LEWISTON – Three Healthy Androscoggin staff members joined thousands of public health experts, researchers and administrators in Boston to discuss the latest in public health research and practice and debate policy concerns affecting the profession and the health of the nation at the American Public Health Association’s 134th annual meeting and exposition.

Marion Browning, Lisa Dunning and Angela Cole Westhoff from Healthy Androscoggin attended the conference, and Westhoff was a presenter.

She was selected by the Maine Office of Substance Abuse to share the findings of a research study funded by OSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant. Westhoff presented the results of a study focusing on the substance use patterns and characteristics of Androscoggin County young adults ages 18 to 25 who were not enrolled in college on a full-time basis.

Healthy Androscoggin created a survey and conducted a series of five focus groups to collect data about young people and their consumption of substances, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other illicit drugs.

Summary fact sheets highlighted the findings and one of the most significant findings in the study was that 59.9 percent of the respondents indicated using tobacco products in the past 30 days. The number is three times higher than Androscoggin County’s average of 20.77 percent of adults using tobacco in the past 30 days.

“Clearly, there have been impressive declines in the youth smoking rate in the past several years and Maine has gone from a state with one of the highest youth smoking rates to one of the lowest. However, this is still much work to be done with addressing tobacco use for young adults in our community,” said Westhoff, Healthy Androscoggin executive director.

Healthy Androscoggin was one of six coalitions funded to conduct research on substance abuse in various Maine sub-cultural populations. For more information about the project, contact Healthy Androscoggin at 795-5990.

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