Cannabis a potential harm reduction tool for youth at risk of fatal overdose, research shows

published on December 3, 2020 by Rochelle Baker in National Observer

Canada’s overdose crisis — fuelled by increasingly toxic street drugs and compounded by COVID-19 — is going into overdrive, and youth are particularly vulnerable, researchers say.

But research suggests novel approaches might help youth struggling with illicit drugs, and mitigate the risk of overdose, including using cannabis as a harm reduction tool and focusing on other aspects of youths’ lives before pushing treatment or recovery.

Even prior to the pandemic, Canadian youth ages 15 to 24 were the fastest growing population hospitalized for illicit drug overdoses.

And young people age 29 and younger account for approximately 20 per cent (3,200) of the more than 16,000 fatal overdoses across Canada between January 2016 and March 2020…

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