Health Canada

Health Canada

August 18, 2009 11:12 ET

Government of Canada Works With Provinces and Communities to Help Prevent Young People From Taking Illicit Drugs

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Aug. 18, 2009) - Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, announced today, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, the Government of Canada's support for a national project that will help prevent youth across the country from taking illicit drugs.

"The Government of Canada is proud to be working with provinces and communities across the country to help prevent illicit drug use among youth," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This project will provide communities across Canada with the tools they need to understand the links between youth at risk of psychosis and illicit drug use."

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada and its partners will develop, implement and promote activities aimed at preventing drug use among youth through its project Understanding the Link between Cannabis Use and Early Psychosis: an Awareness Strategy for Youth at Risk. The project will delve into the reasons why youth at-risk of psychosis are drawn to using cannabis. It will also increase awareness among youth about the negative impacts of cannabis and the links to psychosis. Training, interviews and focus group testing will take place in several sites across Canada to gain a better understanding of the impacts of illicit drug use and its links to psychosis.

"Raising awareness about substance abuse will help better equip youth to make informed decisions about their futures and their health" said Ms. Smith. "I look forward to seeing the benefits of this project in the months and years ahead."

Initiatives such as this one are another step in implementing the Government of Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy, which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2007.

"Through this project, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada will be able to conduct research, promote mental illness prevention, and develop mental health promotional material geared towards youth, by working with youth who have lived the experience of psychosis and cannabis use," said Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.

The federal Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund provides financial support for health promotion and prevention projects at the national, provincial and local levels. It addresses a wide range of illicit drug use issues, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth. The Schizophrenia Society of Canada project will receive $559,370 in financial support for this important project.

Please visit the National Anti-Drug Strategy website ( for more information.

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Contact Information

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    Federal Minister of Health
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