Kennedy speaks to Stockton students on mental health, addiction


Mental health advocate and former U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy speaks to Associate Professor of Physical Therapy LeeAnn Guenthera’s physical therapy class at Stockton University on Thursday morning. Kennedy focused his talk on the importance of mental as well as physical wellness. Including stories of his own struggles with drug addiction, he spoke about his efforts to improve mental health and addiction services, especially opioid addiction. Thursday, March 29

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — As recreational marijuana legalization and decriminalization in New Jersey becomes more of a possibility, advocates in drug prevention and treatment fields are bringing up potential consequences of that industry.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, of Brigantine, and Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, will hold a panel discussion from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at Stockton University’s Campus Center Theater on the middle road between incarceration and legalization.

Kennedy is the author of “A Common Struggle,” in which he details his own fight with mental illness and addiction while growing up as the youngest son of Ted Kennedy and while he served as a Democratic representative in Congress for Rhode Island.

Serving on President Donald Trump’s opioid epidemic commission, Kennedy has advocated for equal health care access and treatment for mental health and substance-use disorders, with a focus on today’s heroin and opioid epidemic.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana is a nonprofit based in Alexandria, Virginia, that opposes legalization and commercialization of marijuana and champions policies and efforts to decrease marijuana use overall.

Kennedy and Sabet will talk about situations in legal states, mental health effects of marijuana use, marijuana potency and price trends in legal and illegal markets, related emergency room and hospital admissions, the cost of implementing legalization from law enforcement to regulators, the cost to employers, youth use, drugged driving and more.

The event is free and open to the public. It will include a Q&A. See

Contact: 609-272-7022 Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

Staff Writer

Previously interned and reported for, The Asbury Park Press, The Boston Globe

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