Winooski Prevention Blog

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?

CounterBalance is a statewide campaign to help end tobacco's influence on Vermont's youth.  Youth and adult volunteers conducted assessments of 767 retail stores in communities throughout the state.

Although other types of tobacco marketing have been restricted, convenience stores and other retail outlets are still places where children are certain to see tobacco products and ads. In many cases, a young person is exposed to tobacco marketing without even going inside the store.

So, what’s new in your world?

As the holidays approach, the sense of hope and promise for the future permeates many of our lives and reminds me of a story about hope and the need for change.

Some of you may have heard me tell it before. This story is about a middle school student who I will call “Oliver” who helped me with a project about a year ago.