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On the use of digital technologies to reduce the public health impacts of cannabis legalization in Canada

  • Wassim Bedrouni
Commentary

Abstract

The imminent legalization of recreational cannabis represents a considerable public health challenge that requires proactive measures to ensure a responsible transition. The federal government recognizes the need for strict regulation to reduce cannabis-related health harms, notably among the youth. Additionally, the government plans to oversee a national public awareness campaign as part of a harm-reduction strategy. In light of the public health risks of cannabis legalization, this paper proposes the implementation of increasingly popular, evidence-based, preventive, and therapeutic digital interventions to minimize the harms of this policy among adolescents and young adults. These E-health interventions facilitate healthcare delivery, improve patient care, and overcome stigmatization, especially in the context of substance abuse. Therefore, we argue that a continuum of digital tools, including prevention programs, educational material, and therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing risky consumption of cannabis, should be embraced as part of a comprehensive public health strategy by the federal government in anticipation of legalization later this year.

Keywords

Cannabis Prevention Internet-based Computer-based E-health Substance use 

Résumé

La légalisation imminente du cannabis récréatif pose un défi considérable pour la santé publique, défi qui nécessite des mesures volontaristes pour que la transition se fasse sans heurts. Le gouvernement fédéral reconnaît le besoin d’une réglementation stricte pour réduire les méfaits du cannabis pour la santé, tout particulièrement chez les jeunes. De plus, le gouvernement entend coordonner une campagne d’information nationale dans le cadre d’une stratégie de réduction des méfaits. Compte tenu des risques de la légalisation du cannabis pour la santé publique, nous proposons ici la mise en œuvre d’interventions numériques préventives et thérapeutiques fondées sur les preuves pour réduire les méfaits de la politique envisagée pour les adolescents et les jeunes adultes. De plus en plus populaires, ces interventions cybersanitaires facilitent la prestation des soins de santé, améliorent les soins aux malades et désamorcent la stigmatisation, surtout dans le contexte des toxicomanies. En conséquence, nous faisons valoir qu’un continuum d’outils numériques incluant des programmes de prévention, du matériel pédagogique et des interventions thérapeutiques visant à réduire la consommation de cannabis à risque devraient faire partie de la stratégie de santé publique globale du gouvernement fédéral en prévision de la légalisation du cannabis cette année.

Mots-clés

Cannabis Prévention par Internet Prévention assistée par ordinateur Cybersanté Consommation de substances 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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