Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, BC
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has launched a public health campaign aimed at reducing cannabis use among Indigenous children and youth by reminding them that their culture and traditional values give them the strength and ability to make the right choices for themselves. Some of the ads are aimed specifically at women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The campaign includes digital advertising on multiple social media platforms, radio spots, and transit shelter ads at strategically selected locations that will direct people to a cannabis web portal for information and resources.
43% of the Indigenous population in BC is under the age of 25. The goal is to encourage youth to learn more about cannabis, its potential risks and support them to make informed decisions. Delaying first use and encouraging more responsible use among youth will reduce the harms associated with Cannabis for young people, and expectant and breastfeeding mothers.
The messages are focused on Indigenous strengths, and based on the principles of harm reduction, Examples include:
• My health is Indigenous. Our teachings guide me to make choices around cannabis that are safer for my body and my mind.
• My Leadership is Indigenous. Our teachings guide me to be a leader to my younger relations by modelling healthy choices when it comes to cannabis.
• My protection is Indigenous. Our teachings guide me to understand the impact cannabis has on me and my baby when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding.
• My patience is Indigenous. Our teachings guide me to reflect on the benefits of waiting until I’m older before trying cannabis.
The campaign drives the audience to www.fnha.ca/cannabis where Indigenous individuals, families and communities along with health professionals and leadership can access culturally appropriate tools, information and resources.
Cannabis that is not prescribed by a health care provider may not be a good fit for everyone. As a partner in health and wellness, FNHA’s role is to provide the latest evidence, supports and resources, and respect each individual’s decision to make an informed choice.
“This public education strategy is focused on providing information and access to support for First Nations individuals, families and communities. We recognize that each First Nation will have its own perspectives on regulations around the sale and use of cannabis. Our role is to provide the facts about health and wellness, so that everyone makes informed choices,” said Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chair of the First Nations Health Council.
“This is a first step in addressing the potential consequences of cannabis legalization for our communities based on global best practices and traditional teachings,” said Evan Adams, Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority. “It is a wellness-centered campaign built on Indigenous values of personal and family responsibility, healthy relationships, and a culture of choices.”
Media Contact:John Moody604 831 4898John.Moody@fnha.ca