An innovative new online awareness campaign about the risks associated with cannabis use for young Victorians was launched today by the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge.
A joint initiative between the Victorian Coalition Government and the Australian Drug Foundation, the campaign aims to ensure young people between the ages of 13 and 18 and their parents are better informed on the health impacts of cannabis use.
Launching the campaign during Mental Health Week, Ms Wooldridge said the impact that cannabis use can have on young peoples’ mental health can be devastating.
“In 2010 cannabis was the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, with at least one-third of all Australians aged 14 years or older having used it,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“For young people, there is a greater likelihood of developing a mental illness such as depression, psychosis and anxiety if they start using cannabis early in life and use at high levels.”
“Unfortunately, too often we see young people who start using cannabis early in life lose motivation, lose directions, lose friendships, and lose sight of their dreams.”
Incorporating Facebook and online videos, the campaign features a design competition for young Victorians on the theme: Don’t let your dreams go up in smoke.
Students from East Doncaster Secondary College have developed a video clip to support the campaign and participated in today’s launch.
Australian Drug Foundation Chief Executive John Rogerson said the campaign features a comprehensive addition to the Somazone website, where youth can access fact sheets, support services and personal stories from those who have experienced mental and physical problems associated with cannabis use.
“I am very proud we are introducing this education campaign through a competition that encourages Victorian youth to understand the risks associated with cannabis use and to embrace the healthy, positive ways of feeling good,” Mr Rogerson said.