PEERS Coalition discusses students and substance use

A myth and fact sheet on common misconceptions of substance use.

Rebecca Dominguez, Web Editor

Marijuana is often misconstrued as being either a gateway drug with innumerable harms or a recreational drug that can have spiritual benefits.

The People Empowering Each Other to Realize Success Coalition addressed the misconceptions about marijuana, alcohol and e-cigarettes in their “Let’s be Blunt” workshop Oct. 1 in the Bertolini Student Activities Center.PEERS members Lizzy Sell and Kylie Baker coordinated and presented the event.

Sell and Baker discussed common myths regarding students and substances. The presentation offered quick facts and allowed input from the audience on their knowledge of substances.

While the presentation focused heavily on marijuana, there was information on alcohol and e-cigarettes too. The hosts talked about alcohol and caffeine misconceptions and the dangers involved with mixing them.

“Caffeine makes you feel awake but also leads to not being able to feel the effects of the alcohol. So many people end up drinking more than they realize,” Baker said.

They  discussed the consequences of e-cigarette. Though there haven’t been many studies, e-cigs can have negative health effects and are not proven to help quit smoking.

“There is no regulation for the ingredients in the liquid for e-cigarettes,” Sell said.

The workshop also included guest speaker Dr. Nancy Piotrowski, a clinical psychologist specializing in addictions and substance abuse.

Piotrowski answered audience questions and discussed the relations between the mind and substances.

“What you think a drug does for you can cause some of the results. Your mind and expectations are partly in control of what a drug does for you,” Piotrowski said.

Piotrowski examined the belief that using substances leads to creativity. She said that many people see a connection when there may not be one and give credit when they already possessed creativity. 

“Don’t make attribution errors; meaning, don’t give credit for something that’s not the cause,” Piotrowski said.

Overall, the workshop suggested that students should ask themselves if using substances is worth the health risk.

“It’s probable that marijuana will become legal in California, and we are just trying to show there are benefits and there are risks,” Sell said.