Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene
The Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene would like to remind the community of the dangers of marijuana. The Department of Mental Hygiene also does not support the legalization or use of marijuana due to these dangers including the many negative effects marijuana has on the brain. The adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to the effects of marijuana, and can negatively impact both brain function and brain development. Marijuana has not only immediate effects like distorted perception, difficulty problem solving, and loss of motor coordination, but also effects with long-term use such as respiratory infection, impaired memory, and exposure to cancer-causing compounds. For more information about marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs including over the counter medications, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at www.samhsa.gov/atod.
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is also opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Joining the New York State Association of County Health Officials, they have requested lawmakers to proceed thoughtfully to address the potential health concerns shared by public health entities and the general public. Moving swiftly, without building in essential protections and providing resources necessary to mitigate the impact of legal marijuana, could create another preventable public health crisis caused by the use of a legal drug. More scientific research is needed to determine the true public health risks which could result from legalization.
Those seeking addiction services including medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder can call either of the Chautauqua County Behavioral Health Clinics to make an appointment for an assessment, or in an emergency, stop in for open access services. The Jamestown Clinic can be reached at (716) 661-8330 or call the Dunkirk Clinic at (716) 363-3550. Please reach out to the clinics for further information about services available to the community and to schedule an appointment for services.