My name is Noel Hershfield and I am a specialist in Internal Medicine in Calgary.
I am concerned about the current epidemic of drug addiction in our youth. It is estimated that 48% of the population of this country are consuming cannabis or marijuana. This drug is to be legalized by our government next year. It is not an innocuous substance. It is a very psychoactive drug, especially in the young. The developing brain is very susceptible to the effects of this substance, and other psychoactive substances such as narcotics which are over prescribed by the medical profession. On the street, there are hallucinogenic such as LSD, stimulants such as ecstasy (which is really amphetamine), cocaine, fentanyl, and even pink remover which is inhaled.
In fact, any drug, either prescribed or taken illegally can cause side effects and some can be deadly.
Over 400 deaths have been reported in the Province of Alberta due to overdose of narcotics. Many have been admitted to hospitals with serious problems due to these substances. Our emergency rooms are now being flooded with young people suffering from the side effects of cannabis and other substances which are frequently mixed. It is stated that 400 million young people are consuming these drugs all over the world and it is a worldwide epidemic, and the current generation, according to those that are aware of the problem, is doomed! The next generation is now the target of these drug dealers. The problem is paramount in the Western world.
There is evidence that education of young people beginning at age 15, may help to reduce the number of children who are taking these substances. There is also evidence in this country that between 15 and 20% of young people starting at age 15, or even lower, are now experimenting or imbibing drugs.
If this was an epidemic such as AIDS, the scientific and medical community would be investigating the cause, prevention, and the treatment. In this situation, no one, including the medical profession, youth organizations, or the government has an answer for the flood of drugs that are entering this country and being produced in this country. It is a $600 billion business.
I recently returned from a course in the United States on how to attempt to educate the young about the truth about drugs.
I am available to educate our children in our schools, community centers, soccer teams, and anywhere where young people congregate.
The idea is not to preach, but to teach. At least then our children will be able to make an informed choice as to whether or not they will take part in this dangerous activity.
Thank you for your attention to this matter:
Noel Hershfield. FRCP.
Email is gutdoc1@Shaw.ca and my cell phone number is 587-917-2677.