Recent Articles:

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.

A “gold standard” study finds deleting Facebook is great for your mental health

January 31, 2019

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

January 30, 2019

FDA’s opioids adviser accuses agency of having ‘direct’ link to crisis

January 25, 2019

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 22, 2019

Former Insys CEO pleads guilty to opioid kickback scheme

January 17, 2019

Resolve to Detox Your Social Circle

January 16, 2019

Easing test anxiety boosts low-income students’ biology grades

January 15, 2019

Craving insight into addiction

January 14, 2019

New book looks at the heart of Edmonton’s opioid epidemic through stories and art

January 11, 2019

People with low self-esteem tend to seek support in ways that backfire, study finds

January 10, 2019

Ban on cigarette sales in NYC pharmacies starts Jan. 1

January 9, 2019

Too many problems? Maybe coping isn’t the answer

January 8, 2019

Muslim youth group cleans up national parks amid government shutdown

January 7, 2019

For-profit college cancels $500M in student debt after fraud allegations

January 4, 2019

Half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14

January 3, 2019

Sexting Teens

December 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-Free

December 17, 2018

Amnesty International: Indigenous Peoples’ rights

December 17, 2018

New Canadians sworn in as Winnipeg museum celebrates International Human Rights Day

December 13, 2018

Statement by the Prime Minister on Human Rights Day

December 12, 2018

Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in America, CDC confirms

December 12, 2018

The Illustrated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 11, 2018

Homeless man with terminal cancer donates to holiday toy drive

December 10, 2018

Malala Yousafzai Honored by Harvard for Her Work Promoting Girls’ Education

December 7, 2018

Boy gets Colorado town to overturn snowball fight ban

December 6, 2018

Fortnite addiction is forcing kids into video game rehab

December 5, 2018

Clarity on Cannabis

December 4, 2018

Mental health education recommended for RCMP members following inquest

November 30, 2018

Social Media – 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

November 28, 2018

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

November 27, 2018

#GIVINGTUESDAY TODAY ONLY YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED

November 27, 2018

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

November 26, 2018

#ENDViolence in schools

November 23, 2018

Statement by Minister MacLeod on National Child Day

November 22, 2018

November 20th marks National Children’s Day across Canada

November 21, 2018

National Child Day

November 20, 2018

Facts & Figures

November 16, 2018

The Push For Change®

November 15, 2018

Winter Giving 101

November 14, 2018

First came the stroke, then the inspiration…

November 13, 2018

Canadian Youth Speakers Bureau: Scott Hammell

November 9, 2018

John Connors’ brilliant IFTA Award speech

November 9, 2018

Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone

November 8, 2018

This teen pizzeria employee traveled 3 hours to deliver pizza to a man with terminal cancer

November 6, 2018

Video captures joyful law student’s reaction to passing her bar exam

November 5, 2018

More teens in Sask. are smokers than in any other province: Health Canada survey

November 5, 2018

MADD Canada launches annual red ribbon campaign in Halifax

November 2, 2018

Young cannabis users who quit see improvements in memory, ability to learn

October 31, 2018

Nova Scotia’s Health Department says talks underway for province’s first overdose prevention site

October 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 fentanyl

October 25, 2018

Canadians share powerful stories of teachers who made lasting impressions

October 24, 2018

What exactly are you inhaling when you vape?

October 23, 2018

Study ADHD Medication Overdoses

June 14, 2018

A Cry for Guidance

January 18, 2018

Vaping 101 – Health Relation, Benefits, Dangers, Fun Facts and More

January 2, 2018

Your Friend’s Substance Abuse

September 15, 2017

Depression

September 15, 2017

Methamphetamines

September 15, 2017

Alcohol

September 15, 2017

25 Healthy Ways to Feel Better

September 15, 2017

New York Passes a Ban on ‘Conversion Therapy’ After Years-Long Efforts

January 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?’”

www.nytimes.com