Winooski Prevention Blog

By Ellen Oppenheim

While some of my favorite platforms, such as Buzzfeed, Refinery29 and even Cosmo, usually use their popularity for good, they also seem to promote a lifestyle of binge drinking and normalizing alcoholic behavior. I am not a saint and I am not privy to a lifestyle of booze, but I can say as a 23-year-old sober alcoholic, these marketing campaigns need to stop.

Similarly to tobacco and alcohol, the more prevalent and accessible marijuana is to youth, the more likely they will be to engage in substance use. With low perception of harm and increased accessibility, it becomes crucial to know and share the facts about how marijuana use can affect the developing brain, academic performance, socialization, and future goals.

Save the date for National Prescription Drug Take-back Day! Show you care. Don’t Share!

Saturday, October 22nd, 10am – 2pm at the Winooski Police Department
Go to to see a list of all drop off locations in Vermont.

Why should you properly dispose of or lock up unused or expired medications?

Marijuana targets the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brains that make us “human”--where our ability to feel empathy resides.

Over time and with heavy use of marijuana, the brain’s architecture will change. A normal, healthy brain will show an intricate web of neurons, with larger clusters, all throughout--looking something like wool roving that has been pulled and stretched.

The brain of a heavy user will look more like an old spider web, a few clumps of neurons with vast empty gaps in between.

In the United States, we seem to be continually revisiting the question of individual versus community responsibility for human behavior.

These ideas may not be as far apart as they seem, even though memes on Facebook might suggest otherwise.

The behavioral health issues we face as a country—including depression, anxiety, bullying, substance use, and others—afflict individuals, and individuals have control over their own behavior.

The next question becomes, how do we as a society influence the behavior of individuals to address these issues?