Below are past articles previously published in Drugs & Addiction Magazine. These are filled with current and relevant information and statistics and can be used as great conversation starters with youth.
It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!January 30, 2019
Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback schemeJanuary 17, 2019
Resolve to Detox Your Social CircleJanuary 16, 2019
Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology gradesJanuary 15, 2019
Craving insight into addictionJanuary 14, 2019
People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study findsJanuary 10, 2019
Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1January 9, 2019
Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answerJanuary 8, 2019
Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14January 3, 2019
Sexting TeensDecember 19, 2018
Screen Addiction: Today’s Biggest Threat to Schooling?December 19, 2018
Texting Etiquette & Safety: 5 Rules for Keeping Your Kids & Teens Secure & Drama-FreeDecember 17, 2018
Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rightsDecember 17, 2018
New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights DayDecember 13, 2018
Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights DayDecember 12, 2018
Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirmsDecember 12, 2018
The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human RightsDecember 11, 2018
Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy driveDecember 10, 2018
Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight banDecember 6, 2018
Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehabDecember 5, 2018
Clarity on CannabisDecember 4, 2018
Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquestNovember 30, 2018
Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based ViolenceNovember 28, 2018
Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based ViolenceNovember 27, 2018
#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHEDNovember 27, 2018
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based ViolenceNovember 26, 2018
#ENDViolence in schoolsNovember 23, 2018
Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child DayNovember 22, 2018
November 20th marks National Children’s Day across CanadaNovember 21, 2018
National Child DayNovember 20, 2018
Facts & FiguresNovember 16, 2018
The Push For Change®November 15, 2018
Winter Giving 101November 14, 2018
First came the stroke, then the inspiration…November 13, 2018
Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott HammellNovember 9, 2018
John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speechNovember 9, 2018
Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help PhoneNovember 8, 2018
This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancerNovember 6, 2018
Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar examNovember 5, 2018
MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in HalifaxNovember 2, 2018
Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention siteOctober 31, 2018
Crystal meth eclipsing opioids on the Prairies: ‘There’s no lack of meth on the street’October 29, 2018
Opioids Don’t Discriminate: An Interactive Experience.October 26, 2018
Guelph police warn drug users of spike in purple fentanylOctober 25, 2018
What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?October 23, 2018
Study ADHD Medication OverdosesJune 14, 2018
A Cry for GuidanceJanuary 18, 2018
Your Friend’s Substance AbuseSeptember 15, 2017
DepressionSeptember 15, 2017
MethamphetaminesSeptember 15, 2017
AlcoholSeptember 15, 2017
25 Healthy Ways to Feel BetterSeptember 15, 2017
New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long EffortsJanuary 22, 2019
By Michael Gold
Between 2012 and 2018, 14 states and Washington, D.C., passed laws prohibiting “conversion therapy” for minors. Deep-blue New York was not among them.
That finally changed this month when the State Legislature voted overwhelmingly to bar mental health professionals from working to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
As jurisdictions across the country began solidifying protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, conversion therapy became part of the public discourse. In 2016, L.G.B.T. groups denounced the Republican Party for adopting a platform that seemed to lend support to the technique, which had long been discredited by the medical establishment.
Vice President Mike Pence has been particularly dogged by criticism; the groups say Mr. Pence had previously been in favor of conversion therapy, a stance that he has denied.
New York lawmakers had been proposing bills addressing conversion therapy since 2003. The measures languished until this month, when Democrats took control of the Legislature for the first time in a decade.
The Legislature this month also passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or Genda, which would add gender identity as a protected class under New York’s discrimination and hate crimes laws.
The bills were the first pieces of L.G.B.T.-specific legislation to pass the Senate since lawmakers voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2011, State Senator Brad Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, said.
“It was a quantum leap forward,” said Mr. Hoylman, who is the only out gay lawmaker in the Senate and who sponsored both bills. “I hope we can build on that.”
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has said he would sign both bills.
“So-called L.G.B.T.Q. conversion therapy is a fraudulent practice that has done untold harm to too many young people,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.
Conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, has been widely denounced by medical professional organizations as traumatizing and harmful to minors. The American Academy of Pediatrics warned against it as early as 1993, saying it reinforced anxiety and shame. In 2009, the American Psychological Association condemned the practice in a report, saying that conversion therapy was predicated on the idea that homosexuality was a mental disorder.
But despite the consensus that conversion therapy was unsound, it has remained fairly common, said Mathew Shurka, who underwent conversion therapy and works as an activist fighting against it.
An estimated 698,000 L.G.B.T. adults in the United States have received conversion therapy, according to research by the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law, which studies L.G.B.T. issues. About half of them underwent conversion therapy as teenagers.
Mr. Shurka was among them. He was 16 years old in 2004 when his father took him to a therapist who said he could make gay people straight, and he spent five years undergoing the purported treatment.
Conversion therapy assumes that everyone is a heterosexual, Mr. Shurka said, and that same-sex attraction is caused by childhood trauma. The therapists say, “If you can just heal that trauma and understand what your role is as a male or female, you will naturally start to be attracted to the opposite sex,” he said.
Mr. Shurka said he was told to separate from his mother and sister for three years to make sure that he did not look at women as his peers.
Mr. Shurka worked with Mr. Hoylman and Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick, a Manhattan Democrat who was New York’s first out gay legislator, when they introduced a bill to ban conversion therapy in the state in 2013.
At that time, only California had passed a similar law, a year earlier. Months after the New York bill was introduced, New Jersey passed its own legislation barring conversion therapy.
Yet New York stood still. The bill cleared the Democrat-led Assembly, but was blocked in the Republican-controlled Senate, where it never received a floor vote.
For years, Mr. Hoylman kept reintroducing the bill. Each time, his efforts met the same result, while laws were passed in traditional liberal bastions, like Connecticut and Washington, D.C., and also approved through a bipartisan effort in New Hampshire. There, a Republican legislator sponsored the bill and a Republican governor signed it into law.
“New York most certainly lagged behind,” Mr. Hoylman said.
Over the years, Mr. Shurka and other advocates worked to educate state lawmakers about conversion therapy. Many of the people he spoke with did not believe conversion therapy was a modern problem, Mr. Shurka said. He blamed that lack of awareness on the stigma associated with the practice.
“If your parents are putting you into it, they’re not telling their neighbors or friends,” Mr. Shurka said. “It’s not really talked about, and even for the person that’s in it.”
Mr. Cuomo addressed the issue in 2016, when he prevented conversion therapy from being covered by insurers. A number of cities and counties in the state also passed bans, including New York City in 2017.
This year, Mr. Hoylman’s bill was passed as part of a slate of policies that Democrats are seeking to enact now that they have full control of the Legislature after winning a majority in the Senate in November.
The conversion therapy ban received strong bipartisan support, passing the Assembly 134 to 3 and the Senate 57 to 4.
Mr. Shurka, who was in Albany for the Senate vote, said he was “shocked” by the result, which he said was pivotal.
“For me, conversion therapy is the source of all L.G.B.T. rights,” he said. “It’s still that question of ‘Can someone change?’”