Monday, December 22, 2014


 This note was sent in today from our friend Marshall Smith.

I did the survey and I encourage you to do it. It will take about 5 minutes.

Will the feedback change any minds in Coastal Health? Maybe. It's always worth a try.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for all your great work, past, present and future!

Dear Colleague,

I have been asked to forward this survey to my network in the field.  They are looking for responses from people in the field, users of services, families, workplaces etc.   I feel it is important for the voice of recovery to be reflected in this.  Please take a moment to participate in this survey and forward it to your network if you feel its appropriate.  Thank you.

Marshall Smith

Director, Corporate Development &
Community Relations

Cedars at Cobble Hill
3741 Holland Ave
Cobble Hill BC

Saturday, November 22, 2014


It's time to plan and budget for the annual "Recovery New Year's Eve Celebration" hosted by the West Coast Area of Narcotics Anonymous.

You are invited to the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown on December 31st to ring in the New Year.  This annual event attracts over 700 guests of all ages and gives people in recovery an opportunity to celebrate the holiday in a safe fun environment. 

  • 9 pm to 12:30 am
  • RoundHouse in Yaletown, two minutes from the skytrain
  • Stage 1 - 80's, Rock and Dance Music
  • Stage 2 - House Music, Techno, Urban beats
  • Stage 3 - Live Music, Open Mic
  • Room 4 - Kids Zone
  • Room 5 - Marathon 12 Step Meeting
*A discount on tickets are provided for group sales to treatment centres, from $25 to $15, these tickets must be purchased in a group by your facility

*Do you have a talented client? they are welcome to sing or play music on Stage 3, contact Don P to book the stage time by calling 778-892-5125

*to order bulk tickets at a discounted rate please contact Max at 604-992-4897

Displaying New Years Poster Jpg.jpg

Wednesday, November 5, 2014



from Pamela McColl

Voters in five Colorado cities ``The Marijuana Experiment State`` - CaƱon City, Lakewood, Palisade, Palmer Lake and Ramah – voted to ban recreational pot sales in their jurisdiction on election day November 4 th . 2014.

The majority of cities in Colorado that have now opted out of pot - for a total of 161 representing 70% of the state.

“Legalization in practice will always be the biggest enemy of legalization,” Kevin Sabet Smart Approaches to Marijuana (USA) and affiliate organization to Smart Approaches to Marijuana Canada

Details for Colorado’s rejection of pot extents with a further 11.74% with a moratoriums on pot use in place, leaving only 20% ( 47) with licensing allowed as reported by SAM Colorado co-ordinate Bob Doyle.

Pot was further rejected in the State of Florida on November 4 th . 2014 with the defeat of the legalization of medical marijuana initiative. The win came with a well fought campaign run under the banner “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot”.

In Washington DC voters passed a medi-pot initiative which does not include the sale of marijuana. The campaign slogan for the pro marijuana side of the debate was: “Legalization Ends Discrimination”.

In Oregon, the pro-pot people pumped at least $7.6 million into the campaign, versus around $168,000 on our side. The Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates the legalization of ALL drugs, spent at least $2.4 million in Oregon. The Peter Lewis family invested almost $2 million there.

Oregon's vote means that users can possess a half pound of marijuana at a time, plus 4 plants which can produce additional pounds. This is 8 times the amount of marijuana that is legal in Colorado and Washington.​

Alaska votes to legalize with a small margin, but the Marijuana Policy Project invested over $1 million there vs $150,000 against legalization.

In the state of California 80% of towns, cities, including San Jose, the 3 rd largest city in California and the 10 th . largest city in the USA, have passed medical marijuana bans. Their right to do so has been upheld by the Supreme Court of California.

8.2% of Canadians use pot and 7% of Americans.

Both Canada and the USA are signatories to the United Nations The Rights of the Child Treaty which rejects the move to more permissive drug policies.

SAM Canada

Friday, October 31, 2014


From Al Arsenault via Drug Free America:

Portugal decriminalized
drugs. Results? Use by teens doubled in a decade with nearly a fifth of 1...


