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Cannabis

It is important for youth to be informed of what is known about the harms of cannabis as cannabis use during adolescence can increase the risk of negative health outcomes and social harm.

Resources & Information for:

Lessons and Activities

  • OPHEA Cannabis Education Resources: Developed to provide educators and administrators access to evidence-informed information on substance use (specifically cannabis) to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to make informed decisions to support their health and well-being. Engaging Cannabis Education Activity Plans are included for grades 5 to 12.
  • Mental Health Literacy- Cannabis - Resource for teachers, students, parents, and school clinicians about cannabis.  Includes a short video – 'Cannabis, Teens and Mental Health' (4:08 sec video) about the use and effects for teens, parents and educators. 
  • Youth Rex- Cannabis & Mental Health: Is an online resource about cannabis created by youth for youth. Educators can access a mentors guide around mental health and cannabis, and includes activities to help youth build resilience for managing stress, skills to problem solve, critically think, communicate and collaborate with others through the use of games, poems, articles, videos and reflection. French version (May need to turn on French subtitles for YouTube videos). Students can complete a 90-minute certificate course where they will learn how to support a friend, the effects of cannabis on your overall well-being, hear from youth with lived experiences, policy and legislation, and the effects of cannabis use. 
  • Ask, Listen, Learn: How Marijuana Affects the Developing Brain – An interactive lesson plan created by responsibility.org (USA). This lesson plan uses videos and activities to educate students about the endocannabinoid system, how cannabis affects the developing brain, body and behaviour so students can make informed decisions.
  • Substance Use- Interactive Jenga Trivia Game: Students remove the blocks and answer questions about substance use. Have students play 1:1 or in teams to earn points.
  • Refusal skills Activity: Classroom activities which allow students to practice their refusal skills when being faced with challenging situations related to substance use.
  • Mental Health and Addiction Nurse: 519-258-8211 or 1-888-447-4468- Students can call to talk about alcohol, marijuanacannabis, opioids, or other substances. A school, hospital, or community agency can also refer online or by calling the number above.
  • Get Help with Drug, Alcohol and Other Addictions in Windsor Essex County: list of local and provincial resources.
  • Youth Wellness Hub – For youth aged 12-25 offering walk-in mental health services, substance use and addiction services, access to a Nurse Practitioner for primary care, and community social services.  The Youth Wellness Hub also offers recreational activities and peer support. Services available in Windsor and Leamington locations. (Will be offering services in French and Arabic languages soon.) 
  • WEConnectKids: a partnership between the five core service providers for child and youth mental health and addiction services in Windsor/Essex. It is a free, confidential mental health service for children, youth, and families who live in Windsor-Essex.
  • Windsor-Essex County Youth Services Card: provides contact information to local services for youth in Windsor-Essex County.
  • SAPACCY Program- The Substance Abuse Program for African, Caribbean, and Black Canadian Youth: Mental health and substance use services for individuals who identify as black and between 12-29 years of age. Call 519-253-8481 or visit wechc.org.
  • Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668-6868. 24 hours/7 days a week telephone or web chat service for children and youth. *Services in English and French.
  • ConnexOntario – Mental health, addiction, and problem gambling services.  Call (1-866-531-2600), email, chat or search for services in your community. ConnexOntario can also provide basic education about mental health, drug, alcohol, and problem gambling treatment services. 
  • Cannabis Help for Parents and Caregivers of Teens: Talking to your child or teen about cannabis can be challenging, here is some tips and information for talking to your teens.
  • Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know- (CAMH and SMHO): This information sheet on cannabis provides information about cannabis, cannabis legalization, risks, signs of a problem, how to help your child and where to get more information and support. It is created for parents/caregivers of youth in grades 5 to 12.
  • Drug Free Canada- Parent Support Hub: 24/7 access to support from Drug Free Kids Canada to help you prevent/address/overcome a young persons problematic substance use by phone or online chat. 
  • Cannabis Talk Kit - Drug Free Kids Canada helps to learn how to set the stage to have an open dialogue with your pre-teen or teen
  • Cannabis eEducation rResources- Parents/Caregivers to help you better understand the new Canadian cannabis legal system, what it means for you, and the health facts related to cannabis use.
  • Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: Ten ways you can lower your risk of harm from cannabis use.

