News Release: Community Opioid and Substance Strategy Launches Youth Cannabis Awareness Program

For Immediate Release
Monday November 25, 2019 | Windsor, ON |12pm

The Windsor-Essex Community Opioid and Substance Strategy (WECOSS) unveiled a new Cannabis Awareness program on Monday morning at the Windsor-Essex Community Health Centre - Teen Health location. Members of the Leadership Committee including Co-Chair Dr. Wajid Ahmed (Medical Officer of Health) were on hand at a media event to launch the program at the start of National Addictions Awareness Week, which takes place from November 25th to December 1st.

The Higher Education program was created with the input of over 150 students from the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board, Greater Essex County District School Board, and Conseil Scolaire Catholique Providence. School board representatives worked with other WECOSS partners including the health unit, and the Community Health Centre to take the feedback they heard from students and develop a social media and school-based program related to the potential harms of cannabis.

“The feedback we received from students was critical in the development of this program,” described Ahmed, “we know that in order to build an understanding of the harms of substance use, we need to meet youth where they are with messages that are relevant to them.” Higher Education aims to inform youth about the use and supply of substances and while the initial focus will be cannabis, the program was built with the intent of broadening to include other substances like opioids or alcohol.

This program falls within the prevention and education pillar of the strategy’s four-pillar approach which is co-led by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the health unit. According to Claudia den Boer, CEO, CMHA and Executive Lead, Community Mental Health HDGH, “The first step in preventing some of the issues with addiction in adulthood is making sure our youth are making positive decisions about substance use at an early age.” The social media phase of Higher Education will involve targeted social media posts that will run throughout National Addictions Awareness Week and continue for the rest of the year, school-based materials are set to begin appearing in schools early in 2020.

Media Contact

Communications Department
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
519-258-2146 ext. 6397 (NEWS)