Increasing Positive Outcomes Through Cannabis Education

Posted On Wednesday October 13, 2021
Increasing Positive Outcomes Through Cannabis Education
DDSB partnered with local school boards to produce an educator’s guide focused on cannabis education.

Educator training modules on substance use are in development to support staff and students

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) recently partnered with Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB), Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB) and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) to create an educator’s guide aimed at de-stigmatizing and expanding education about cannabis use.

“By creating an informed staff group who use non-stigmatizing language when addressing and teaching about healthy choices and substance use, we increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for our students and staff,” says Dan Hogan, Substance Use and Violence Prevention Co-ordinator at the DDSB.

The idea to put together an educator’s guide came from a webinar for educators hosted by the CCSA in early 2021, focused on addressing substance use issues with youth. Based on the response from the roughly 1,000 participants, it was identified that it would be beneficial to develop training modules that address key issues of concern such as substance use and addiction, stigma, and cannabis and vaping.

Making use of from funds earmarked by the Government of Ontario to support cannabis education, three training modules are currently in development as part of the educator’s guide.

Module 1: Substance Use and Addiction

The first module will include a general introduction to substance use and Substance Use Disorders, examining risk factors, how to reduce harms associated substance use, as well as symptoms and signs of harmful substance use and suggestions for seeking support.

Module 2: Stigma

This module will address stigma related to substance use and potential discriminatory and judgmental language that is sometimes used that prevents people from seeking and receiving treatment support. Concepts that will be covered include self stigma, social stigma, and structural stigma.

Module 3: Cannabis and Vaping

The final module will cover the emerging evidence related to the harms associated with vaping in general and vaping cannabis specifically. It will also cover several approaches to educating students regarding risks and harms associated with vaping and cannabis, how to speak to youth about cannabis and vaping, as well as suggested harm reduction strategies.

Mr. Hogan adds that the training modules will roll out using a “train the trainer” approach to encourage scaling and spreading among educators and will support building capacity for training amongst colleagues.

DDSB staff can expect to see these modules available after October 14th, 2021.