OTTAWA - Youth health experts are warning the federal government that
its push to legalize recreational cannabis should be accompanied by
extensive public-education and prevention campaigns that spell out the
serious risks of pot consumption on adolescent brains.
Parliamentarians heard this message numerous times Wednesday during a
House of Commons committee hearing to study the Trudeau government's
legislation to legalize marijuana.
Ottawa plans to legalize cannabis for adults 18 and older within 10
months, but some provinces and police services have warned the federal
timeline is far too tight for them to properly prepare for such a
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Bill C-45 proposes youths 12-18 can have up to five grams before
As Canadians prepare for a new era of legalized recreational marijuana
use next summer, concern is growing about a little-known provision
wrapped into the bill that would allow kids as young as 12 to legally
The professed goal of the federal Liberals' Bill C-45 is to keep
marijuana out of the hands of criminals and youth, and to stop
criminal records for possession of small amounts of marijuana from
following people through their lives.
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As marijuana legalization looms, let's remind lawmakers that the focus
must be on public health, not criminal justice
Twenty-year-old me can't believe 40-year-old me has come to this,
sending out a warning call about the dangers of marijuana. There is
more than a fragrant whiff of do as I say, not as I did about this
But 40-year-old me has seen things 20-year-old me hadn't, such as
people around me coping with addiction and mental illness. So I'm here
to be a wet blanket: As legalization approaches, let's focus on
(spoiler alert, old-lady phrase) our young people.
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Londoners may have found way to reverse THC's psychiatric
Western University researchers may have found a way to reverse the
harmful effects that marijuana use can have on teenagers' brains.
The researchers, in a breakthrough discovery, say they've found a way
to use pharmaceutical drugs to counter the long-term negative
psychiatric effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive
component in cannabis that gives users the feeling of a euphoric high.
Previous research has linked chronic pot use by teens with a range of
psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia later in life, with the
risk rising the earlier that young people begin using marijuana.
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A teenage law student from Britain died while on holiday in Ibiza
after five bags of ecstasy exploded in her stomach, an inquest heard.
Rebecca Brock, 18, was discovered with a pool of blood next to her
head in a hotel room after traveling to the party island for a
Nottingham Coroners' Court heard staff found the "academically gifted"
student unresponsive in her room at the Hotel Marco Polo on Sept. 28,
Spanish police began an investigation after the amount of the class-A
drug in her system was "double the level" of a normal fatal dose.
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In 2016, rates of marijuana use among the nation's 12- to
17-year-oldsA dropped to their lowest level inA more than two decades,
according to federal survey data released this week.
Last year, 6.5 percent of adolescents used marijuana on a monthly
basis, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
That represents a statistically significant drop from 2014,A when the
nation's first recreational marijuana shops opened in Washington state
The last time monthly teen marijuana use was this low was 1994,
according to the survey.
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Student leaders running the University of Ottawa's orientation week
events won't be allowed to administer the opioid antidote naloxone in
the event of an overdose because of liability concerns if the
injection were to go wrong.
Hadi Wess, president of the undergraduate student union that runs the
events, said the group initially planned to have about 100 student
leaders carry naloxone kits to combat any overdoses that could occur
during the parties and events that get under way over the long
weekend. The measure was to prepare for the possibility that
substances such as the deadly opioid fentanyl could be mixed with
other drugs that might be consumed.
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It may shock many Canadians to learn that 28 per cent of Canadian
youths use marijuana - the highest rate among developed countries
surveyed in a 2013 UNICEF report.
This means that if you know four youths between the ages of 11 and 15,
one of them is using marijuana.
All Canadians should be concerned about this trend, because the
younger someone is when they start using marijuana and the more often
they use it, the greater the overall risks to their health.
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Online survey results to be discussed at Kelowna forum
An Okanagan drug treatment agency is heading up a conversation about
drug abuse among Central Okanagan youth.
The Bridge Youth &Family Services in Kelowna, with support from the
children and youth mental health and substance use local action team,
want to initiate a dialogue about how to best serve young people
who're experimenting with or are addicted to drugs.
Jamie McGregor, program coordinator for youth detox and adult
supported recovery, said problematic substance abuse has been an
ongoing concern in the Central Okanagan now for decades, noting that
last year 319 people under the age of 29 died of an opioid overdose in
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Recovering addict Leila Attar says she was scared sober after a
fentanyl overdose nearly killed her in 2016.
The 19-year-old Ottawa teen unwittingly took pills thinking they were
percocets last November.
"I had taken too much in the past, but I'd never been so far gone. I
had the feeling I was so close to death," Attar said.