Did you know that The United Way Calgary and Area funds our Family Healing Program 100%? They have been instrumental in making a difference in how recovery effects families as a whole. We could not do what we do without them. Come out and join us for our 2nd annual Family and Friends Fundraising Dinner. November 6th starting at 6pm will be an evening with a 3 course dinner, live acoustic music,inspiring speeches and the gift of paying it forward. All funds raised will go to our friends at The United Way Calgary and Area.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


VisionQuest Recovery Society
Annual Fundraiser

Guest Speaker:

MLA: Dr. Darryl Plecas
Abbotsford South
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General for Crime Reduction

MC - Brian Coxford - Global TV
Trevor & Lorena—Comedy Magic Show
Silent Auction

Saturday, November 22 2014
6:00 PM—11:00 PM
Immaculate Conception Parrish
8842-119 St, Delta BC
Tickets $50/person—Call 604-946-1841

Saturday, September 20, 2014


 Recovering addicts and supporters rally in Vancouver for 3rd annual Recovery Day




Park board vice chair Constance Barnes reads the proclamation for Recovery Day in Vancouver on Saturday


VANCOUVER — Organizers of Recovery Day, an annual event held in 25 cities across Canada to celebrate overcoming addiction, are hoping the federal government will proclaim a Recovery Month, to further raise awareness about the disease.

As loud electronic music boomed from Queen Elizabeth Plaza in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, dozens of recovering addicts and their supporters gathered for the city’s third annual Recovery Day, before marching to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Among them was park board vice chair Constance Barnes, whose own struggle with alcohol addiction was thrown into the spotlight five years ago when she was arrested for drinking and driving.

”So many people are still in hiding because of the stigma. It’s brutal. This is a disease just like any other,” said Barnes, adding she would like to see a centre for excellence for addiction built in Vancouver.
“Recovery can be from anything — food, bulimia, sex, porn — it’s not just alcohol and drugs.”

In 2009, Barnes was arrested outside of a home in south Vancouver after she fell asleep at the wheel and hit a residential home. She later issued a statement, apologizing for her actions, which had followed a time of “deep personal struggle.”

She has since received help and counselling that looks at the genealogy of family addiction. At the Orchard Recovery and Treatment Center on Bowen Island, Barnes said she found the therapy enlightening, and also discovered that she was predisposed to the disease.

Barnes, who is seeking the federal NDP nomination in Vancouver Centre, said by speaking out about addiction, she hopes more people will feel comfortable talking about it with friends, family and coworkers.

“We still don’t ask whether this is a disease and we need to be asking that question.”

Recovery Day spokeswoman Lorinda Strang said 25 cities across Canada are holding similar events, but at different times of the month.

“This is about hope. It’s about freedom. It’s about courage and perseverance, everything that it means to be in recovery,” she said. “We are not aligned with any one group, but we want people to know there are many ways to get into recovery. Whatever the path, the ultimate goal is freedom from addiction.”

In 2012, Mayor Gregor Robertson proclaimed Recovery Day in conjunction with Vancouver resident David Berner, executive director of the Drug Prevention Network of Canada.

The U.S. government recognizes September as Recovery Month, and Strang, who is also the executive director of Orchard Recovery and Treatment Center, said they will be asking the federal government to do something similar here in Canada.

Friday, September 19, 2014


The Edgewood 2014 Conference runs October 2nd and 3d in Nanaimo with quite an array of knowledgeable and inspirational speakers.

Please click through here to go to the Edgewood site and get all the details and registration.

We bring your attention in particular to Dr. Marc Fishman, whose presentation is entitled, "Marijuana - Whats' the Big Deal?" Dr. Fishman will point out that this is a big deal and not a good one.

Dr. Marc Fishman is an addiction psychiatrist and a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He leads Maryland Treatment Centers, a regional behavioral healthcare provider, which includes several inpatient and outpatient programs for adolescents, adults and young adults. In that role he has been involved in development and implementation of innovative programming in addiction and co-occurring disorder treatment. He is a national expert on youth addiction treatment and treatment matching. His academic work has focused on models of care and treatment outcomes for addictions in youth, particular opioid dependence. He is a past President of the Maryland Society of Addiction Medicine.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Medical Matters: The health and social benefits of abstaining from cannabis

From Ireland via The Odd Squad

Medical Matters: The health and social benefits of abstaining from cannabis

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 11:59 
Where possible, doctors strive to practice evidence-based medicine. But we are human, and not immune to the influence of the unusual or extreme case. What makes one patient stand out more than others may be a feature of the disease, the patient, or our own sensitivities.

As a medical student, the details of the first patient I saw with psychosis have remained with me. He was not much younger than me, and had started university some months earlier. 

He had been admitted to hospital with a florid psychosis, convinced he was Christ.

Not unlike the many adolescents starting college this month, the freedom from home and the lights of a big city meant new experiences. Among these was the easy availability of cannabis; he had smoked a number of joints in the previous weeks. 

Unfortunately, the expert opinion was that his use of cannabis precipitated the psychotic episode.
Now this was the first and only time I have seen cannabis-induced psychosis, so in the greater scheme of things it is nothing more than medical anecdote. Nonetheless, the details of the case have stayed with me to emerge from the memory banks following the publication of some related research last week.

