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Gateway Awareness Effort Takes Aim at Marijuana Ambiguities

CHICAGO, May 13, 2014

Curiosity about marijuana appears to be at an all-time high. Opinion polls reveal the majority of American adults now support legalization of marijuana. Already the most popular illicit drug among Americans with more than 17 million past-month users according to SAMHSA, legalization of marijuana for recreational and medical use by some states opens the door for millions of new Americans to try pot for the first time.

"Research shows when people use drugs that affect dopamine in the brain, such as opiates, alcohol and marijuana, it can have long-term consequences on the executive function area of the brain, inhibiting one's ability to plan long-term and delay gratification in service of bigger goals," explains Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment.

As more and more Americans are lighting up, Gateway Treatment Centers are tempering the hype with a public awareness effort highlighting the real-life repercussions of marijuana use. Gateway's concerted effort precedes summer—when teens are generally more likely to try marijuana for first time—and it encompasses state-wide county-by-county community outreach, an informative online resource center as well as a continuing education component for professionals.

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., behavioral healthcare and nursing professionals can earn 1 CE and learn from Gateway's addiction experts via an online webinar titled "Altered States: Marijuana, the Brain and Legalization." The hour-long training followed by question and answer session with the trainers will award each participant who logs on 1 CE NAADAC for the following Illinois license designations: LCSW, LSW, LCPC, LPC and Nursing.

Well-versed in the treatment of substance use disorders, Gateway trainers Dr. John Larson and Karen Wolownik Albert, Program Director, Gateway Treatment Center in Lake Villa, will cover all the bases—from marijuana addiction and changes marijuana uses creates in the brain to long-term implications of extended marijuana use, and much more.

More information and resources about health risks related to marijuana use are available at recovergateway.org/marijuana. For teens and adults struggling with substance abuse issues, Gateway Treatment Centers offer specialized alcohol and drug treatment programs that instill the tools and knowledge necessary for individuals to live fulfilling, productive lives without the use alcohol or drugs.

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Reporters and Editors, for more information, please call Leslie Colman, Marketing Director, at 630-776-5725.