Five weeks ago, Attar - with her Canada 150 Youth Pass on Via Rail -
started a cross-country tour to learn more about the opioid crisis by
visiting treatment centres and inner-city drug sites.
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It will be a workout with a message.
On Aug. 16, children and teens will start their Kids Against Drugs run
through the Blood Reserve.
The two-day event aims "to keep the momentum going for awareness, and
to send a message that fentanyl and all drugs are not welcomed in the
children's lives," says spokesperson Pamela Little Bear.
"Too many children, on and off reserves and in the general community
are affected in a negative way with these drugs," she says.
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The blond toddler pounced from the floor without warning and reached
for a toy deep within Savannah Woods' entertainment center.
She remained on the plush, beige carpet, her eyes following the
toddler through the room. In attempt to rein in the child's energy,
Woods called him back to her side and asked him to name a smiling
woman in the picture she held.
"Momma," the two-year-old said. The photograph captured Woods and her
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Leila Attar to discuss dangers of the drug with youth, parents
Leila Attar was unconscious on the floor of her Ottawa home when a
loud knock at her door shook her from a drug-induced blackout at 2
"It was non-stop
I thought it was the cops because of how loud it
was," she recalled.
It turned out to be a close friend coming to check on her because
Attar, now 19, had stopped responding to texts. Later, she would be
told by doctors that she was overdosing on fentanyl after taking pills
she thought were Percocet.
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Two Milwaukee men were charged Tuesday in connection with a shooting
on the city's northwest side that killed a teenager late last month.
[name redacted], 21, and [name redacted], 34, were charged with
first-degree reckless homicide, as party to a crime and use of a
dangerous weapon in a shooting that killed Ramsey Wheeler, 19, on June
A 21-year-old man who was injured during the shooting was identified
as Wheeler's brother in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
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This lethal drug makes a discussion urgent, writes Dr. Richard
The dangers of fentanyl as a frequently used mood-modifying,
recreational drug, on its own or laced into other opiates are
gradually becoming well known.
The substance has recently gained a reputation as the Grim Reaper of
illicit drugs. The number of deaths and near deaths originating with
fentanyl use is simply shocking. Surely parents must initiate a
serious discussion with their children and teens about this and other
drug use. In this case, talk is, arguably, the primary preventive measure.
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Fears legalization may 'normalize' use of marijuana
Teenagers who go from occasional pot smoking to weekly or daily use
are two-and-a-half times more likely to have recurrent psychotic-like
experiences, a new Montreal study says.
And with legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada less than a
year away, the study's senior author says governments are ill-prepared
for the fact that adolescents will interpret the policy change as
proof it's OK to smoke pot.
"Our data show that transitioning to daily or weekly use of cannabis
very significantly increases adolescents' risk of having more
exaggerated and more frequent psychotic-like experiences," Patricia
Conrod, a professor at the Universite de Montreal's psychiatry
department, said in an interview.
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Distributors say they don't want the headaches that come with
marketing to young Canadians
Cam Battley is a father to a Grade 9 son and 10-year-old daughter.
He's a scout leader of nine years and a soccer coach to both of his
kids. He's also the executive vice-president of one of Canada's
largest marijuana distributors.
As Canada prepares for the legalization of marijuana, he and others in
the industry have something they want you to know: they aren't
interested in selling to your children.
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A 13-year-old girl found dead over the weekend in Texas was abducted
as ransom for stolen marijuana, according to authorities.
Police said Shavon Randle was kidnapped Wednesday from a Lancaster
home after the boyfriend of one of her relatives stole about 22 pounds
of pot, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Soon after she was abducted, suspects allegedly called a relative from
a private number and told them, "Give us our sh-t back or we are going
to kill her."
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Re Canadian pot ads? Think beer ads. Then think again, Delacourt, June
With studies showing that young people smoking marijuana run a greatly
enhanced risk of seriously damaging their developing brains, I sure
hope columnist Susan Delacourt is correct and the Trudeau Liberals
won't flood Canadians with ads to increase pot sales.
What I find mind-boggling is that after governments spent billions on
negative tobacco ads, and many young people are now not taking up that
addictive and health-damaging habit, the Trudeau government is adding
a potentially even more damaging drug to the mix.
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Dianne McIntosh is continually alarmed by the teens who come into her
Vancouver office telling the psychiatrist that they use cannabis to
treat their mental-health issues because it's a natural - and harmless
- - substance.
"It's a natural product? So is tobacco, so is alcohol, these are all
natural products," Dr. McIntosh said. With the federal Liberal
government saying that cutting down on teen cannabis use is a core
reason it is pushing to legalize the drug next year, Dr. McIntosh and
a panel of three other experts are gathering in Richmond, B.C., on
Sunday to clear the air about the dangers young people face when using
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