January 28, 2023

The RI Prevention Coalitions Looking for Volunteers


Rhode Island legislators recently legalized use of cannabis (marijuana, THC) for adults 21 years of age and older. There is no established safe level of marijuana (THC) use and it is particularly detrimental for youth, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and drivers. Most research on marijuana-related harm is based on much lower levels of THC than is currently in use today. Thus, it is challenging to develop low risk guidelines for adult use but current evidence suggests risk may be lowered by delaying onset of use, avoiding high potency products and high frequency/intensity use, and refraining from smoking routes of administration. The RI Regional Prevention Coalitions work throughout the state to support communities in promoting behavioral health and limiting the negative consequences of substance misuse.

The RI Prevention Coalitions work to prevent any circumstances or actions that increase youth access to marijuana.

The RI Prevention Coalitions recognize that chronic use of cannabis has a detrimental effect on youth, particularly on the developing brain. These impacts include cognitive impairment such as attention, memory, learning and decision-making and worsened academic performance.

The RI Prevention Coalitions acknowledge negative effects of cannabis use on employment and the ability to secure employment in industries vital to RI’s economy particularly Department of Defense contracts.

The RI Prevention Coalitions encourage continued research on the medicinal value of marijuana and the use of any U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications derived from marijuana or containing cannabinoids. All findings should be made public and include the effects it will have on developing brains.

With legalized adult marijuana use in Rhode Island, the RI Regional Coalitions need additional resources to address new challenges. Prohibiting use in public; encouraging safe storage; enforcing laws prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana; limiting youth exposure to signage, advertising and marketing; and ensuring increased adult access to does not translate to increased youth access are proven approaches.

The seven RI Regional Coalitions, organized and funded by the RI Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, are united in providing evidence-based approaches to prevent substance misuse and promote health across the lifespan. We are comprised of members from all sectors of RI communities and encourage volunteers to join us at www.riprevention.org.  If you would like to know more about your local prevention coalition, the East Providence Prevention Coalition, please contact at us eppc@eastprovidenceri.gov

Madeline Marlow
East Providence Prevention Coalition


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