The Impact of the Legalization of Marijuana in our Schools

15 March 2018

An Interview with a Social Work Technician Specialized in Addiction

For reasons of confidentiality, we will not name the high school Social Work Technician specialized in addiction who answered our questions.

What impact do you think cannabis legalization will have in our high schools?

Given that our clientele is under 18, they will not be of legal age to consume it.  So, I don’t think the legalization of cannabis will have an impact on our daily lives.

What are your concerns about the greater availability of these products at home and in stores?  

I think the situation will be the same as it is now for alcohol, whether at home or in stores.  We must continue to be vigilant and intervene when necessary to prevent and respond.

What are you doing right now when you intervene to deal with these substances?

In recent years, we have developed an addiction intervention protocol that applies to both alcohol and other drugs.  This same protocol can be applied to cannabis without modifications, despite legalization.  It is important to note that addiction workers do not apply this protocol to student users.  To assist and support student users, addiction workers must have the trust to talk to them openly about their consumption habits.  They are the first ones to apply the protocol and direct students to us afterwards.

Which approach gives the best results?

In addiction, it is essential to make prevention and education available to everyone.  Studies show that this model gets the most positive results.  The addiction services encourage the involvement and commitment of students in this approach.

How important is the work you do in schools to solve these problems?

Students need a neutral place where they can confide without fear of being judged or preached to.  Our educational role enables us to inform students about the short, medium and long-term risks and consequences of their choices.  Our goal is to make them aware of the power they have to change their lifestyle.  We work on motivating them to change.

Martin Cayouette, Communications Advisor