What Your Patients are Hearing

Pot use and addiction; Steve Jobs's daughter on her father


As cannabis continues to be legalized across many states, the reality that some users are addicts is receiving greater notice. The prospect of easier and legal availability has sparked (pun intended) public health concerns. “Cannabis is potentially a real public health problem,” says Mark A.R. Kleiman, PhD, a professor of public policy at New York University.

Man smoking marijuana like a cigarette Scott Harms/iStockphoto

“It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9% of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40%” (The Atlantic).

It’s no secret that Steve Jobs was a driven person who could be aloof and cruel to business associates. Now, with the publication of a memoir by his daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, his cold path through life is revealed to have extended to the four walls of the family home. In the memoir “Small Fry,” Ms. Brennan-Jobs paints a picture of a father who, after accepting court-ordered child support, was emotionally hurtful.

Ms. Brennan-Jobs claims that he told her that she “smelled like a toilet,” when she visited Mr. Jobs on his deathbed. The remark was based on fact, as she later acknowledged (The New York Times).

A romantic relationship that stands the test of time is not a static union. There is give and take, communication, good and not-so good times, and adjustment to the changes that life brings.

But when one partner is physically present but mentally absent, the load can be crushing. Spouses of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another progressive disorder that robs a person of their mental acuity and personality know this hell.

Less well-known, but just as devastating, is the state of “minimal consciousness” – where someone with a brain injury is left immobile and incapable of independent self-care, but who still may perceive the world and, in their own way, respond to the world and those in it.

A recent article explores the relationship of car crash victim Ian Jordon and his wife, Hilary. This past April marked the couple’s 45th wedding anniversary. For more than 30 of those years, Ian has been bedridden and unresponsive after a September 1987 car accident at the end of a shift as a police officer. He was 35 years old (Globe and Mail).

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that it is exploring the possibility that legislation governing academic enrichment grants might permit the use of the funds to purchase guns for schools.

The move has been greeted with hostility from Democrats and many educators, who decry the diversion of funds that are typically used for after school programs mental health support to a program that, they say, is fueled by the desire to appease the National Rifle Association (PBS News Hour).

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