Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jun 2003
Source: Dominion Post, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2003 The Dominion Post
Author: Duncan Eddy


The article on the relationship between cannabis use and youth suicide 
(Dominion Post 08/03/03) was thought provoking.  However, more focus should 
have been placed on how the illegality of cannabis undermines health and 
education services and further isolates young cannabis users from their 
families and communities.

The prohibition of cannabis use neccesitates secrecy amongst users. The 
young user fears arrest and is thus reluctant to discuss the issue with 
parents, teachers and other adult support people.  This secrecy basically 
serves to further isolate troubled young people from their support networks 
and positive role models, which in turn undermines the youth's emotional 

Cannabis is widely used in New Zealand, despite it's illegality.  Yet our 
health and education systems remain ill equipped to offer harm minimisation 
education and treatment It's clear that the current approach to dealing 
with cannabis use and abuse is in serious need of revision.

The statistics show that a change of approach is neccesary. I hope that 
this dicussion soon moves on from highlighting the flaws of the current 
system to finding effective ways to improve this sorry situation.


Duncan Eddy
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