Crowley’s Ridge Development Council’s Preventive Services is taking aim at “vaping” in schools.

“It’s a huge factor in schools today,” said CRDC Director of Prevention Services Lisa Perry, Ph.D. in a recent Zoom meeting

According to webmd.com, “vaping” is the use of an electronic device to produce an aerosol byproduct from heating up a liquid that sometimes consists of flavorings and other chemicals that make vaping seem less harsh (initially at least) than smoking. This liquid delivers nicotine, marijuana, or other drugs to the user via a mouthpiece that is inhaled into the lungs then expelled via the mouth or nose.

Given that vaping poses hazards to the user similar to smoking, CRDC has targeted prevention of the practice by making prevention curricula available to schools in the Council’s 23-county area of responsibility.

“We did it for every school in every county that we serve,” Perry said, “so the schools don’t have to spend anything.”

She added that the curriculum, AVOID (Anti-Vaping Online Information Dissemination), is one of two available for schools. The other, Catch My Breath, is free, while (according to its website) AVOID ranges from $249 for sites with up to 100 students, up to $899 for sites with more than 500 students.

Catch My Breath, although provided at no charge, (that is, funded by CVS Pharmacy) includes only basic information. “So the schools that use Catch My Breath, if they want the additional resources, will have to pay for that,” Perry said. AVOID, on the other hand, is self-contained and complete for the indicated prices.

Apart from the campaign against vaping, Perry said CRDC can help disseminate information. “That’s everything from media campaigns to making brochures available,” she said. “We have a lot of brochure racks, for example.”

Such are available to hospitals, clinics, churches, businesses and so forth. Perry said her organization would supply both the racks and the brochures, replenishing the stock as needed. “Just let us know,” she said, “and we’ll provide more materials.”

Given that CRDC has about 150 different kinds of brochures on diverse subjects, Perry said what her organization provides can be specifically tailored to the needs of the groups requesting the information. “We’ve provided some to law enforcement,” she said, “[and] we’ve provided some to schools.”

Perry also said CRDC is now charged with providing assistance and information in preventing substance abuse across the lifespan of the individual. “Being able to appropriate services in the community requires that we have information,” she said. “We need data to make decisions.”

However, Perry continued, the information CRDC has available is age-limited. “We have really good data for youth,” she said, “because of the Arkansas Prevention Needs Assessment Survey.”

The survey, she said, is administered to students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades. The surveys assess substance use, attitudes, risk factors, and protective factors.

But no such information is available regarding the adult population in the area CRDC serves. “So today we launched a survey so we can start collecting adult information,” Perry said, “to help guide what we’re doing in the communities.”

The survey is posted on all CRDC’s social media outlets including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“So if you follow any of those things, you’ll see something,” Perry said. She added the survey can be accessed by scanning the QR code on the particular post with one’s cellular telephone, or by following the link http://ow.ly/ mXkI50E7ipm.

“When we’re out in public, at events,” she said, “we actually can bring tablets, because we understand that not everybody has ‘smart phones,’ that not everybody has the ability to scan a QR code to access a survey.”

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