The Buzz | Center on Addiction


Welcome to The Buzz—Center on Addiction's online conversation about addiction and substance use.

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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.

Addiction is a complex, often chronic brain disease for which there is currently no cure. There is always a risk of relapse, similar to other chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Some may view this as discouraging and think, “If there is no cure, what is the point of getting treatment?” Though the thought of dealing with a life-long disease can be daunting, it is possible to live a healthy life with proper care. 

Withdrawal can and should be managed professionally. There is no benefit to “toughing it out,” and failure to seek help for withdrawal can undermine addiction treatment.

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