The media has been flooded recently with stories and articles about the medical benefits of Cannabis. The stories not seen in the media are the ones where young people and their families are being destroyed by weed. While we know that there are most definitely cases where medically supervised treatment with derivatives of the cannabis plant are having a positive impact on some diseases such as rare forms of epilepsy, these exceptional instances are certainly not referring to the street bought ‘weed’ that is being smoked by people in our communities. This is all causing confusion. It is confusing for parents, professionals and young people themselves. TDATF decided to organise a conference to help alleviate some of the confusion and to offer both scientific information and professional advice to the people who may be in a position to influence our young people.
Speakers at the conference included; Grainne Kearney Young Persons Keyworker, CARP, Killinarden, Suzanne Lindsay, Drug Prevention & Education, Foroige, Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI Psychiatry, Dr. Bobby Smyth PhD MRCPsych, Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, YODA, Dr. Colin Doherty, Consultant Neurologist, St. James Hospital. The conference was hosted by the Tallaght Drug and Alcohol Task Force and was attended by 180 people. The attendees included; Gardai, youth workers, addiction service providers, home school liaison officers, college lecturers, college students and members of the general public. The response from the audience was very positive. The panel Q&A at the end highlighted that most people working with children and young people are concerned about this issue and the normalization of cannabis use in society. In the hours and days after the conference, we continue to receive messages thanking us for facilitation this ‘long overdue event’, as one person described it.
Caption: Niamh McGuinness, TDATF, Suzanne Lindsay, Foroige, Grainne Kearney, CARP, Killinarden, Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI, Dr. Bobby Smyth, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, YODA.