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Heidi A. Swan Cannabis - Induced Psychosis: The Personal Stories Behind A NIGHT IN JAIL
Heidi Anderson-Swan has been interviewed by Fox.com and NBC-Los Angeles about her work to educate youth about marijuana and its increased risk to mental illnesses (see Videos & Articles in my Profile).
As a teenager, she experienced Cannabis-Induced Psychosis (a diagnosis in the DSM-5). She used marijuana occasionally, her brother used it regularly. He has schizophrenia. Together, they co-authored the first, and only, fictional story which illustrates Cannabis - Induced Psychosis. Entitled A Night In Jail, the story is inspired by her brother’s true life as a mentally ill homeless drug addict who went to jail eighteen times. This gritty cautionary tale has been adapted into a play and produced as a student-led short film.
Heidi is an advocate who speaks about the mental health harms of teen marijuana use, including its relationship to homelessness. Her work has brought her to D.C. where, along with a group of advocates from MomsStrong.org, and led by long-time Schizophrenia Researcher, Dr. Christine Miller, she met with the Drug Advisors for then-Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Dianne Feinstein.
She has worked as a consultant with Los Angeles Defense Attorney, Bob Schwartz.
Heidi was a keynote speaker for Alcoholics and Substance Providers of New York State. She has presented for the 2nd Annual Teaching Cannabis Awareness and Prevention Virtual Conference 2021 (co - chaired by Stanford’s Bonnie Halpern), Community Coalitions of Virginia, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Long Beach and Solano County, and many other organizations.
In partnership with Behavioral Health Services (a contractor with Los Angeles County Substance Abuse Prevention and Control), she has co - sponsored several in-person and virtual events; participants included: the actor Stephen Lang (of Avatar), Dr. Stephen Taylor (NBA Medical Director), Dr. Ken Finn (editor of first medical textbook about cannabis as medicine), Dr. Erik Messamore (Professor at NEOMED, Pharmacologist), Dr. Christine Miller (long-time Schizophrenia Researcher), Dr. Aaron Weiner (Addiction Specialist), Darren Prince (agent for Magic Johnson and Dennis Rodman) and Dr. Jeremey Martinez (Associate Medical Director Co-Occurring Disorders, Homeless Outreach LA County Dept of Mental Health).
Heidi is proud to support her friends and partners in education: she is on the Advisory Board for Johnny’s Ambassadors; and a Board Member of Every Brain Matters and Parents Opposed to Pot.
A former actress, Heidi is known for voicing Jill Valentine, a character from the Resident Evil franchise.
WHY I SPEAK ON THIS TOPIC
Most people think teen marijuana use is harmless. But the science shows it can actually do long-term, and sometimes irreparable, damage to a person's brain. Is your teenager's brain worth the risk?
Our former Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, warned about the risk of teen marijuana use on August 29, 2019. He said:
Frequent marijuana use during adolescence is associated with:
- Changes in the areas of the brain involved in attention, memory, decision-making, and motivation. Deficits in attention and memory have been detected in marijuana-using teens even after a month of abstinence27.
- Impaired learning in adolescents. Chronic use is linked to declines in IQ, school performance that jeopardizes professional and social achievements, and life satisfaction28.
- Increased rates of school absence and drop-out, as well as suicide attempts29.
Risk for and early onset of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia. The risk for psychotic disorders increases with frequency of use, potency of the marijuana product, and as the age at first use decreases30.
- Other substance use31, 32. In 2017, teens 12-17 reporting frequent use of marijuana showed a 130% greater likelihood of misusing opioids23.
Marijuana’s increasingly widespread availability in multiple and highly potent forms, coupled with a false and dangerous perception of safety among youth, merits a nationwide call to action.
Every young person must understand the risks of use. Heidi wants to educate youth so they can have the best chance at a lifetime of mental wellness.