How To Talk To Teens About Cannabis

Article by Elianna Lev, Lift News

How To Talk To Teens About Cannabis Spoiler: Don't say stuff like 'this is your brain on drugs' By Elianna Lev

A grassroots network of Canadian youth is aiming to change the conversation around teens and cannabis. The Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) launched a resource guide this week providing educators and parents pointers on how to openly talk to young people about the drug as Canada moves closer to legalization.

Their bottom line is that we need to get away from the 1980s-style abstinence campaigns — like the infamous fried egg and “I learned it by watching you” ads — and move toward “Just Say Know.”

Titled “The Sensible Cannabis Education: A Toolkit for Educating Youth,” it encourages open, non-judgmental dialogue with youth. It’s a sharp shift from the tone of traditional education and government campaigns, which generally focus on abstinence and fear-mongering.

“What people fail to recognize when we have those abstinence-based models is that there are young people that are choosing to use cannabis, despite the warnings that they’ve been told,” CSSDP vice-chair Michelle Thiessen tells Lift News. “By not providing education to those people, that’s a huge disservice. We should be equipping all people with the information they need to make choices that are best for themselves.”

Marijuana use is notably widespread among Canadian youth. According to 2015 Statistics Canada data, the average age of first-time cannabis use was 17 for both males and females. Cannabis use was most prevalent among youth between the ages of 15 and 19 at 21 per cent, and young adults aged 20 to 24 at 30 per cent.

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