Marijuana Prevention PSA Contest Winner: “Baseball is Better”

Healthy Acadia and the Partnership4Success Coalition (P4S) congratulate Kobe Saunders as thae winner of the 2016 Marijuana Prevention Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest.

 Saunders, a 6th grade student at Calais Elementary School, won the contest with his original radio PSA, entitled, “Baseball is Better.” His script focused on two positive influences in his life: playing baseball and his baseball coach, Matt Vinson, who is also a police officer in the city of Calais. “Working hard and getting better at sports gives me a great feeling.  I don’t need to mess around with marijuana to feel good and have fun.”  Officer Vinson also played a role, “I see far too often the negative effects marijuana and other drugs have on our youth.  I am happy to help kids find alternatives to using drugs, like playing America’s favorite pastime.”  Saunders received a certificate and $100, as well as the opportunity to professionally record his PSA at FM radio station WQDY/WALZ Classic Hits in Calais.  The PSA will air throughout the summer on WQDY 92.7 FM/95.3 FM and WCRQ 102.9 FM. 

Healthy Acadia and P4S sponsored the Marijuana Prevention PSA contest to give students across Washington County an opportunity to develop positive peer messaging that increases perception of harm from marijuana use and helps to decrease marijuana use by youth.  Contestants were encouraged to collaborate with peers, teachers, police officers, parents, and other community members, in the creation of their audio or video PSA entries. Jenny Robish, Community Health Coordinator with Healthy Acadia reported, “Healthy Acadia staff and P4S volunteers were very excited to hear that Kobe’s radio PSA was engaging, positive, and informative, and included a collaboration with an adult mentor and police officer.” 

According to the 2015 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, nearly 1 in 3 Washington County high school students have tried marijuana, 50% feel that marijuana is easy to get, and 60% do not think that marijuana is harmful if smoked once or twice per week.  As perception of the risks of marijuana use decreases, use will likely increase.  Marijuana use in youth can lead to difficulty with learning, lower math and reading scores, memory problems, increased depression and anxiety, impaired driving, increased addiction rates, and more.  Marijuana today is more potent than ever, with levels of THC, the chemical responsible for making people “high,” up to 30% higher than that of the marijuana smoked in the 1960’s and 70’s. THC levels can be even more dangerous in marijuana edibles, oils, and dabs.   Healthy Acadia and P4S stress the importance of increasing public awareness of the very real risks of marijuana use by youth. 

Healthy Acadia is invested in helping all people in Washington and Hancock counties make healthy choices for themselves and their families, so they can live vibrant, healthy lives.  For more information about the risks of marijuana use for youth, please contact our office at (207) 255-3741 or visit www.healthyacadia.org.