Cannabis legalization: Are Ottawa youth at risk?

On October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal in Canada. Although individuals will need to be 19 or older to purchase, use, possess or grow recreational cannabis, many families are wondering what this change will mean for the young people in their lives.

According to the 2017 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey, 19 per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 reported using cannabis.

The legality of a substance does not change how dangerous it can be, especially for youth who are at-risk or are already facing substance abuse challenges. Substance abuse counsellors treat cannabis just like any other drug, and focus on supporting youth as they work through their challenges with addiction.

project step is in every Ottawa high school to educate youth on the risks of cannabis and other drugs.

project step partners provide youth and their families ready access to counselling support, treatment, addiction education and prevention programming in all 57 Ottawa high schools, three community agencies and two youth treatment centres.

Results show that through project step, youth reduce or stop their problematic substance abuse – in fact 79% of participants surveyed reduced or stopped using one or more drugs in less than one school year.

The good news is, project step continues to grow. Those who donate to support the program, help us increase addictions counselling in Ottawa schools and community agencies, expand prevention, education and awareness programming for more youth and enhance the availability of resources, information and support for families.

Whether it’s for cannabis or other substances, project step is there to help and provide support to individuals and their families.

Cannabis legalization: More information for parents

The teen years are a time for major changes, both physically and emotionally. They are also a time when youth may choose to use drugs, like cannabis.

Supporting teens can be challenging. That’s why project step partner Ottawa Public Health has created a special section on its Parenting in Ottawa site that offers information about cannabis, tips on discussing drug use and mental health with teens, and a list of local resources (including in-person information sessions) and frequently asked questions.

For more information, please visit ParentinginOttawa.ca.

You can support youth struggling with substance abuse

Provide kids and their families with support, treatment, education and prevention programming.

You can support youth struggling with substance abuse

Provide kids and their families with support, treatment, education and prevention programming.