Drug statistics

The large meta-analysis – a study of combined previous research – showed that people who are daily users of cannabis before the age of 17 are more than 60 per cent less likely to complete secondary school or to complete a degree compared with those who have never used the drug.
Published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, the authors also found that daily users of cannabis during adolescence are seven times more likely to attempt suicide and are eight times as likely to use other illicit drugs in later life.

In this study, a team of Australian and New Zealand researchers combined data on some 3,765 participants who used cannabis from three large, long-running longitudinal studies to find out more about the link between the frequency of cannabis use before the age of 17 and seven developmental outcomes up to the age of 30. 

The outcomes measured were: completing high school; obtaining a university degree; cannabis dependence; use of other illicit drugs; suicide attempt; depression; and welfare dependence. However, they did not include psychosis or a diagnosis of schizophrenia in their outcomes.

But in a linked editorial Merete Nordentoft, professor of psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, notes: “Cannabis use in adolescence has also been associated with increased risk of psychosis in adulthood.

“Cannabis use is associated with earlier onset of psychosis, and in patients with cannabis use and psychosis, risk of continuous psychotic symptoms is higher in those who continue to use cannabis than in those who stop.” 

And a 2007 comprehensive analysis of the relationship between cannabis use and the development of psychosis in later life concluded that the risk of psychosis increased by some 40 per cent in people who have used cannabis, with the risk rising the more the drug is used.

The authors from Cardiff University and the University of Bristol estimated that some 14 per cent of cases of schizophrenia in young adults could be prevented if cannabis was not available.
There is evidence to show that brain development during adolescence can be harmed by frequent cannabis use and that cognitive functions can be reduced permanently. This impairment and the low energy and reduced initiative associated with persistent cannabis use are the likely reasons for the poor educational outcomes shown in the recent research.

With global moves to decriminalise and legalise cannabis gaining momentum, it is important to protect adolescents from gaining easier access to the drug. 

Otherwise we will simply increase the numbers of young people having difficulty completing school and college, and add to those facing problems achieving social and personal maturation.

This latest research provides strong evidence that the delay or prevention of cannabis use is likely to have broad health and social benefits.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giving Back

On Monday afternoon, I had the pleasure of visiting one of three houses run by the Giving Back Recovery Society.

RayJay Wainman, the Executive Director, is like like the bosses at several other local successful recovery centres, a guy who has been "there and back. " His lessons were learned the inevitable hard way and they appear to stuck and stayed. I met RayJay on Saturday on the Queen Elizabeth Plaza at Recovery Day 2014.

The society, which currently houses over 32 adult men, is largely focused on relapse prevention and the program includes daily groups, 12 step meetings both on site and at local meeting places and lots of community volunteer work.

This is an old-fashioned clean and sober program and I liked what I saw.

Check out their website and please consider welcoming them into the recovery community and extending a hand in any way you can.

You can also find their website link in the right hand column of this page.

Monday, September 15, 2014


D.C. voters should reject the rush to legalize marijuana

September 14 at 6:57 PM
THE DISTRICT’S law decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana went into effect only in July, but already voters are being asked to take the even more far-reaching step of legalizing the drug. We supported the elimination of harsh criminal penalties; jailing people who smoked pot and saddling them with criminal records made no sense and resulted in the unfair targeting of young black men. 

But the rush to legalize marijuana gives us — and we hope voters — serious pause. Marijuana, as proponents of legalization argue, may or may not be less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, both legal, but it is not harmless. Questions exist, so it would be prudent for the District not to make a change that could well prove to be misguided until more is known. Foremost here are the experiences and lessons learned by states that have opted for legalization.

Initiative No. 71, the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014, will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot and, if approved, would make it lawful for a person 21 years or older to possess up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, grow up to six plants at home and transfer without payment up to one ounce of marijuana to another person 21 years or older. Because of the District’s restrictions on what is subject to ballot approval, the initiative would not allow for the sale of marijuana, but initiative backers say they would expect the D.C. Council to address this and other issues with legislation.

It’s instructive that the council, in assessing the city’s approach to marijuana enforcement, chose the more cautious path of decriminalization rather than outright legalization. Voters would do well to consider the reasons for that caution.

The American Medical Association has come out against legalization, arguing that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” The active ingredient in marijuana has been linked to memory problems, impaired thinking and weakened immune systems, not to mention it acts as a gateway to more dangerous drugs. Dangers are more pronounced for young people. A study just published in the Lancet Psychiatry reported that teenagers who smoke marijuana daily are 60 percent less likely to complete high school. Advocates of legalization say it would not apply to young people but with legalization inevitably comes a message of approval.

