Learning about marijuana

ACES, GVPD partner for educational program

By Celia Harmelink | 4/12/17 10:24pm

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GVL/Mackenzie Bush- Katrina Rast speaks about the truths, lies, and consequences of Marijuana Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

by Mackenzie Bush / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Alcohol & Other Drugs Campus Education Services (ACES) organization and the Grand Valley State University Police Department teamed up to present the program “Marijuana: Truth, Lies and Consequences” Tuesday, April 11, in the Kirkhof Center.

ACES’ goal is to educate students on drug and alcohol usage, focusing on prevention, intervention and recovery.

Throughout the presentation, topics related to marijuana were brought to light, including methods of consumption, the measuring of weight and potency, and the short- and long-term harmful effects of marijuana. Current laws and consequences of using illegal substances were also discussed.

Something students might not realize is that smoking marijuana can have the same effects as drinking and be just as dangerous when it comes to driving.

“People think more about drinking and driving versus smoking and driving or using edibles and driving,” said GVPD Officer Collin Wallace.

Katrina Rast, a doctoral-level intern at the University Counseling Center, said ACES offers multiple programs throughout the year similar to this one.

“We also run the educational workshops for individuals who have been caught on campus either smoking or using drugs who are typically funneled through those programs,” she said. “It just provides a little extra education surrounding alcohol and drug use. What we typically do is just try to educate so students are making healthy and responsible choices regarding drugs and alcohol.”

Education on drug and alcohol usage can be useful for students because they will likely run into these issues living on a college campus. Rast said just knowing the risks involved and the health consequences could ultimately help students if they are faced with a difficult situation.

“It’s just important to kind of know what you’re getting into, so that’s why we kind of stress the education,” Rast said. “Any time you use marijuana or decide to drink alcohol, you do increase your risks of both health and legal consequences, so just be aware of that and use responsibly.”

Wallace reiterated the importance of education.

“Ultimately, we really try to not make anybody feel bad if that’s a choice they want to make,” Wallace said. “We would just prefer that you have all the knowledge that we have before you make those decisions so you can do it safely and responsibly.”

Students who are struggling with either alcohol or drug usage should not be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources available through GVSU for students to take advantage of, such as ACES’ 12-step meetings for drugs and alcohol offered in the Kirkhof Center and the University Counseling Center.

“What I would say is if you’re struggling, please come to the counseling center, please reach out for help,” Rast said. “This isn’t a struggle you have to do alone. Please just ask for help because we do have the services available and we are willing and able to help students who want to change their lives.”

To learn more or to seek help, visit www.gvsu.edu/aces/.

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