Pubdate: Wed, 05 May 2010
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Times Colonist
Author: Perry Kendall


Re: "Pre-teens target of gangsters," April 24.

The best way to prevent drug use in children and youth includes 
providing accurate information to both parents and children.

Child and youth rates of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use dropped 
significantly between 2003 and 2008. Rates of use of amphetamines 
(including crystal meth) dropped from four per cent to two per cent.

However, surveys also showed that the younger a child was when they 
first tried alcohol, the more likely they were to have subsequently 
tried marijuana and amphetamines.

Youth who have been abused, and/or who are not connected to family 
school or community are most at risk for early alcohol use and 
subsequent other drug misuse.

This information tells us how to identify and protect the most 
vulnerable children in our society.

Misinformation at best has no impact on youth behaviours, and at 
worst has the opposite effect of what is intended.

Health Canada's Drug Analysis Laboratory in Burnaby tests all samples 
of illegal drugs seized by police that are to be submitted as 
evidence in criminal trials. Large proportions of club drugs like 
ecstasy contain methamphetamine, but the laboratory has never found a 
sample of cannabis contaminated by crystal meth.

Our children depend on us to be factual and accurate and honest. 
Nowhere is this more important than in drug education.

Perry Kendall

Provincial health officer
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