In the past, public health campaigns warning of the harmful effects of drugs delivered one resounding message: Don’t do it.
But now that the federal government has decided to legalize marijuana, Health Canada is using new strategies to try to land on teens’ screens and in the places they hang out.
“Inevitably, that communication and education is going to be more nuanced and subtle,” said David Hammond, a professor in the school of public health at the University of Waterloo.
Hammond said the federal government has adopted a harm reduction approach to its education around cannabis. That means instead of warning the public not to consume it, the messages point out that there are circumstances where it should be avoided.
Extensive public education campaign
Health Canada says it has rolled out a number of public education campaigns and has invested some coin in the effort.
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