Date Published: 25 June 2009
Government of Canada Works with Ontario to Help Prevent Young People from Taking Illicit Drugs
Dr. Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, announced today the Government of Canada’s support for a project that will help discourage young people from taking illicit drugs. Dr. Carrie made this announcement on behalf of Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.
"The Government of Canada is working with provinces and communities across the country to help prevent the use of drugs among youth," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This project will provide public health professionals in Ontario with the tools they need to educate young people about the negative consequences of taking drugs."
Through the Youth Engagement Project, health professionals in Toronto will be trained to help young people living in high risk areas of the city avoid illicit drugs. This will be accomplished by teaching students in grades 6, 7 and 8 coping and resiliency skills and encouraging other healthy behaviours, such as increased participation in school and community activities. The project will be managed by the Ontario Public Health Association and its partners: the Ontario Healthy Schools Coalition, the Injury Prevention Public Health Managers' Alliance, and the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association.
"Raising awareness about substance abuse will better equip youth to make informed decisions about their futures," said Dr. Colin Carrie. "I look forward to seeing the benefits of The Youth Engagement Project in the months and years ahead."
Initiatives such as this one are another step in implementing the Government of Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in October 2007.
"The Ontario Public Health Association welcomes the opportunity to actively support the growing movement towards involving youth in building their communities," said Connie Uetrecht, Executive Director of the Ontario Public Health Association. "This project provides solid strategy that will support healthy development, foster resiliency and strengthen our communities."
The Ontario Public Health Association will receive $628,149 in financial support for this important project from the federal Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund, which provides financial support for health promotion and prevention projects at the national, provincial and local levels. It addresses a wide range of illicit drug use issues, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth.