CA Dept of Public Health Launches Youth Cannabis Prevention Initiative

SACRAMENTO – Mind Over Marijuana is the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) new educational campaign to inform youth about the dangers of underage cannabis use, and how it can impact their social and emotional well-being later in life. The campaign, which launches this week with messages on social media platforms, also engages parents by providing facts about the detrimental effects of cannabis use on developing brains and resources for talking to young people about cannabis use.

“We’ve all struggled as the pandemic took away many of our social outlets,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. “This was especially hard on teens, so our ultimate goal with this campaign is to help California adolescents develop healthy ways to cope with life’s stressors without turning to underage cannabis use. The Youth Cannabis Prevention Initiative and the new Mind Over Marijuana campaign aim to prevent underage cannabis use and promote mental wellness.”

The campaign is part of an annual $12 million Youth Cannabis Prevention Initiative which is designed to educate teens and their parents and guardians, about the effects of cannabis use during this important developmental period. The effort is mandated by Proposition 64 (2016) which legalized the recreational sale and use of cannabis to people over the age of 21 and set up the Cannabis Tax Fund to fund youth education, prevention, early intervention, treatment, and school retention in California.

The Mind Over Marijuana campaign was created based on research and feedback from young people and parents participating in focus groups across the state. The campaign addresses the effects of underage cannabis use on two key pillars of mental health: social and emotional wellbeing. Starting this month, Mind Over Marijuana messages will launch on social media, radio, television, and outdoor advertising, such as billboards and at bus stops.

Materials for both campaigns will be available in English and Spanish. For more information on the Youth Cannabis Prevention Initiative, visit the Youth Cannabis Prevention Initiative.

To help parents start conversations with their children, the Let’s Talk Cannabis component will provide tips, tools and guidelines to help parents and guardians talk with their children about cannabis use. Let’s Talk Cannabis will include virtual and in-person events, and educational toolkits with helpful materials like conversation guides and fact sheets.

A recent California Healthy Kids Survey shows 16 percent of 11th graders currently use cannabis – it’s more prevalent than both binge drinking and smoking tobacco. According to a 2020 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, about 1-in-10 adolescents ages 12 to 17 have used cannabis within the past year.

These campaigns align with California’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health, a comprehensive approach to ensure all California kids, parents, and communities have increased access to mental health and substance use services.

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