Smoke- Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017

The SFOA, 2017. regulates the sale, supply, display and promotion of tobacco products and vapour products, as well as the smoking of tobacco, the use of e-cigarettes to vape any substance, and the smoking of cannabis. If your school requires signage or complete the SFOA, 2017 signage order form.

School Complaints

  • The SFOA is enforced locally by the Tobacco and Vaping Enforcement Officers (TVEOs). If you have questions, contact the TVEO assigned to your school at ext. 3100 or submit a complaint online.
  • Local municipalities have bylaws in place offering further protections.

School Board Policies

  • School boards can set policy that influence the social & environmental norms students experience. Please refer to your specific school board and/or school’s policies and code of conduct on tobacco, vaping, cannabis, and substance use for further information. Individual schools should speak to their school boards about whether they can develop individual school policies.
  • Ophea Ideas for Action- Cannabis: (French Version) – Can be used in conjunction with the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, or as a starting point to encourage students, to start conversations about topics related to cannabis in your school and community. This guide provides key information about existing programs and resources, tips for getting started, things to consider, sources of support in your community, in Ontario, and across Canada, and activity ideas in the following areas:
  • RNAO’s- Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit - Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with public health units, School Boards, SMH ASSIST and provincial youth based organizations to develop a peer based youth mental health initiative. The partnership resulted in the development of the toolkit to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, youth-led mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention initiatives in school settings. The toolkit, includes guiding frameworks, how to build your team, youth training content, event planning, and evaluation tips.The Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion (YMHAC) Initiative aims to improve the health and well-being of children and youth through a focus on mental health promotion, stigma reduction, and substance misuse prevention.
  • Announcement PSAs –

