First Impressions – Psychoactive Drugs

--Original published at Hope's PSY105 Blog

“Recently, several states have legalized recreational use of marijuana and even more are considering it. This has lead to both celebration and condemnation depending on who you ask. Medicinal use of marijuana is still controversial as well. In your blog post, take a position on both medical and recreational use of marijuana. Should they be legal or not? Make sure to point out pros and cons to both arguments.”

Marijuana used for medicinal use has proven to be helpful.  What people do not understand is that the product being used for medical use is not necessarily in a form to be able to smoke it.  There is an article I read that brought us into the home a little girl who was constantly have seizures.  She was having 300 grand mal seizures a week.  Her parents tried cannabis oil, which helped her immensely.  People believe her parents are getting her high, when in reality they would be giving her this oil to calm her down and take her out of her seizures.  With the medical marijuana she was only having seizures two to three times a week.  Medical marijuana helps and should be legal.  Yes, there will be people who try to fake an illness so they could get the cannabis oil or try to get marijuana they can smoke, but with a carefully monitored distribution of marijuana like they already have with other medicines, they will be less problems.

Marijuana for recreational use is much more difficult to monitor.  It would have to be monitored the same was the alcohol is.  You would have to be a certain age, have to show ID at the time of purchase.  You would have to trust that, like with alcohol, anyone who is using it is of age and that there are people responsible enough not to give it to those who are not of age.

I believe that marijuana should be legal for medical use, but not for recreational use.  Recreational monitoring is much too difficult and it would just as big a problem as alcohol is when it comes to driving.



Roots of Addiction

--Original published at The Core Techs

“At the root of all addiction is pain.” -Anon.

Many people in today’s world struggle with addiction, and as the years go by, drugs seem easier to access. In fact, cases of drug usage and overdosing has actually increased in the past few years. As this effect is increasing, events such as the opioid crisis continue to happen and take more lives every single day. When treating addiction, typically two methods are present: the cold turkey, or slow reduction. These methods are more commonly known as abstinence and the harm reduction model. Abstinence teaches people that they should stop usage immediately and not go back to it at all. It is supposed to completely erase any possibilities. Although this is true, many of us know how hard it is to just drop something and quit. Instead, methods that can make it easier for a person to stop causing harm to themselves is to slowly wane them off it. For example, it is much harder for smokers to quit smoking right away and be completely done with it rather than using nicotine patches or other substances to help them gradually decrease their usage. So, most of us would think “If one method is easier and more effective than the other, why aren’t we using it?” And that is exactly the question to be asked.

In schools, almost everyone has to take some form of sex education. Most schools teach abstinence, meaning that a person should completely avoid sex at all costs. In other rare cases, sex education programs will teach their students the risks of having intercourse, but along with the risks come prevention plans. In this matter, students are aware that they have the option to have sex, but it does come with risks of pregnancy, sexual diseases, physical, social, and mental harm as well. Although this is true, these students are equipped with information that students who practice abstinence are not. Students who choose to perform in sex typically go in without a shield if they were taught abstinence, but students who were taught about protection were often more safe than the other students. The students who were taught protection often go into sex with some form of defense against pregnancy and sexual diseases. Some forms of protection are condoms and different types of birth control. Studies ultimately show that schools who practice abstinence have higher pregnancy rates than those who practice protection and education.

So how do we relate this back to drug abuse? Well, if a person who is told to go “cold turkey,” they may end up having serious withdrawal effects. They will have a much harder time fighting back, and they are more likely to give in to the urges in the end. Despite this, people who choose to slowly wane off drugs by using substitutes are usually better off. They struggle too, but the end results are more conclusive. If someone I loved was struggling with drug abuse, I would tell them to try using the harm reduction model. Therapy and other forms of assistance which recognize a weakness and need for the drugs help many drug abusers. Realizing the problem is the start to the solution. We cannot tell opioid abusers to simply go out and “quit.” It is unimaginably hard. Instead, suggestions such as talk, drug, and other forms of therapy may be of higher quality because it lets the addict know it is okay to struggle and it is okay to be weak. It is also okay to cave in. One cannot give up, but there are easier methods to help someone cope.

