Cannabis, also known as Marijuana or weed is a commonly used illegal substance in the United Kingdom (UK) today even among persons under the age of 18 research shows (Rcpsych.ac.uk, 2017)
Presently, young people in the UK are likely to smoke cannabis as cigarettes which impacts negatively on their mental health and the community at large. Peer pressure to use drugs especially cannabis is high among young persons and its continuous use increases the risk or probability of them experiencing mental health symptoms and disorders. (Dearden, 2017).
Hence the need to educate young persons about the detrimental impact cannabis and other illicit drugs can have on their health.
The target audience for the leaflet designed as part of this assignment is adolescents (young persons aged 12 – 18).
Young person’s use of cannabis or weed is on the ascendancy even though it is a harmful illegal substance. This group of people have no true knowledge of what it contains as they buy them from drug dealers and those addicted to it risk getting physical health and emotional wellbeing issues such as poor concentration, slow reaction times, panic attacks, mood swings and isolating themselves from friends and family (JOHNS, 2001). There is the need to create awareness about the dangers of cannabis to adolescents in the UK and how it affects their mental health to reduce the risks it may pose to their health and wellbeing and to deter them from using it. About 60,000 people suffer from mental health problems which are caused by weed in the UK (The Sun, 2016). This causes more admissions to mental health facilities, causes more distress and has negative cost implications on health services (The Sun, 2016) thus making it a significant public health issues that needs to be addressed. The more people especially adolescents who use cannabis realize the need for them to quit, the better it will be for the society as a whole; there will be a reduction in drug related crime and accidents, poor human relations associated with its use will be reduced, and a healthier and happier life for all.
PREVALENCE OF CANNABIS USE AMONG ADOLESCENTS
Adolescents in the UK are more likely to have tried cannabis or are regular users of cannabis. Almost 40% of adolescents revealed they had tried cannabis and other illicit substances, the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) revealed. (EPHA, 2017)