School Campaigns/Presentations

  • Blueprint for Action: Preventing substance-related harms among youth through a Comprehensive School approach – This toolkit is for school communities, those working in the education system, and those who support youth, in addition to Canadian school stakeholders. The Blueprint model supports school community members in planning and carrying out a wide range of strategies for preventing substance-related harms among youth.  These strategies include upstream prevention, harm reduction, stigma reduction, and equity-oriented approaches.   
  • Project Red Ribbon – MADD Canada campaign committing to driving sober.  Campaign runs from November 1st to January 3rd yearly. 
  • Final Play (MADD CANADA) – School presentation from MADD Canada bringing awareness to impaired driving (alcohol and drug) and risk reduction messaging for students in grades 7 through 12. Teaching resources available for download prior to presentation for classroom use.  Available in French. 
  • SmartWheels (MADD Canada) – Mobile classroom interactive presentation for grades 7 & 8 students about the risks of experimenting with alcohol and drugs and how they can avoid becoming passengers in vehicles with impaired drivers. Teaching resources are available for download prior to presentation for classroom use.  Currently only available in English. 
  • Weed Out the Risk (MADD, Springboard, & CAMH partnership) – Interactive, harm reduction program challenging teens’ misconceptions about cannabis and riding with someone/driving impaired.  Intended for grades 9-12 but will offer where feasible to grades 7 & 8 also. The program engages students through discussion, games, activities and videos.  Educators’ guide available prior to presentation for classroom use. 
  • Mental Health and Addiction Nurse: 519-258-8211 or 1-888-447-4468- Students can call to talk about alcohol, marijuanacannabis, opioids, or other substances. A school, hospital, or community agency can also refer online or by calling the number above.
  • Get Help with Drug, Alcohol and Other Addictions in Windsor Essex County: list of local and provincial resources.
  • Youth Wellness Hub – For youth aged 12-25 offering walk-in mental health services, substance use and addiction services, access to a Nurse Practitioner for primary care, and community social services.  The Youth Wellness Hub also offers recreational activities and peer support. Services available in Windsor and Leamington locations. (Will be offering services in French and Arabic languages soon.) 
  • WEConnectKids: a partnership between the five core service providers for child and youth mental health and addiction services in Windsor/Essex. It is a free, confidential mental health service for children, youth, and families who live in Windsor-Essex.
  • Windsor-Essex County Youth Services Card: provides contact information to local services for youth in Windsor-Essex County.
  • SAPACCY Program- The Substance Abuse Program for African, Caribbean, and Black Canadian Youth: Mental health and substance use services for individuals who identify as black and between 12-29 years of age. Call 519-253-8481 or visit wechc.org.
  • Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668-6868. 24 hours/7 days a week telephone or web chat service for children and youth. *Services in English and French.
  • ConnexOntario – Mental health, addiction, and problem gambling services.  Call (1-866-531-2600), email, chat or search for services in your community. ConnexOntario can also provide basic education about mental health, drug, alcohol, and problem gambling treatment services. 
  • Cannabis Help for Parents and Caregivers of Teens: Talking to your child or teen about cannabis can be challenging, here is some tips and information for talking to your teens.
  • Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know- (CAMH and SMHO): This information sheet on cannabis provides information about cannabis, cannabis legalization, risks, signs of a problem, how to help your child and where to get more information and support. It is created for parents/caregivers of youth in grades 5 to 12.
  • Drug Free Canada- Parent Support Hub: 24/7 access to support from Drug Free Kids Canada to help you prevent/address/overcome a young persons problematic substance use by phone or online chat. 
  • Cannabis Talk Kit - Drug Free Kids Canada helps to learn how to set the stage to have an open dialogue with your pre-teen or teen
  • Cannabis eEducation rResources- Parents/Caregivers to help you better understand the new Canadian cannabis legal system, what it means for you, and the health facts related to cannabis use.
  • Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: Ten ways you can lower your risk of harm from cannabis use.
  • Mental Health and Addiction Nurse: 519-258-8211 or 1-888-447-4468- Students can call to talk about alcohol, marijuanacannabis, opioids, or other substances. A school, hospital, or community agency can also refer online or by calling the number above.
  • Get Help with Drug, Alcohol and Other Addictions in Windsor Essex County: list of local and provincial resources.
  • Youth Wellness Hub – For youth aged 12-25 offering walk-in mental health services, substance use and addiction services, access to a Nurse Practitioner for primary care, and community social services.  The Youth Wellness Hub also offers recreational activities and peer support. Services available in Windsor and Leamington locations. (Will be offering services in French and Arabic languages soon.) 
  • WEConnectKids: a partnership between the five core service providers for child and youth mental health and addiction services in Windsor/Essex. It is a free, confidential mental health service for children, youth, and families who live in Windsor-Essex.
  • Windsor-Essex County Youth Services Card: provides contact information to local services for youth in Windsor-Essex County.
  • SAPACCY Program- The Substance Abuse Program for African, Caribbean, and Black Canadian Youth: Mental health and substance use services for individuals who identify as black and between 12-29 years of age. Call 519-253-8481 or visit wechc.org.
  • Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668-6868. 24 hours/7 days a week telephone or web chat service for children and youth. *Services in English and French.
  • ConnexOntario – Mental health, addiction, and problem gambling services.  Call (1-866-531-2600), email, chat or search for services in your community. ConnexOntario can also provide basic education about mental health, drug, alcohol, and problem gambling treatment services. 
  • Cannabis Help for Parents and Caregivers of Teens: Talking to your child or teen about cannabis can be challenging, here is some tips and information for talking to your teens.
  • Cannabis: What Parents/Guardians and Caregivers Need to Know- (CAMH and SMHO): This information sheet on cannabis provides information about cannabis, cannabis legalization, risks, signs of a problem, how to help your child and where to get more information and support. It is created for parents/caregivers of youth in grades 5 to 12.
  • Drug Free Canada- Parent Support Hub: 24/7 access to support from Drug Free Kids Canada to help you prevent/address/overcome a young persons problematic substance use by phone or online chat. 
  • Cannabis Talk Kit - Drug Free Kids Canada helps to learn how to set the stage to have an open dialogue with your pre-teen or teen
  • Cannabis eEducation rResources- Parents/Caregivers to help you better understand the new Canadian cannabis legal system, what it means for you, and the health facts related to cannabis use.
  • Canada’s Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines: Ten ways you can lower your risk of harm from cannabis use.
  • Ophea Ideas for Action- Cannabis: (French Version) – Can be used in conjunction with the Ophea Healthy Schools Certification, or as a starting point to encourage students, to start conversations about topics related to cannabis in your school and community. This guide provides key information about existing programs and resources, tips for getting started, things to consider, sources of support in your community, in Ontario, and across Canada, and activity ideas in the following areas:
  • RNAO’s- Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit - Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with public health units, School Boards, SMH ASSIST and provincial youth based organizations to develop a peer based youth mental health initiative. The partnership resulted in the development of the toolkit to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, youth-led mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention initiatives in school settings. The toolkit, includes guiding frameworks, how to build your team, youth training content, event planning, and evaluation tips.The Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion (YMHAC) Initiative aims to improve the health and well-being of children and youth through a focus on mental health promotion, stigma reduction, and substance misuse prevention.
  • Announcement PSAs –