Overall, I believe that the harm reduction method is much more effective than the abstinence model. The harm reduction model allows drug users to have a weakness. It allows them to be more human. Abstinence practice often come across as impossible. In fact, statistics show that the abstinence model is much less effective than the harm reduction model. So instead of trying to hide the truth and make life harder, let’s start giving the facts and educating people. Once people can admit they have a problem and they know all about it, it can make quitting that much easier.

Which plan do you think is better, Core Techs?



First Impression Post: Week 7

--Original published at *Psych 105*

Addiction is a rampant problem that impacts countless individuals and their families. Thankfully, as time has progressed, the understanding of how addiction works has increased and treatments have become more developed. Yet, there is no simple answer in regards to how to fix it; there is no perfect answer. At this point in time, there are two main models as to how addiction is treated: the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. While the abstinence model focuses mainly on cutting the addiction cold turkey in a group setting, like a 12 step program, the harm reduction model focuses on taking away some of the risky behavior associated with addiction. It seems to me that ultimately the abstinence model would be the most ideal, as the drug is completely removed from the individual’s life. However, we do not live in a perfect world and the physiological need for the drug can be stronger than will-power. The harm reduction model provides a means for the addicted person to begin the process of making healthier life decisions. While it is not completely eradicating the drug, it allows the addict to live in a safer environment. Through needle exchange programs and testing for laced drugs, the greater risk to society is reduced. It is more realistic to emphasize a program like this because it takes into account that no matter what, there will always be individuals that are going to be under the influence of the drug. The use of the harm reduction model could also be a means to progress into an abstinence treatment. Rather than choosing one or the other, utilizing both models could be the most beneficial.

If I were in the situation where one of my loved ones was grappling with addiction, I would want him or her to try and utilize the services in the harm reduction model. Addiction has biological effects as well, so services in the harm reduction model have the potential to help the individual work down from their addiction. It allows them to take steps his or herself; as well as take the steps necessary to continue treatment while remaining in a relatively safer environment. A concept that I learned in my social work class is that the services that are provided by this model, such as the needle exchange, are meant to be practiced without stigma. Essentially, the individuals that run these programs do so to provide a space where those who do have a problem can come without being judged or ostracized. This can make a world of difference for an individual who has been battling with drug addiction for an extended period of time. I would not recommend to the loved one that this path is the end all be all, but rather have it serve as a means to get the footing needed in order to make positive lifestyle and health changes that promote sobriety.

Week 7 First response to option 1

--Original published at Noah's Psy 105A blog

One controversial issue in America today is whether or not marijuana should be legalized.

The legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use is a positive thing. People who oppose the legalization of marijuana claim that it is dangerous and has a negative effect on health. These claims have no scientific research to support them and are therefore inconsequential. It is because of these unfounded bans that there isn’t any research being done. The laws as they are currently written prevent scientist from researching the health effects of marijuana. One proven positive effect that the legalization of recreational marijuana has is it becomes a very profitable source tax revenue. Since legalizing weed the Colorado State government has made a tremendous amount of money off of taxing the sale of marijuana at the licensed weed dispensaries. Legalizing marijuana will effectively reduce, if not completely eliminate, violence and criminal activity related to the illegality smuggling of marijuana. If weed became readily available it would no longer be profitable to smuggle and sell it illegally, the risk would no longer be worth it. The only real negative to the legalization of marijuana is the possibility that marijuana could have currently undiscovered adverse effects on health, but as previously stated under the current laws it is illegal to perform the research that would answer this and other important questions. Because there is no quantifiable evidence to justify the criminalization of marijuana and legalization has plenty of positive effects it only stands to reason that marijuana should be legalized.

First Impression Post 7

--Original published at JD's Blog

Overall, I feel that the use of marijuana should be legal, but highly regulated. Medical marijuana has been clinically shown to help people get through tough diseases and ease the pain of certain treatments. If the drug is grown in a highly regulated facility following specific guidelines presented and checked by the government, then it would be safe. There should be specific guidelines exhibited by the patient prior to the drug being administered in mass quantities. Concerning recreational use of this drug, it should also be legal, but highly regulated. Under the same conditions, if Pot is generated under federal standards it would be a lot safer than if it was produced elsewhere. If they had a limit to the amount one could purchase at a regulated marijuana store as well as a limit to the amount one could have on their person at a specific time. Similar to smoking there should be places that one cannot partake in these types of activities.  It would reduce crime involving the illegal growth and distribution of the drug. It could also backfire if people use the drug too much causing a drop in motivation drastically affecting the economy of that state or area. Another policy that could help the government as well as deter the amount of Marijuana one purchases would be to tax it very highly. This would help generate money that the government could use to regulate the usage and proper enforcement for this drug. At first when it becomes legal, there would be a major spike in its usage because people would finally be able to use it freely. However, eventually the drug usuage would most likely die down. It would also stop the transfer of mass legally purchased drugs being shipped to illegal areas to be sold to those who do not have the same privileges.

