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YES’ Nicotine Diversion Program Fight Teen Vaping

Lidia Harding
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Youth Eastside Services (YES)  partners with the Lake Washington School District to implement a Nicotine Diversion Program.

While the dangers of vaping are little understood, vaping and the use of e-cigarettes is very prevalent among young people.

The Nicotine Diversion Program is part of YES’ school-based substance use treatment services and consists of an evidence-based assessment, brief intervention, and ongoing support. The program is in 28 elementary, middle and high schools, and all counselors who facilitate the program are Substance Use Disorder Professionals (SUDP), and many are dually-certified as licensed mental health therapists as well.

The YES’ SUDP therapists, working with the youth we serve, developed the curriculum, which provides youth with facts about the risks of vaping and nicotine consumption. Most youth are referred to the program through a school administrator as part of a disciplinary action, but a parent or friend can also refer a student, or they can refer themselves. After youth are referred, they complete a short assessment to help counselors get a sense of the extent of their use of e-cigarettes or other vaping products and gauge their desire to quit.

The sessions are one hour each and are held over two days. Sessions provide youth with information about what chemicals are found in vape “juice”/JUUL pods, the short and long-term health effects of using an e-cigarette, and provide resources to support youth in reducing their use or quitting altogether.

“From my experience working with youth, they don’t often know much about what it is they’re using. There’s a lot of misinformation out there that is important for us to correct.” Andrea Frost, YES Prevention Intervention Specialist at Redmond High School

Facilitators focus on why tobacco companies target youth, by involving the students in group activities and discussions. They also present a bag full of day-to-day items that represent the chemicals found in e-cigarettes, to give students a better idea of what they are putting in their bodies. At the end, students complete a project in which they create a public service announcement that is targeted towards prevention among young students, 11-14-year-olds.

The Nicotine Diversion Program is made possible through a generous grant of $20,000 from CVS Health. CVS Health helps ensure that as a community, we can provide all young people with the services they need to thrive. Please donate today and join others in the support of children and youth in our community, any gift is sincerely appreciated and goes on to provide hope to youth who are struggling.

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