Western awarded funding for cannabis education

The Faculty of Education has received $99,000 from the Public Health Agency of Canada to inform educators about the health and safety risks associated with cannabis use, prevent problematic substance use and promote healthy choices for Canadian youth.

The investment allows the Centre for School Mental Health to work with a national stakeholder group to enhance and develop resources that inform educators about existing school-based interventions that are designed to prevent and minimize the risks and impacts associated with cannabis use among 11-18 year olds.

This investment will help teachers, school counsellors, school and school board administrators implement the available strategies, said Western researchers.

“This investment allows us to use evidence-based research to ensure critical key messages are reaching those adults who interact with youth daily,” said Claire Crooks, an Education professor and Director of the Centre for School Mental Health. “Although new legislation changes the landscape, we know a lot about how to help youth develop the assets they need to make healthy choices.”

In addition to Western:

  • Health Nexus received $25,000 to adapt resources for frontline community service providers, to help them to engage their clients in discussions to prevent and reduce the harms of cannabis use during preconception, pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting; and
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) received $99,000 to develop and implement tools, resources and training materials for health professionals on the evidence and recommendations from its Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.

Budget 2018 committed $62.5 million over five years to support community-based organizations, and Indigenous organizations in educating their communities on the risks associated with cannabis use. This is in addition to the previously announced investment of $46 million over five years to support public education, awareness and surveillance activities.

“The project announced (this week) demonstrates the government’s public-health approach to the legalization and regulation of cannabis. These projects will ensure that public-health professionals, education stakeholders and community service providers are well-equipped to provide Canadians with credible and evidence-based information to help them make informed decisions about cannabis,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada.

This week’s announcement is part of a larger announcement that develops tools and resources to help educators, public-health professionals and community service providers inform Canadians about the health effects of cannabis.