support children, youth, and families. Research shows that the kind of help that makes a difference includes community-level activities that:

  • Make sure all children are socially and emotionally supported, and
  • Assure each family has two or more people who can offer concrete support in times of need.

As you may have heard, Healthy Lamoille Valley (HLV), our community prevention coalition, has regained tobacco prevention funding and is charged with addressing prevention of initiation of tobacco use among youth, eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, and increasing tobacco-free policies in towns, public places, workplaces, and college campuses. If you want to get connected to our local efforts, including our reestablished HLV Tobacco Prevention Task Force, contact the HLV Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator, Alison Link at alison@healthylamoillevalley.org. Check out the website at https://www.healthylamoillevalley.org/tobacco.

 

*ACEs include: mental illness, depression, or person with suicidal intentions in the home; drug addiction or alcoholic family member; parental discord – indicated by divorce, separation, abandonment; incarceration of any family member; witnessing domestic violence against the mother; child abuse (physical, sexual, emotional); child neglect (physical, emotional).


Scott Johnson is Executive Director of the Lamoille Family Center and has worked in Lamoille Valley in human services and education for nearly his entire career. The Family Center has served our community by encouraging, educating and celebrating children, youth and families for forty years.

Scott writes about early care and education, adolescent development and strengthening families that improve conditions of well-being.

Saturday, October 28 is Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Police & Sheriff Departments, Kinney Drugs Accepting Unused, Unwanted, Expired Prescription Drugs

Most people who abuse prescription painkillers get them from friends or family – often straight out of the medicine cabinet. By ensuring the safe use, storage and disposal of prescription drugs, you can help make sure drugs don’t get into the wrong hands, or pollute our waterways and wildlife.

Health departments and drug disposal sites around the country are joining the Drug Enforcement Agency this Saturday, October 28, for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, providing a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs. The last event took place on Saturday, April 29, when Vermonters brought back 5,553 pounds of prescription drugs.

You can drop off unwanted prescription drugs (pills only, no sharps or liquids) on Saturday, October 28 from 10am-2pm to:

  • Hardwick Police Department
  • Kinney Drugs in Cambridge
  • Kinney Drugs in Morrisville
  • Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department in Hyde Park
  • Stowe Police Department

As always, unwanted medicines may be turned in anytime at the Hardwick Police Department and the Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department.

For more information, visit healthylamoillevalley.org/prescription-drugs and http://www.healthvermont.gov/alcohol-drugs/services/prescription-drug-disposal.

 

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

By: Lea Kilvádyová, Lamoille County Planning Commission

This year’s foliage marks the second season of a year-round use of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail between Morristown and Cambridge. And, what a ride it has been to be able to take advantage of this precious addition to living well in Lamoille!

For me, the Rail Trail has become a pleasurable way to commute on bike from my home in Johnson to my place of work in Morrisville. For an after work and after-school activity, my family has developed a fun routine riding our bikes from Johnson Village to an iconic bridge overlooking Lamoille River in Johnson. In addition to biking, the trail has become my red carpet for running; an activity I have been attempting to start and sustain for years. Now – thanks to the Rail Trail, I have successfully been putting in 5K twice a week! I encourage all to explore the Trail; it is peaceful, safe and very scenic. In addition, unlike most terrain in Lamoille County, it is uniquely flat which makes it accessible to all ages.

Lamoille County Towns have worked hard to make the use of the trail easy and fun. Through the dedication of local volunteers, and with help from grant funding agencies such as the Northern Borders Regional Commission, Cambridge, for example, built an award-winning trailhead facility that includes a railway-themed playground. Hyde Park designed a state-of-the-art wayfinding system to better connect the trail with the village center. Johnson’s trailhead kiosk, adjacent to the spectacularly back-dropped Old Mill Park, includes essential amenities such as a drinking fountain and a wheelchair accessible port-o-let.

My organization, Lamoille County Planning Commission, assisted the towns’ Rail Trail efforts by securing the funding, providing project management support, and creating maps and information brochures for the section of the trail between Cambridge and Morristown. The maps are available at all trailheads in Lamoille County and can also be downloaded here: https://www.lvrt.org/trail-maps. Copley Hospital is among generous sponsors that contributed to the printing of the brochures.

Last but not least, a big thank you belongs to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers for overseeing the construction of the Rail Trail and spearheading a fundraising campaign to complete the full 93-miles of the trail between St. Johnsbury and Swanton.