Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2006
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Eddie Chau


THOROLD - In a conference room at the Four Points Sheraton last 
Wednesday, about 30 students from schools across Niagara were asked 
about marijuana.

Joanne Brown, program director of Parent Action on Drugs asked the 
students to identify the different terms for marijuana, and gave them 
a few minutes to brainstorm the answers. When the time was up, a sea 
of hands filled the room as students were bursting at the seams, 
waiting to share their answers.

"You tell me what the different terms are and I'll write them down," 
Brown said as she uncapped a green felt-tipped marker.

"Weed," said Holy Cross Secondary School student Alexi Plut.

"Ganja," said her friend Ashley Toye.

"Pot," said Angela Delisia.

"Good job," Brown said, recording the answers on a poster board. "Now 
that we know what marijuana is all about, we'll talk about ways to 
avoid the problem that is this. We're hoping this workshop will help 
you understand the problematic use of marijuana."

Brown's workshop, entitled What's With Weed? A Youth-Driven Project, 
was one of nine workshops which took place as part of the Niagara's 
10th annual Impact Youth Conference on Substance Abuse Prevention.

About 175 students from Niagara high schools, as well as 80 
professionals, including teachers, school counsellors and public 
health nurses participated in the only regional conference of its 
kind, which is aimed to help individuals gain insight into current 
issues in substance abuse prevention.

Organized by the Niagara Region Public Health Department and the Port 
Colborne and Wainfleet Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, the Impact Youth 
Conference is to reduce incidents of alcohol and drug abuse in 
schools via peer led training and educational techniques.

The key emphasis of IMPACT, said Andrea Tutt, health promoter from 
the Region Public Health Department, is for individuals to walk away 
from the conference with resources they can use in their schools and 

In September, packages were sent out by the Public Health department 
were sent to schools regarding participation in the conference. 
Schools were asked to select students from Grades 10 to 12 who have 
interest in substance abuse prevention.

Topics such as marijuana, tobacco use, alcohol in advertising, binge 
drinking, holding safe parties, youth gambling, drug addiction, 
impaired driving and alcohol use in the media were discussed in the workshops.

Tutt said Impact also served as the provincial launch of a website,, a social marketing and harm reduction campaign 
funded by Health Canada geared towards youth about the dangers of 
risking drinking.

"We were really happy Health Canada was here (last Wednesday) to 
launch the website," said Tutt. "Starting Nov. 6, commercials will 
start appearing on television and hopefully youth will visit the Keep 
Control website and be educated."
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