School Campaigns/Presentations

  • Blueprint for Action: Preventing substance-related harms among youth through a Comprehensive School approach – This toolkit is for school communities, those working in the education system, and those who support youth, in addition to Canadian school stakeholders. The Blueprint model supports school community members in planning and carrying out a wide range of strategies for preventing substance-related harms among youth.  These strategies include upstream prevention, harm reduction, stigma reduction, and equity-oriented approaches.   
  • Project Red Ribbon – MADD Canada campaign committing to driving sober.  Campaign runs from November 1st to January 3rd yearly. 
  • Final Play (MADD CANADA) – School presentation from MADD Canada bringing awareness to impaired driving (alcohol and drug) and risk reduction messaging for students in grades 7 through 12. Teaching resources available for download prior to presentation for classroom use.  Available in French. 
  • SmartWheels (MADD Canada) – Mobile classroom interactive presentation for grades 7 & 8 students about the risks of experimenting with alcohol and drugs and how they can avoid becoming passengers in vehicles with impaired drivers. Teaching resources are available for download prior to presentation for classroom use.  Currently only available in English. 
  • Weed Out the Risk (MADD, Springboard, & CAMH partnership) – Interactive, harm reduction program challenging teens’ misconceptions about cannabis and riding with someone/driving impaired.  Intended for grades 9-12 but will offer where feasible to grades 7 & 8 also. The program engages students through discussion, games, activities and videos.  Educators’ guide available prior to presentation for classroom use. 

Smoking and Vaping

Educating youth about substance use is important to help them develop skills and knowledge to make healthier choices. Even though vaping is considered to be less harmful than smoking, there are still risks for youth to consider.

Resources & Information for:

Resources

  • Vaping Backgrounder: an overview of vaping that provides educators with information they need to prepare for a lesson on vaping.
  • Vaping – What Elementary Educators Need to Know (CAMH and SMHO) (French version) (Grades 1-8) – A fact sheet provides general information about vaping and outlines important facts, associated risks, and additional resources to support educators in having informed conversations with students.
  • Vaping – What Secondary Educators Need to Know (CAMH and SMHO) (French version) (Grades 9-12) – A fact sheet provides general information about vaping and outlines important facts, associated risks, and additional resources to support educators in having informed conversations with students.

