The Buzz - A Blog About the Disease of Addiction | CASAColumbia

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Welcome to The BuzzCASAColumbia’s online conversation about addiction and substance use.

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Welcome to Five Minutes With where we take a few moments to better get to know the CASAColumbia staff. Today we’d like to introduce Megan O’Grady, Research Scientist at CASAColumbia.

CASAColumbia—in partnership with the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and North-Shore Long Island Jewish Health System—has implemented routine screening for substance use into seven health facilities in the New York region, including the new Lenox Hill HealthPlex emergency department. Now, patients age 18 and older who visit one of the participating health facilities will be asked several questions about their use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. If the patient’s answers indicate risky alcohol or drug use, they will be approached by a health coach during their visit.

On June 19, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders reached a deal to create a medical marijuana program for New York. Cuomo says that the agreement “strikes the right balance” between making marijuana available for people who have serious health conditions and protecting public health and safety at the same time. We share Cuomo’s concerns about the balance of making treatment available for people who need it while prohibiting smoked marijuana. 

One of the most pervasive myths about marijuana is that it is relatively harmless. Many believe that adolescents can smoke marijuana and not become addicted to it. Our analysis of data released last month from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) shows that in 2012, teens admitted to treatment were diagnosed with addiction involving marijuana far more frequently than other substances.

CASAColumbia applauds the well-deserved award recently received by The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for their national campaign on medicine abuse. Together with Hill Holliday, The Partnership’s “Mind Your Meds” campaign won the Gold Lion Award at the first Cannes Lions Health festival.

The U.S. is in a time of crisis with regard to the use and misuse of and addiction to opiates, including both prescription medications like Oxycontin and street drugs like heroin. Teenagers and young adults are among the most vulnerable. In the northeast, where many experts consider us to be in the midst of an opiate epidemic, overdose is the leading cause of death among young people. It surpasses the other leading causes of youth death (accidents, suicide and homicide), all of which are also associated with substance use.

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