It’s not been a year since Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana use and, as the Smart Approaches to Marijuana has catalogued, there have been negative consequences, including increased instances of impaired driving and increased use by youth. With marijuana already decriminalized, there’s no reason for the District to rush the next step; why not at least give Colorado a bit more time to provide lessons?

D.C. voters should vote no on Initiative No. 71 on Nov. 4.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


One of the principals of recovery work has always been "You've got to give it away to keep it."

Here is it at play, live and in your community.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Study: Teens who smoke weed daily are 60% less likely to complete high school than those who never use


September 9
Teenagers who smoke marijuana daily are over 60 percent less likely to complete high school than those who never use. They're also 60 percent less likely to graduate college and seven times more likely to attempt suicide. Those are the startling conclusions of a new study of adolescent cannabis use out today in The Lancet Psychiatry, a British journal of health research.

Researchers gathered data on the frequency of cannabis use among 3,725 students from Australia and New Zealand, and then looked at the students' developmental outcomes up to the age of 30. They found "clear and consistent associations between frequency of cannabis use during adolescence and most young adult outcomes investigated, even after controlling for 53 potential confounding factors including age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, use of other drugs, and mental illness."

Significantly, they found that the risks for negative outcomes increased with the frequency of cannabis use. In a conference call, study co-author Edmund Sillins said that the relationship between cannabis use and negative outcomes is significant even at low levels of use (e.g., less than monthly), and that "the results suggest that there may not be a threshold where use can be deemed safe" for teens.

 According to the study, there are significant relationships between cannabis use and high school graduation, college graduation, suicide attempts, cannabis dependency (not wholly surprising), and other illicit drug use.

The chart plots the odds ratios of the frequency of cannabis use on various outcomes, compared to not using cannabis at all. A value of 1 would indicate equal odds of a given outcome, 2 would indicate an outcome twice as likely as you'd get from not using cannabis at all, and a value less than 1 would indicate decreased odds of a given outcome.

So for instance, a person who uses cannabis less than monthly would have slightly lower odds of graduating high school or getting a college degree, compared to a person who doesn't use at all. Increased use further decreases this likelihood. On the other hand, a person who uses cannabis monthly would have roughly 4 times the likelihood of becoming dependent on cannabis as a person who doesn't use at all.

It's worth noting that for many of these indicators, the confidence intervals (error bars on the chart) are fairly broad, meaning that there's some degree of imprecision in these numbers.
You can expect these findings to be highly cited by opponents of liberalized marijuana laws, like the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Smart Approaches to Marijuana project. But it's important to put them in proper context.

First, the causality isn't 100 percent clear. The researchers did a fantastic job of trying to account for a number of confounding factors. But particularly when it comes to the educational outcomes, there are a lot of factors at play. For instance, if a teacher knows or even suspects that a certain kid is using drugs, that may predispose the teacher against that student. "Teachers are very likely to stigmatize drug users," says Joseph Palamar, co-author of another recent study comparing teen marijuana and alcohol use. "That stereotype gives kids problems, and that kid's not gonna want to go to class."

Palamar also says that because marijuana "is an illegal drug, you have to buy it in an illegal manner, and then you’re exposed to the black market. Marijuana use is affiliating you with other kids, some of whom might be problematic – people more likely to question authority. You become affiliated with things that might have a negative impact on your education."

Moreover, Palamar's research shows that because of marijuana's legal status, teen cannabis users are much more likely to get into trouble with the police than teen alcohol users. And in many cases, if you have a drug conviction on your record, you become ineligible for college aid. "If you get caught with drugs, you're not able to go to college," he told me.
In other words, many of the problems associated with teen cannabis use are likely a function of the drug's illegal status.

That said, it's completely reasonable to accept that heavy use of any drug as a teenager - be it weed, alcohol, or tobacco - is going to lead to negative consequences down the line. This in itself isn't an argument for prohibition of cannabis. For that, you'd need to demonstrate a link between relaxed cannabis laws and increased teen drug use, with the negative social consequences that go along with it. But multiple studies have shown a flat or even negative relationship between medical marijuana laws and teen cannabis use, for instance. And very early data out of Colorado shows a slight dip in teen use since the state passed a legalization measure in 2012.

But the study does lend strong support to the case for efforts to keep the drug out of the hands of teens, and it does make a case for closely monitoring adolescent marijuana use in states that do legalize it.
Thinking more broadly about the effects of drug prohibition, you have to weigh the consequences of teen drug use against the societal consequences of failed drug war policies - skyrocketing incarceration rates and countless families and communities decimated by the illegal drug trade and its overzealous opponents.