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District Launches Underage Marijuana Use Prevention Initiative

Monday, December 21, 2015
The “Blunt Truth” campaign educates youth about the harmful effects of marijuana usage

Contacts:
Phyllis Jones (DBH), [email protected], (202) 673-1937 (Office) or (202)631-3077 (Cell)
Marcus A. Williams (DOH), [email protected], (202) 724-7481 (Office) or (202) 549-4886 (Cell)

(Washington, DC) – The District of Columbia Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and the Department of Health (DOH) today announced the launch of a joint underage marijuana use prevention initiative.  The Blunt Truth educates residents about the health implications of marijuana use and provides information about prevention and treatment.  The campaign also reinforces that marijuana use and possession are illegal for individuals under 21 years of age.

“There are many myths when it comes to marijuana use and its effects on physical and mental wellness.  It’s critical that everyone understand the facts about marijuana consumption.” said Dr. Tanya A. Royster, DBH Director and Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, DOH Director in a joint statement. “We’ve put together resources for parents and caregivers to have conversations aimed at preventing underage marijuana use and to get help or treatment as needed.”

Research shows that marijuana use can lead to increased anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other mental health problems. Plus, alarmingly, young people ages 12 to 17 who smoke marijuana weekly are three times more likely than non-users to have thoughts about committing suicide. While some consider marijuana to be a “non-addictive” drug, studies have shown that frequent use can lead to dependency.

An interactive website, www.theblunttruthdc.com  includes information debunking the myths about marijuana as well as materials discussing the effects of marijuana use, the law in the District and where to find resources. Parents can download the materials directly from the website.  

The campaign will be visible across the District throughout the winter and spring with advertisements on metro, online, newspapers and radio. District youth, parents and caregivers can access the campaign through social media, using @DrugFreeYouthDC to find the campaign on Facebook or follow the campaign on Twitter.