Going to Pot: Legalized Addiction?

April 15th, 2015Avani G. Dilger, MEd, MA, LPC, BC-DMT, CAC IIIFounder, Director, "Natural Highs" Alternative Substance Abuse Prevention/Intervention ProgramDavid Rosenthal, M.D.Psychiatrist Matthew Tomatz, MA, MM, LPC, CACIII, CGPCounseling and Psychological Services, University of Colorado; Private Practice: Boulder, COKirk Quitter, MEd Principal, New Vista High SchoolHost: Jack Lavino

About The Presentation

With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, there are many concerns and unknowns for our youth and our communities. As a professional panel, we will be providing up to date information on the issues facing our teens, young adults and parents in our school districts regarding the impact of regular availability and use of pot. Our big concern is the impact on developing brains. The long term affects of a stronger more available product. The lack of stability in standardized products and the inconsistent potency of available pot. We will also discuss the options we have to re-direct our youth away from drugs and alcohol to more energetic and experiential alternatives. These presentations will explore, some options we have as therapist and clergy to guide our community with the most current information, experience and data on the impact legalizing pot will have on an already rampant concern over addiction.

About the Presenters

Avani G. Dilger, MEd, MA, LPC, BC-DMT, CAC III, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Certified Addiction Counselor Supervisor, a Somatic Psychotherapist, and a Motivational Interviewing Trainer, who specializes in substance abuse prevention and treatment with adults, teens and their families. She has done extensive research, training, and clinical practice in traditional and alternative approaches to substance abuse prevention and treatment. She is the founder and director of the “Natural Highs – Healthy Alternatives to Drugs & Alcohol” Program, an integrative substance abuse prevention and intervention program for teens that includes interactive classes, a peer mentor program, and parent education. In addition to facilitating the Natural Highs program at several high schools in Boulder, Avani teaches at Naropa University and works as a substance abuse counselor with teens, families and adults. She has been leading Motivational Interviewing trainings nationwide in Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse treatment.

David Rosenthal, M.D. is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology.  He earned his medical degree at the University of Iowa School of Medicine in 1986, and completed his residency in adult psychiatry and fellowship training in child psychiatry at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.  He practiced psychiatry in various settings in California for many years and treated thousands of patients with ADHD before co-authoring the books ADHD: A Survival Guide for Parents and Teachers , Teaching Young Children with ADHD: Successful Strategies and Practical Interventions for PreK-3 , and The School Counselor’s Guide to ADHD:  What to Know and Do to Help Your Students.  He has lectured widely on ADHD and mood disorders, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver, where he teaches psychopharmacology.  He is available for consultations, evaluations, and treatment planning.

Matthew Tomatz, MA, MM, LPC, CACIII, CGP,  works as a professional counselor and certified addictions counsellor. He is in private practice in Boulder, CO and he is the substance abuse program coordinator for the University of Colorado – Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). In addition to working as a generalist, Matthew specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders and supports the recovery community at the University of Colorado. Much of this work is done in groups where Matthew brings specialized skills as a Certified Group Psychotherapist. Matthew holds a Master of Arts in Psychology (Contemplative Psychotherapy) from Naropa University, a Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music, and a Bachelor of Music with a certification to teach from the University of Houston. Prior to joining CAPS in 2008, Matthew worked in a variety of settings including drug and alcohol treatment programs, an adult offender therapy program, and The Colorado AIDS Project. Before entering the field of psychotherapy, he studied music education and trumpet performance and worked as assistant dean for the Aspen Music Festival and School. Matthew is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches popular classes within the Boulder community. Because of this diversified training, Matthew’s clinical work includes a strong focus on body-oriented interventions, and he often works with musicians as they develop their performance abilities.

 Kirk Quitter MEd, began his career in education teaching math and science in Hermosillo, Mexico and then in rural Arizona, working with underserved and at-risk populations.  He then served as the director of Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy, a fine and performing arts/college prep high school in Flagstaff Arizona for 8 years before relocating to Boulder in 2009.  Since then he has been the principal at New Vista High School.

New Vista is BVSD’s non-traditional high school.  The school focuses on a rigorous academic curriculum in the context of a community based, equitable learning environment.  The school encourages year round volunteerism and service learning.  Restorative justice plays a large role in conflict resolution and the school’s discipline policies.  Kirk has seen how first medical marijuana, and then the legalization of the drug, has directly impacted the youth of Boulder County and his school’s community.

Additional Resources

Avani Dilger
[email protected]
(303) 859-5778

David Rosenthal
[email protected]

Matthew Tomatz, MA, LPC, CACIII, CGP
Counselor, Substance Abuse Coordinator
Counseling and Psychological Services
University of Colorado at Boulder
Center for Community, Room S440
104 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
303-492-1397; 303-492-2234 (Fax)
[email protected]

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