Youth: Cannabis is totally uncool

According to a new survey undertaken by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) cannabis is regarded as socially unacceptable by a third of young people. The majority of the 1500 young people who participated in the survey labelled the illegal drug dangerous. The results found that half the people under 30 had friends who used cannabis; with a third of those agreeing it was uncool. Many also believed cannabis was related to schizophrenia and depression. Paul Dillion from the NDARC linked the changing attitudes with the education campaigns about the drug. He told the ABC, “We’re not focussing on the long-term health effects or even necessarily the psychological effects, we’re looking more at the social impacts, the way that it will effect your relationship, how it will affect your financial situation – these are the things young people can really relate to’.

Despite attributing awareness of harmful attributes of marijuana to education campaigns, Mr Dillion voiced concerns about where young people were sourcing information. “There are no black and white answers with cannabis, only shades of grey. These subtleties are often difficult to communicate and can lead to misinformation being disseminated and a polarisation of views,’ Mr Dillion explained. NDATC research indicates that only 10% of Australians access information on cannabis from a reputable drug and alcohol service provider, preferring instead to access information from friends, the internet, magazines and television.

As a result the findings of the survey, the Federal Government is considering the establishment of a new National Cannabis Centre to help provide the public with good quality information on the health and social impacts of cannabis.