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Marijuana facts and myths topic of discussion

By Staff | Jun 2, 2015

Marijuana and the myths and facts surrounding it are the focus of a discussion Thursday.

“Marijuana and the Teenage Brain” – a Lunch and Learn event – will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Cape Coral Police Department. Hosted by the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida, the session is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring a lunch.

“We’re going to talk about marijuana and teens – facts against myths, medical marijuana,” Deborah Comella, the executive director, said. “It’s going to focus on how marijuana impacts teenagers.”

She cited as an example that the human brain does not fully develop until the age of 25.

“Kids think it’s safe, they think it cures cancer. We need to bring some truth to the conversation,” she said of the event. “And how, perhaps, we can begin to develop some more effective prevention.”

The panel discussion will feature: Dr. Jessica Spencer, for the Manatee County Substance Abuse Coalition; Leslie Robinson, chief executive officer of Street Chicks in Recovery; and Pamela Peters, a professor at Florida SouthWestern State College who is on the local coalition’s board of directors.

Spencer deals in addictions and preventions, and she spoke against Florida Amendment 2.

“She worked on the Amendment 2 campaign (Vote No on 2),” Comella said of the group that was against legalizing medical marijuana. “She’s very knowledgeable on the latest factual data.”

Street Chicks in Recovery is a Cape-based media company that employs and teaches job skills to women in recovery. Robinson will present a public service announcement that it made for families.

“I like it a lot because it’s a very open-ended discussion,” she said of the company’s new PSA. “It basically says what we always say, which is talk to your kids.”

Peters will present a logical model based on data from Lee County citizens age 12 and over.

“I think that the one thing we can all agree on it marijuana is not good for teenagers,” Comella said. “We would just like to present the dangers that we’ve learned from other states so far.”

The coalition hosts about two or three Lunch and Learn events per year.

“This particular session is, ‘Let’s take a look at what it does to our kids,'” she said.

“Our kids are our future,” Comella added.

Individuals employed in the substance abuse and prevention industries are expected to attend, as well as non-profits that work with the youth in the community, guardian ad litems, churches and more.

“We have a lot of addiction professionals who are planning to come,” she said.

The event offers 1.5 continuing education hours for those eligible.

Attendees are asked to RSVP by emailing executivedir@drugfreeswfl.org; it is not required.

“They can just show up,” Comella said.

For more information, call 239-931-9317 or visit online at: www.drugfreeswfl.org.

The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.