Cannabis :: Message on the dangers of cannabis hit home

A new report showing that young Australians no longer considered cannabis to be a harmless drug is a testament to the impact the Howard Government?s Tough on Drugs campaign is having, the Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said today.

?For years the Prime Minister and I have been making the point that cannabis is not a benign or harmless drug, and we have recently seen increasing evidence supporting a link between cannabis use, and severe mental illness,? Mr Pyne said.

?The facts are that users of cannabis can be prone to schizophrenia and psychotic episodes not dissimilar to the use of other illicit drugs like Ice,? he said.

?The Secondary School Survey released last year showed a significant decline in the use of cannabis amongst secondary students, which contributed to an overall decline in illicit drug use amongst that age group.

?This new NDARC survey shows that the Government?s message is reaching a wider audience, with a third of under 30-year-olds finding cannabis use unacceptable.

?The focus of the last National Drugs Campaign included cannabis as a key component showing the real life effects that cannabis can have on young people. I think this study shows that the campaign really had an impact.

?The Howard Government announced in the last budget significant funding for illicit drug programs, including the development of a National Cannabis Centre, which will become a focus point for research and education on the dangers of cannabis,? Mr Pyne said.