SPECIAL SERIES: Breaking Down Addiction
with Dr. Tom Brophy

Promoting addiction awareness and education is a huge part of our mission. Gaiser’s medical director shares insights on the science of addiction and the recovery process here every month.



Q: My teenager is using a vape. Is this an addiction?

A: If you have a child at home engaging in vaping, it is important to know the contents of the vape cartridge. They often are filled with the drug nicotine, plus flavoring. This is the case for vapes such as Juul, Blu, etc. In many vapes, the concentration of nicotine is much higher than a traditional cigarette. Other vapes can be filled with marijuana products, which can become an addiction if it turns into a destructive element in the person's life. The teenage brain is still developing and is at significantly higher risk pertaining to the rituals of vape usage. The self-medication aspect involved in vape usage also may contribute to developing an addiction. Talk with your child in a nonjudgmental manner and be sure to educate yourself on the topic so that you can effectively pass that education on to them.

About Dr. Brophy
C. Thomas Brophy, DO, medical director of the Gaiser Center, is one of the region’s few physicians board certified in both Addiction Medicine and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Brophy is experienced in treating the acute aspects of addiction, such as overdose and withdrawal, in the emergency departments of local hospitals. In the outpatient setting, he employs evidence-based medicine and leading-edge Medication Assisted Treatment options to bring hope and stability to individuals combatting addiction. Placing a premium on addiction prevention and awareness, he launched the nonprofit Opiate Reform Initiative to educate the public and reduce the stigma associated with addiction, and provides drug and alcohol education in schools through Gaiser’s #AddictionAware program.


Have a question for Dr. Brophy? Email us at inquiries@gaisercenter.com.

Interested in having Dr. Brophy speak at your school? Email us at addictionaware@gaisercenter.com.

Need to talk with a trained addiction counselor? Fill out our confidential online form to schedule an appointment or click the button below to schedule an evaluation.




The Ellen O’Brien Gaiser Center, a nonprofit organization, is a licensed PA addiction treatment center.
The Gaiser Center has been helping those struggling with addiction find recovery since 1971.

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