Summit Behavioral Health will host a lunch and discussion session for professional counselors titled, “Drug Trends: The Evolution of Marijuana” on Friday, November 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Summit Outpatient facility at 4065 Quakerbridge Road, West Windsor Township in New Jersey.
The session will explore how the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana will affect counselors now that much of the stigma of using the drug is no longer a factor. Some counselors are concerned that public perception of marijuana as a dangerous drug has changed because of the prevalence of medical marijuana facilities in many states.
Paul Lavella Jr., Director of Alumni Services at Summit Behavioral Health will lead the discussion. Lavella Jr. has a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and is licensed as a Professional Counselor and Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He interacts daily with teenagers, adults, and families impacted by addiction, and is focused on helping them through the long process of recovery.
“The big challenge for professional counselors is convincing marijuana users that long-term smoking of the drug has damaging physical and psychological consequences,” Lavella Jr. stated. “Marijuana use has gone mainstream, so in states where recreational use is legal, counselors may face more resistance from people who don’t see anything wrong with smoking marijuana.”
But the debate about the legalization of marijuana is not one-sided, as some counselors believe that legal status of the drug will not impact the number of people who will seek treatment to help them stop smoking marijuana. As an example, they cite the fact that the legality of drinking alcohol has not stopped people who drink to excess from seeking to counsel.
“That’s why we are having this session,” Lavella Jr. added. “There are many sides to this debate, but there’s no doubt that public perception of marijuana use has changed over the past few years. We want to explore how that affects our role as counselors, and whether or not we will face more resistance with patients, and whether or not legalization will cause more people to seek treatment. It’s time we get up to speed on this current trend.”
Seating is limited, so anyone interested in attending the discussion should contact Jayme Poalise at (609) 471-7922, or send an email to [email protected].
Summit Behavioral Health is an addiction treatment center that offers drug and alcohol medical detox, inpatient treatment in a residential facility, and intensive and non-intensive outpatient treatment for patients who have successfully completed the residential program. Summit’s integrative treatment combines cognitive-behavioral and emotion-based therapy techniques with 12-step facilitation and relapse prevention.
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