First Impression Post #5 (Week 7)

--Original published at Jessie's PSY105 Blog

For this week’s first impression post I chose to focus on Option 1. In my opinion, there is a massive difference between the use of marijuana for medicinal vs. recreational use. Medicinally, there are health benefits for using marijuana. They have been tested and proven to help certain ailments and doctors prescribe them to help their patients. While the recreational use of marijuana is desired, I do not believe that it does anything to benefit ones health. It can, in fact, be detrimental to one’s health by affecting the brain in different ways (one of which, I believe, is that it causes a loss of brain cells).

In terms of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, there are pros and cons. It can be very beneficial in terms of anxiety or stress (I believe). Doctors often prescribe this and there have been numerous studies and trials to ensure that it can be beneficial to ones health. However, there are some concerns that once it has been prescribed to you, and you begin to use it as directed, an addiction to the drug may form. While this is a concern, I personally believe that if prescribed and used correctly, the benefits outweigh the potential problems.

In terms of using marijuana for recreational purposes, there are also both pros and cons. On the pro’s side, it is a pleasurable experience for those who engage in it. Making it legal would make it easier for people who enjoy marijuana to use it. However, making it would legal would most likely increase the amount that it is used. There are numerous negative health effects that can arise from using marijuana, especially if done too frequently. Once used, even if someone just wants to ‘give it a try’ since its legal, an addiction can form that brings about health problems. In my opinion, the cons for legalizing marijuana greatly outweigh the pros.

First Impression Post #7

--Original published at Sarah's Blog

Two approaches for treating addiction are the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. The abstinence model is a person who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol go through a sobriety process to fully treat the addiction. The harm reduction model is when methods like needle-exchanging and substituting harmful drugs to lessen the harmful consequences.  Out of the two approaches, I believe that the abstinence model is more effective in treating addiction. If I had to recommend a method to a loved one, I would definitely go with the abstinence model. The harm-reduction model is a good method, but it does not eliminate the intake of the drug and the person who is addicted is still taking a version of the drug. Abstinence is a very efficient model, but only over time and with dedication. Slowly taking someone off of a drug is more efficient than completely coming off of it at once. Completely abstaining from something as powerful as alcohol or any type of drug is really dangerous and can cause major withdrawal and other symptoms.

Using both of the models in conjunction with each other may be the best way to help someone who is struggling with addiction. Abstinence is the end goal, but to decrease sudden withdrawal symptoms the caretaker might use a form of harm-reduction. Some people are not able to abstain immediately because of the severity of the addiction, but abstinence is the process that a person suffering from alcohol or drug addiction can use to become totally sober.

First Impression Week 7

--Original published at Kate's College Blog

For this weeks first impression post, I am choosing option 2 which examines the two models to treat addiction. All across the globe, people battle addictions to drugs and alcohol. There are two prominent approaches to treat addiction, the abstinence model and the harm reduction model. The abstinence model is when the person totally refrains from the addictive behavior. A common abstinence model example that many people use are AA meetings and programs. On the other hand, the harm reduction model does not focus on whether the individual partakes in the addictive activity, but rather wants to reduce the potential negative problems that are associated with it. Common examples of the harm reduction model are drug replacement therapy, needle exchange programs, and substitutions for “less harmful drugs”.

The abstinence model seems like the better approach to me. If someone was battling addiction and wanted to treat it, they should want to take the approach that keeps them clean completely, not just clean from the negative problems that could happen to them. The abstinence model focuses on the persons road to being completely sober or clean and I feel like if you want to treat addiction, the only way to do that is to completely cut it out of your life. If you still are using the drugs or drinking excessively, then your road to treat your addiction is not going to be fixed. If a loved one needed help with an addition, I would recommend following the abstinence model and try AA programs and meetings. They have a role in my family that they fill, and their addiction would not just be affecting them, but affecting all their loved ones around them. If they wanted to be an active member of the family and have connections with the rest of the family, they would have to cut out their addiction completely to be a better mom, dad, sister, or brother.

