Treatment helping people quit cannabis

More West Australians are considering changing or quitting their drug use as a result of attending a cannabis intervention session, according to new figures. Since 2011, 2,633 cannabis users have attended intervention sessions, with 72 per cent of attendees considering changing their smoking habits, or quitting, as a result.

The figures were revealed by Mental Health Minister Helen Morton as she relaunched the Cannabis messes with your mind public education campaign which includes radio, press, online and outdoor advertising.

“This campaign has been successful at increasing awareness about the health and mental health risks associated with cannabis use, particularly among young people, and also in encouraging cannabis users to quit or cut down,” Mrs Morton said.

Western Australia’s Cannabis Law Reform Act 2010, which came into effect on August 1, 2011, means people caught in possession of 10 grams of cannabis or less, or in possession of a smoking implement containing traces of the drug, must attend a cannabis intervention session, provided by services under contract with the Drug and Alcohol Office.

“Using even a small amount of cannabis can increase your risk of mental health problems, including anxiety, panic attacks and schizophrenia.  One in seven cannabis users report experiencing mental health problems.  The risk increases the earlier you start and the more you use,” the Minister said.

“The Drug and Alcohol Office surveyed 1,721 people who attended a treatment session and 82 per cent said they had thought about reducing their use and 72 per cent had considered quitting,” she said.

“These results are testament to the fact that treatment does work, which is a message we are continuing to promote with the latest phase of our State-wide Cannabis messes with your mind campaign.”

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