Lessons and Activities

  • Vaping Presentation for Elementary Schools (Grades 4-8) French Version:
  • Vaping Presentation for Secondary Schools  (Grades 9-12) French Version:
  • OPHEA Vaping Education Resources (Grades 4-8) (French version):
  • Talking about... Series - Educational Resources - Lung Health Foundation: A resource series based on substances to facilitate critical discussion with youth in a fun, informative way.
  • Consider the Consequences- (French Version): Vaping education resource from Health Canada that contains vaping prevention materials (posters/fact sheets) for school community.
  • Refusal Skills Classroom Activity: Allow students to practice their refusal skills when being faced with challenging situations.
  • Kids Health in the Classroom: Educators can access a variety of information and activities for their classroom by selecting their grade from the menu on the left, and selecting Health Problems.
  • Not an Experiment – (French Version): An interactive activity from Simcoe Muskoka Public Health Unit addressing vaping.
  • Substance Use - Interactive Jenga Trivia Game: Students remove the blocks and answer questions about substance use. Have students play 1:1 or in teams to earn points.
  • E-Cigarette Mystery Box - Interactive classroom activity: Students must place their hand in a mystery box and try to guess what the item is.  Use reflection and group discussion to make connections to vaping e-juice, which contains substances and chemicals that are unknown to the user.
  • Refusal Skills Classroom Activity: Allow students to practice their refusal skills when being faced with challenging situations.
  • Kids Health in the Classroom: Educators can access a variety of information and activities for their classroom by selecting their grade from the menu on the left, and selecting Health Problems.
  • Cigarette Chemical Roll-Out Display: This resource is an oversized cigarette that features a roll-out list of the chemical ingredients. It can be used to demonstrate the large quantity of dangerous chemicals in each cigarette.

Contact your school’s Public Health Nurse or the Healthy School’s Department to book, or for more information on, these resources. Healthy School hotline: (519) 258-2146, ext. 1555.

Quit Support

Smoke- Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017

The SFOA, 2017. regulates the sale, supply, display and promotion of tobacco products and vapour products, as well as the smoking of tobacco, the use of e-cigarettes to vape any substance, and the smoking of cannabis. If your school requires signage or complete the SFOA, 2017 signage order form.

School Complaints

The SFOA is enforced locally by the Tobacco and Vaping Enforcement Officers (TVEOs). If you have questions, contact the TVEO assigned to your school at ext 3100 or submit a complaint online.

Local municipalities have by-laws in place offering further protections.

School Board Policies

School boards can set policy that influence the social & environmental norms students experience. Please refer to your specific school board and/or school’s policies and code of conduct on tobacco, vaping, and substance use for further information. Individual schools should speak to their school boards about whether they can develop individual school policies.

  • Youth Advocacy e-Learning - Lung Health Foundation - has a number of self-directed e-modules students can complete on their own. Youth Advocacy e-modules will teach you the basics of health promotion, get you fired up about anti-tobacco advocacy (Learn How to Push Back Against an Industry that KILLS), and introduce you to emerging topics like vaping (What the Vape).
  • RNAO - Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit - Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with public health units, School Boards, SMH ASSIST and provincial youth based organizations to develop a peer based youth mental health initiative. The partnership resulted in the development of the toolkit to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, youth-led mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention initiatives in school settings. The toolkit, includes guiding frameworks, how to build your team, youth training content, event planning, and evaluation tips.

School Campaigns and Social Media

Quit Support

Quit Support

  • Youth Advocacy e-Learning - Lung Health Foundation - has a number of self-directed e-modules students can complete on their own. Youth Advocacy e-modules will teach you the basics of health promotion, get you fired up about anti-tobacco advocacy (Learn How to Push Back Against an Industry that KILLS), and introduce you to emerging topics like vaping (What the Vape).
  • RNAO - Youth Mental Health & Addiction Champion Toolkit - Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with public health units, School Boards, SMH ASSIST and provincial youth based organizations to develop a peer based youth mental health initiative. The partnership resulted in the development of the toolkit to support the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based, youth-led mental health promotion and substance misuse prevention initiatives in school settings. The toolkit, includes guiding frameworks, how to build your team, youth training content, event planning, and evaluation tips.

School Campaigns and Social Media

Why is cannabis a concern for youth?

While cannabis is legal for those over the age of 19, it is illegal for everyone else. This means that under-age users will turn to the black market, or “street” products. These products are not regulated or checked by anyone, and can contain substances other than cannabis. In many cases, street cannabis has been found to include many other drugs such as cocaine and fentanyl.

Why do youth use cannabis?

One of the main reasons youth and teens will use a substance is peer pressure. It’s important to know that peer pressure can on take different forms. In some cases, it may result from their peers directly telling them they “should” use cannabis, or “must” use cannabis to fit in. However, it may be indirect. Many youth have said that simply being around people who are using it, without being verbally pressured, still led them to feel pressure to use it.