First Impression Post #6

--Original published at Miguel's College Blog

Addiction is an incredibly long and arduous process that not only affects the addict, but also those that are close to the addict. The two approaches to treating addiction is the abstinence and the harm reduction model. One focuses on removing the substances away from the addict in order to start recovery, while the other focuses on slowly reducing the negative consequences that come with substance abuse.

I would recommend the abstinence approach because I think that it is the most powerful way to battle the temptation of addiction. The abstinence approach can combat addiction very well only if the person is willing to sacrifice to get better. The sacrifice of the substance for the well being of their life is already one step closer to beating addiction. That being said, the abstinence approach should not be taken as a cold, hard process. The approach should be taken with flexibility and at a gradual pace because the addict’s body needs to process the changes that is happening. The gradual pace allows the body to get used to the weaning off of the substance and by the end, the body can function without depending on the substance. The only way to beat an addiction is to stop the dependency of the substance and that requires the user to stop taking the substance.

I think the harm reduction approach is still a good method in helping an addict while they are still using, but not as an approach to stop them from using. The harm reduction approach may be used as a stepping stone to help addicts make the right decision to get help, however the abstinence approach will be more effective in stopping substance use. For example, giving users prescriptions for drug replacements such as suboxone may help the user wean off of their substance, but then their body is still dependent on some sort of stimulus to function. Empowering the addict to take action and stop using is the only way to combat an addiction and stop dependency.

First Impression Post #6 (Week 7):

--Original published at Sierra's College Blog

For this week’s first impression post, I have chosen to discuss option one, dealing with the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana. Recently, several states have legalized recreational marijuana, and many more states have been considering it as well. The legalization of marijuana has been very controversial, which has led to celebration and condemnation. To determine whether or not the legalization of marijuana, medically and recreationally, is positive for society, one has to weigh the pros and cons.

With some background information, I do not believe recreational marijuana should be legalized. There are both pros and cons for people who want to legalize marijuana. Some pros for the legalization of marijuana include profitable sales, less population in the jails, and no more harm to someone compared to other drugs. People can make money from selling marijuana, like in Colorado. Many people go to jail after being caught with or smoking marijuana. Keeping these inmates in jail is a very expensive process. Many people think marijuana is no worse than alcohol or tobacco products too. Lastly, legalizing marijuana will mean less kids will try to hide this activity from their parents or the law. Even with these pros, I believe marijuana should not be legalized due to the cons. Legalizing marijuana can be bad for one’s health, influence the younger generations, and allows addictions to occur. How could the police be able to detect the amount of marijuana someone is using or determine a limit for drivers? Putting marijuana in brownies or other candies could confuse smaller children and even cause harm. Also, I believe legalizing it will create many consequences in the future. You are not allowed to come to school or work while high, so legalizing it will increase the chances of problems. Lastly, the legalization of marijuana can introduce problems including laced weed.

Even though I believe recreational marijuana should not be legalized, I do not have such a strong opinion on medical marijuana. I do believe it should not be used unless it is needed in extreme cases, is monitored by practitioners, and is used in small increments. There are advantages of using medical weed to lower pain levels, decrease overdoses, and have no harmful effects. The marijuana could be used for patients who have high pain levels and need them to be reduced. Doctors could stop prescribing other expensive pills, which could become deadly if taken too many times, and prescriptions. With the pros, there are also cons. The drug can be addictive if the patient is dependent upon it. With this is mind, how will the doctors lean the patient, who uses marijuana to cause less pain, off the medication? The patient could go through withdrawal and crave marijuana. Also, the age of the patient could matter and be problematic. Having a younger child exposed to marijuana could damage the brain and its functions as well. Lastly, smoking marijuana can cause harm to the body, just like smoking tobacco. The irritation from using medical marijuana may cause more damage than planned.  I believe the only way to see whether or not marijuana will sufficiently be beneficial in the medical field is to experiment with it; however this leads to the concern of ethical experimentation. Lastly, I need to learn more about weed’s abilities to fix medical issues in the long run to justify the use of medical marijuana

Overall, I believe marijuana should not be legalized for recreational use, and should be limited for medical use.