Pubdate: Tue, 25 Apr 2017
Source: Observer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017, Sarnia Observer
Author: Melissa Schilz
Page: A3


Lambton Public Health to host discussion on youth perceptions of

Lambton Public Health is offering a session for parents and other
members of the public who want to learn more about youth perceptions
on marijuana.

Anna McKiernan, of the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, released a
report in January detailing discussion among youth about the effects
of cannabis use. The Ottawa-based research and policy analyst will be
in Sarnia May 4 to present her findings and to answer questions.

Terry Easterby, of Lambton Public Health, said with the legislation
currently proposed by the federal government, as it relates to
marijuana, the May 4 discussion is timely for the community.

"They talked to youth and asked them various questions," Easterby
said. "They were gauging their perception of what they thought about

The study is based on 20 focus groups in six Canadian cities. With the
changing landscape, Easterby said the matter of legalization is no
longer a question of if, but when, so taking the opportunity to learn
more right now could be an important key for parents.

"It's an awareness opportunity for parents and the community to
prevent harms related to cannabis among teens," he said.

Easterby said as a parent or mentor, it can often be difficult to have
frank discussions surrounding marijuana. He hopes to see the
discussion dispel myths surrounding the narcotic, and help parents
initiate positive discussion with teenagers.

He said with a changing climate, the risks and harms associated with
marijuana are being somewhat overlooked. For teens, there is often a
lack of knowledge regarding this, and with legalization afoot, this
can lead some to believe that the drug doesn't have risks, which
Easterby says isn't the case.

"The research suggests that marijuana is not risk free, especially for
kids because their brains are still developing," he said. "But the
kids are saying, 'it's natural'… they're really unclear on the effects
and harms of cannabis and that can put them at an increased risk."

Some discussion topics in McKiernan's focus groups looked at reasons
for use, influence, mental health and usage as portrayed in the media.
The nearly 50-page report delves into what teens may believe about the
drug, including how it compares to the effects of alcohol use.

Easterby said there is often a notion that marijuana is just a plant
that's harmless, but he said any time a combustible is inhaled, it
causes damage to the lungs. He said he hopes to see parents from both
urban and rural communities come to the discussion group to learn more
about youth perspectives on cannabis.

"You don't want to come across as though you're lecturing, you want an
open discussion," he said. "Parents need to be informed."

- --------------------------------------


If You Go

When: May 4 at 7 p.m.

Where: Lambton Public Health, 160 Exmouth St. Sarnia

Cost: FREE

To register, call 1-800-667-1839 or visit
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt