Date Published: 9 April 2009

Government of Canada Works with British Columbia to Tackle Illicit Drug Use Among Youth

Health News from the United States of America (USA)

The Government of Canada is supporting a project under the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund that will help prevent British Columbia youth from using illicit drugs. The announcement was made today by Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.

"The Government of Canada is working with provinces and communities across the country to prevent illicit drug use and addiction," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This project will provide communities in British Columbia with the tools they need to educate young people about the negative consequences of taking drugs."

"The growing problem of drug use in our communities is well known," said Mr. Cannan. "We see its impact in our crime rates, in our workplaces and, worst of all, on families and in our schools. This project is an important step in addressing drug use among youth here in Kelowna."

The Youth Options Project hosted by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs in Kelowna is designed to reduce drug use among at-risk youth by addressing the behavioural, social and environmental factors that may lead to drug abuse. Not only will the project help young people learn coping and resiliency skills and other healthy behaviours, it will also inform them about what community resources and recreational activities are available to them that offer a healthy alternative to drug use.

"This new federal funding allows the Okanagan Boys & Girls Clubs to begin what we call the Youth Options Project, a front line prevention and intervention program that focuses on innovative methods of involving at risk youth in life skills and recreation," said Craig Monley, CEO of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs. "The three years of federal funding for the Youth Options Project provides us a great opportunity to instil and reinforce good life-long habits and routines that will make a lasting difference in the lives of at risk youth."

Initiatives such as these are part of the Government of Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy, which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2007.

The federal Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund provides financial support for health promotion and prevention projects at the national, provincial and local levels. It addresses a wide range of drug use issues, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth. The Government of Canada is providing $217,453 in funding to the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs' Youth Options Project.



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