Statement by Rita Notarandrea, CEO, on International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
Ottawa, June 26, 2018 — Today, with the United Nations, governments, NGOs and citizens from around the world, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is proud to recognize the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Led by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the 2018 theme, building on the success of last year, is a worthy one: “Listen First – Listening to children and youth is the first step to help them grow safely.” This important initiative calls for increased support for evidence-based programs aimed at preventing the use of drugs and encourages investment in the well-being of children and youth, their families and their communities.
CCSA understands that adolescence is an opportune time to begin prevention efforts—free of judgment or scare tactics—to ensure young people have the information they need to make healthy, informed decisions. Later this summer, CCSA will be releasing a communications guide for youth allies to talk to young people about cannabis use. Our new Cannabis Communications Guide combines our knowledge and independent research with what young people have told us about what they want to know and what are the most effective ways to tell them.
In fact, CCSA has a long history of opening lines of communication with youth through focus groups, studies, panels and presentations. We continue to engage youth from across the country on topics such as binge drinking, alcohol harms, cannabis and drug use prevention in an effort to expand the body of available evidence. We listen.
Because of these initiatives, a clearer picture of youth perceptions on critical topics emerged. More and more, youth want unbiased, evidence-based information on everything from low-risk alcohol and substance use to the dangers of impaired driving to the harms of cannabis use and support services for substance use disorders. We will use this research to inform and develop new products aimed at educating children and youth, and dispelling misconceptions they have about substance use.
Other CCSA-led projects focused on youth include:
- The Effects of Cannabis Use during Adolescence: Part of a series on substance use in Canada, this report details the health effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain and provides parents, teachers, healthcare providers and policy makers the evidence needed to develop and employ effective youth drug use prevention and intervention programs.
- Canadian Youth Perceptions on Cannabis: This report showcases findings from 20 youth focus groups CCSA led across the country to help us understand youth perceptions of cannabis.
- The Postsecondary Education Partnership — Alcohol Harms: This collaboration between various Canadian campuses, led by CCSA and Universities Canada, is an effort to increase our understanding of campus drinking culture and best practices to reduce harms.
- Canadian Standards for Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Portfolio: CCSA developed this portfolio in partnership with the Canadian Standards Task Force to provide guidance on how to plan, select, implement and evaluate prevention efforts.
CCSA welcomes any opportunity to highlight the dangers of substance use and spread the message about the harm the trade in drugs is still doing across the globe—particularly when it comes to youth.
As always—we will continue to listen.
For more information on CCSA projects and initiatives, please visit www.ccsa.ca