Teen drug addict, invoice salt

News 13 July, 2017
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    The young Canadians are the largest consumers of cannabis in the West, according to figures from UNICEF.

    Anne Caroline Desplanques

    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 06:30

    Thursday, 13 July, 2017 06:30

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    A teen drug addict will cost $ 450,000 to the company throughout his life, so that prevention could save millions of dollars per year in Canada, according to a study obtained exclusively by The Newspaper.

    “This is not a specific issue, this is a chronic condition. You can’t solve the problem by simply sending your child to treatment, ” describes Angie Hamilton who was fighting with his son for 10 years.

    It all started with a joint of cannabis when Cedrik (fictitious name) was 13 years old. A year later, he was addicted and the cannabis was not a substance, among others.

    Throughout his life, a young as Cedrik will cost taxpayers on average $ 57,000 in health care, 96 000 $ police services, and 299 000 $ loss of contribution to GDP, according to calculations conducted by the McGill School of Business Not-For-Profit Consulting for the account of the organization’s Youth drug-free Canada.


    This is the first time that a digit is placed on the financial burden of an adolescent drug addict for the company, says Marc Paris, the director of Youth drug free Canada. Conversely, an organization dedicated to the prevention calculates that his services could be spared to 700 young people per year in the cycle of dependence. It would save the State $ 315 million per year.

    “We’re trying to create a generation that will be less likely to experiment with drugs. For this, you need to invest in prevention, ” he insists. Currently, just 5.3% of the budgets allocated to health in Canada are attributed to the prevention, says the study obtained by The Newspaper.

    In a year of the legalization of cannabis, Mr. Paris hopes to reverse the steam because cannabis opens the door to other illicit substances, says the canadian Centre on substance abuse.

    If ” the risk of addiction reached about 9 % in people who consumed cannabis during their lives “, it reached 16 % among those who started in adolescence, continued the centre.

    Brain vulnerable

    Mr. Paris points out that young Canadians are the largest consumers of pot in the West, according to UNICEF. In fact, 28 % of Canadians 15 years of age have consumed cannabis in 2013, compared to less than 10 % in Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

    Youth drug-free Canada is not opposed to the legalization.

    “Prohibition has not worked, it is obvious. So a different approach is necessary, insists Mr. Paris. But it must come with education, because this is not a drug harmless. “

    It is particularly concerned about the impacts of cannabis on the brain development.

    Adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to the psychoactive compound in cannabis is THC, because their brain is in full development. It is in adolescence that develops the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain involved in particular in impulse control, problem-solving, and emotional regulation, says a study in the psychology Department of the University of Ottawa.

    How to make the prevention effective ?

    After a decade of fighting alongside his son, Angie Hamilton feels that if she had been better informed about the addiction, she may be able to avoid the vicious cycle.

    “My first reaction was anger. It has not helped, tells the story of the one that is today at the head of the grouping Families for Addiction Recovery. As a parent, you need to find out why your child is using drugs, stay empathetic, maintain the dialogue, it is the only way to help them. “


    In this vein, Marc Paris, the director of Youth drug free Canada, advocates for the funding of mass campaigns aimed at parents, for they are the ones who have the most influence on their young people, he believes.

    The opinions are divided, however, on this subject. According to the canadian Centre on substance abuse, the comprehensive programmes of prevention are most effective when they are provided in school settings, because it is key to youth groups and not individuals.

    “When we talk about the young people’s views on cannabis and the behaviour they adopt towards him, the influence of peers could be larger than the influence of family and school “, said professor Harold Kalant, Department of pharmacology and toxicology, University of Toronto, in a study by the canadian Centre on substance abuse.

    Campaigns in schools are, however, costly, ” says Mr Paris.

    “It is estimated that it costs on average $ 10 per child for a campaign in the schools,” he said.

    According to him, in order to be effective, ” prevention campaigns must have more than one pane “.

    Cost for parents

    In addition to millions of dollars in savings to the company, the prevention would also avoid spending heavily to parents.

    Alone, Ms Hamilton calculated that they had spent more than $ 200 000 to treat his son, mainly in the United States.

    “It is extremely difficult to get treatment in Canada, because the minor may refuse care and they do. My son has done. That is why we had to go to the United States, and the lockup force. “

    Teens and pot

    28 % of Canadians 15 years of age have consumed cannabis in 2013, compared to less than 10 % in Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden

    With 22.4 % of 15-19 year-olds reported having used cannabis in 2013

    22.9 per cent of secondary school students in Quebec reported having taken cannabis in 2012-2013, compared to 19 % in Canada as a whole

    Sources : Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre on substance abuse, UNICEF