Health & Wellness Masthead
March 2014


"The main issue right now is hookah pens. I have seen a rise in people using. They are easier to get and students feel like they can get away with it." -- Contra Costa High School Student


"We have five students alone that have been caught with either hookah pens or e-cigarettes on campus just in this last week." 

-- Contra Costa Middle School Staff 


Unfortunately, we are hearing more and more stories like these, from students and school staff throughout Contra Costa. 


In response, we are working to increase the information and resources available for districts, schools and our community partners to address this growing issue. 


Below you will find additional information. Also, I am here to provide ongoing support on this and other adolescent health-related issues. Please feel free to contact me anytime. 



Emily Justice
Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE)


What are E-Cigarettes, Hookah Pens, Vape Pens.... Anyway???  


Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that produce doses of nicotine and other additives to the user in an aerosol. Depending on the brand, e-cigarette cartridges typically contain nicotine, a component to produce the aerosol, and flavorings. Young people are most often referring to these products as hookah or vape pens. More information.

So What's the Problem? 


The particular concerns regarding use among middle and high school students include:
  • Examples of E-Hookah
    Use of these products mimic smoking. Use normalizes the action of smoking, whether or not it contains nicotine. 
  • With flavors like fruit and chocolate, these products are youth friendly and use may glamorize smoking behavior in youth.   
  • Most do contain nicotine and nicotine is highly addictive.
So What Are We Doing About Increased Use???


In response, many districts are revising their tobacco-free schools policies to include the prohibition of such products. To read more about this, check out the Contra Costa Times article

The recommended school board policy language from the California Department of Education can be viewed here

Questions? Support Needed? Contact Emily Justice.

March is Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month 

Nearly 15% of high school seniors report past-year non-medical use of prescription medications. More information on prescription drug abuse can be found at
Brandy Border, Contra Costa Youth Health Coalition member and a student at Cal High, designed these informational images. Below are links to pdfs that can be shared on social media, printed and posted, etc.  
Designed by Brandy Border, Contra Costa Youth Health Coalition
Free Film Screening: Behind the Orange Curtain
Interested in learning more about prescription drug abuse? Check out a screening of Behind the Orange Curtain, as well as a panel discussion and Q&A, on March 23.

Click here for more information and/or to reserve a seat. 
Thank You
We hope you enjoyed this month's Health & Wellness Matters e-newsletter! If you have suggestions for future articles or resources to share, contact Emily Justice.

CCCOE Educational Services
Emily Justice, Manager, Tobacco Use Prevention Education

Pamela Comfort, Ph.D.,
Associate Superintendent, Educational Services

Pam Tyson, Ph.D., Director, Educational Services
In This Issue
Prescription Drug Abuse
Fast Facts & News Articles

Meetings and Trainings

For more information on any of the meetings and trainings listed below, contact Emily Justice.

Empowering Educators 
mentoring education program for leaders in at-risk learning environments

FREE Film Screening
Behind the Orange Curtain 
Sun, March 23, 2014
NAMI on Campus
High School Training 
Weds, April 23, 2014
More Information 

TUPE District Coordinators Meeting
Friday, May 2, 2014

HIV/Comprehensive Sex Education Network Meeting
Monday, May 5, 2014

Contra Costa Youth Health Symposium
Continuation/Alternative School Students
Friday, May 9, 2014

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Useful Resources


Fast Facts & Articles


One-fourth of adults ages 24 to 32 who reported using alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana before the age of 16 met the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their life, compared to 16% who reported first using any of these substances when they were 16 or older. 

Cesar Facts


Low-Income Schools See Big Benefits in Teaching Mindfulness

KQED, 01/17/14
Join Together, 02/18/14
CNN, 02/26/14