Health Canada Statement on the Health Risks to Youth of Marijuana and Prescription Drug Use

August 16, 2014

OTTAWA, Aug. 16, 2014 /CNW/ – Health Canada regularly undertakes
evidence-based communications to raise awareness about serious public
health issues. From 2007 to 2012, for example, as part of the
government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, the Department developed the
DrugsNot4Me mass media campaign. The Department also engages with
partners on smoking cessation campaigns like “Break It Off”.

As standard practice, the Department seeks partnerships and invites
health professionals to share their insights and experiences to ensure
that we have captured the risks accurately. The intent of the campaigns
is educational and the material is based on evidence and science.

The proposed focus, messages and concepts for such campaigns are
routinely informed by consultation sessions where health professional
groups identify sound public health messaging.

The prevalence and health risks of marijuana and prescription drug use
and abuse make them compelling public health issues in Canada.

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug among Canadian youth
today. According to the 2012-2013 Canadian Youth Smoking Survey, one
in five students reported using marijuana in the year preceding the
survey. The average age of initiation being 14 years old.

Prescription drug abuse is also having a devastating impact on
communities and people of all ages across the country. According to a
2013 report of the International Narcotics Control Board, Canada is now
the second-largest per capita consumer of prescription opioids, behind
only by the United States.

In 2012, about 1 million youth, aged 15 to 24 years, reported having
used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the past 12 months.

Health Canada will continue to work to find ways to raise awareness
among parents and youth about the health risks of marijuana and
prescription drug abuse. We will not speculate on future campaigns.

SOURCE Health Canada

Source: PR Newswire

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