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MPATTC Adolescent Resources

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Chasing the Clouds: Adolescents and Vaping

Adolescent use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) remains steady. Teenagers can easily recite the health risks of cigarette smoking, however, awareness of the risks of vaping and the impact of nicotine on development is variable. This 90-minute webinar will explore how adolescent brain development is altered by nicotine or co-use of nicotine and cannabis. We invite educators, mental health and substance use professionals, and family members to join us in learning about the possible consequences of adolescent vaping.

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Cannabis Webinar Series: The Green Adolescent Brain | Technology Transfer Centers (

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, cannabis use rates increased in 2020, with almost 50 million individuals 12 or older reporting use of cannabis in the past year. This increase is reflected in the state-specific data for HHS Region 8 in five of the six states (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah). With this data in mind, the Mountain Plains ATTC is sponsoring a ten-part webinar series that will address and review the latest science for cannabis including: prevention and treatment issues; public policy; medical marijuana; and special populations and cannabis (adolescents, women and maternal health, older adults, and individuals with Serious Mental Illness).

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Neurodiversity Among Youth | Technology Transfer Centers (

  • Learn how to use the Building Blocks of Brain Development to understand typical neurodevelopment and neurodiversity among youth.
  • Develop skills in applying the screening and assessment strategies of the Building Blocks of Brain Development to serve youth with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Examine the underlying skill deficits of "can'ts" (instead of "won'ts") which allows for antecedent management/interventions versus consequence-based management in serving youth.

Presenter: Karen McAvoy, PsyD, is dually credentialed as a clinical and school psychologist. She practiced as a Pediatric Psychologist at Seattle and Denver Children’s Hospitals and as the Director of the Center for Concussion with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. She also practiced as a School Psychologist for 20 years serving as Coordinator of Mental Health, Coordinator of Manifestation Determinations, and Coordinator of the Brain Injury Team at Cherry Creek School District. After 20 years on the frontlines in a school district, Dr. McAvoy then served as a consultant for an additional 10 years to the Colorado Department of Education - providing trainings to multi-disciplinary school teams across the state of Colorado on the impact of brain injury and neuro-diversity on learning and behavior.

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Traumatic Brain Injury & SUD: Brain Injury, Addictions and the Importance of Family Involvement | Technology Transfer Centers (

This webinar will seek to describe the complex dilemma families find themselves in when a loved one has TBI and further when that loved one develops the additional problem of SUD. The impact of SUD on TBI recovery will be reviewed as well as the impact of SUD on ongoing cognitive and physical rehabilitation. Models of family therapy will be described taking into account the complexity of working with a person who has the combined problem of TBI and SUD.

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Co-occurring Disorders in the Adolescent Population | Technology Transfer Centers (

This 90-minute presentation will provide in-depth information surrounding adolescent co-occurring disorders, including the presence and interaction of mental illness and substance use disorders. Attendees will be able to recognize signs of these conditions and behavioral presentation. You will learn about the circular impact that mental health and substance abuse have on each other and treatment approaches to treat these conditions. Time will be spent reviewing a case study to apply your learning from this presentation to a real case.

Session Objectives:

  • Learn the signs and symptoms of common adolescent substance use disorders and mental health conditions
  • Identify risk and protective factors for mental illness, substance use, and co-occurring conditions
  • Discuss the circular impact that mental health and substance abuse have on each other
  • Learn about evidence-based and best practice models for treating co-occurring conditions

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Cannabis Webinar Series: The Neurobiology of Addiction and Prevention | Technology Transfer Centers (

The growing gap between biological and environmental evolution presents a unique opportunity for exploring the human brain, its strengths, and vulnerabilities in an interactive and stimulating way. To really understand substance use disorders (and begin to increase resiliency and understand how to prevent them) we must first understand the brain, especially the evolutionary constraints that have shaped its fundamental structures and functions. This presentation has been developed and repeatedly tested with different audiences by the presenter as a friendly yet rigorous science-based prevention tool. The presentation builds on the growing neuroscientific understanding of human behavior to explain the intrinsic vulnerabilities that emerge from the interaction between biological and environmental factors, the impact that drugs of abuse have on brain circuitry and behavior, and opportunities to engage in primary and secondary prevention of substance use disorder.

Learning objectives

  1. Participants will understand the properties that make the brain a robust, yet fragile organ, and the influence of substances on the properties of the brain.
  2. Participants will develop an initial understanding of the neuroscience of addiction, including the impact of drugs on the reward circuits, addiction as a brain disease, inter-individual differences, and the increased vulnerability of the brain during adolescence, a particularly active developmental phase.
  3. Participants will be able to identify risks and protective factors, as well as evidence-based strategies to inject resilience (and support prevention) in the system.

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