Demystifying marijuana at community college

May 9th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

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WELLS, Maine — Law enforcement agents, parents, teachers, counselors and school officials gathered at York County Community College on Monday for a presentation on marijuana abuse sponsored by York Hospital’s Choose to be Healthy, Healthy Maine Partnership.

In southern Maine, there is a growing concern about marijuana use in schools, where abuse of the drug has been rising since 2006, officials said. Sally Manninen, substance abuse prevention coordinator for the Choose to be Healthy program, said the idea for the event grew out of needing to address the growing problem and to give both professionals and parents the information they need about marijuana.

“Teachers didn’t have the tools they needed for the classroom. Law enforcement was up against the confusing messages of medical marijuana, and counselors working with students who believe ‘it’s no big deal,'” she said.

Manninen wanted to provide resources and tools for practitioners and parents, and she believed a good starting point was eradicating myths about marijuana.

Speaker Dr. Mark Publicker, former medical director of Mercy Hospital’s substance abuse program and president of the Northern New England Society of Addiction Medicine, began his address with a clear message.

“Cannabis is a powerful psychotropic drug that is harmful for a regular brain,” he told those gathered, adding that the drug is “worse for the still developing brain of a teenager.”

Gina Brodsky, York High School substance abuse counselor, said she is seeing trends in abuse of the drug.

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