New South Wales anti-drug campaign to target teens

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A cannabis leaf

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) launched its latest anti-cannabis campaign in Sydney today. The campaign, which specifically targets 14 to 19 year-olds aims to reduce the number of young people experimenting with the drug. The advertisements follow a tightening of cannabis laws in NSW last year.

The campaign, which NSW Health has cost at AUD$600,000 will use a variety of print ads placed at bus stops and in youth magazines in addition to advertisements on websites such as MySpace and MSN. Print ads use a tag line saying "Pot. It mightn't kill you, but it could turn you into a dickhead".

The advertisements show a person staring from a black and white photo with quotes like "You've got great eyes, when they're not bloodshot" and "I'd lend you money, but you still owe me from last time".

The director of drug and alcohol programs with NSW Health, David McGrath said many young people believed that cannabis was safe and its use was normal. "There is still a significant cohort of people who think, particularly with the young person's age group, that cannabis is normal," Mr McGrath said.

Mr McGrath said despite the number of young cannabis users had halved from forty percent to twenty percent, but claimed more needed to be done. "We want to prevent people who are thinking about taking cannabis up from taking it up and also encouraging those people that are using cannabis to cease," he said.

Mr McGrath said young people had to be warned about the possible consequences of smoking cannabis, such as the alleged link with mental illnesss and how it may affect social interaction and physical health.

NSW Health Minister, Reba Meagher said a recent study indicated that while cannabis use among young people is in decline, almost one third of teenagers have tried cannabis. She also claimed that cannabis remained common within the community. "Cannabis is a drug that is readily available in our community and it does come with serious risk," she said.

"New South Wales set to adopt harsher anti-cannabis laws" — Wikinews, February 7, 2006