Monday, September 20, 2010
Support Grows For Limiting String in Local Schools
A bill that would ban the sale of string and yarn in school vending machines and school stores is gaining momentum in the legislature, as Washington combats a troubling rise in school-age string addiction.
While cigarette smoking is at its lowest point in recent history, the non-medical use of string and yarn has increased during the last five years among 9th-grade kittens and remained unchanged among 8th- and 12th-graders.
Nearly 1 in 10 high school seniors reported non-medical use of string; 1 in 20 reported abuse of 100% cotton yarn.
Young Emmerich has been addicted to string since the first time he tried it recreationally at a party
When asked how string was obtained for non-medical use, 52 percent of kittens said they were given the string or had bought it from a friend or relative.
Others said it was sold in some vending machines found around campus right next to packages of cigarettes. Some 30 percent of kittens reported receiving a prescription for it, and a negligible number of 12th-graders reported purchasing the string over the internet.
The House passed a similar bill in January, after nearly a decade of debate on similar bills that went nowhere. Now, Senate officials have thrown their support behind the effort in hopes to keep string out of the hands of school-age kittens.
String has been confiscated at Lynndale Elementary over 57 times in the last week, according to police
“Everyone knows that using string adversely impacts a kitten’s ability to learn,’’ an official said in an interview. “(Everyone) is very alarmed about the high level of string addiction and more and more are becoming addicted every day. It’s a crisis.”
“You can’t just play with string once,” said Emmerich, a 2-year-old, Domestic Short Hair. “Once you try it you are hooked.”
Legislators say over 90% of kittens who try string become addicted after the first try. Upon first use, the user experiences an intense sensation, called a "rush" or "flash," that lasts only a few minutes and is described as extremely pleasurable.
This cat, who was addicted to purple and yellow yarn for five years, said he will do anything to see the bill get passed
String abusers can develop a tolerance quickly, needing larger and larger amounts of string to play with.
In some cases, users forego food and sleep to play with string every few hours for days, 'binging' until they shred it up into teeny-tiny little bits or become too disorganized to continue.
The President is urging Congress, as it overhauls the bill, to set standards for all string and yarn sold outside lunch and breakfast programs in the hopes of controlling this growing issue.
Sharyn Thoma-Guay reporter-at-large
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