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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume 2 - Policies and Practices In Canada

Chapter 16 - Prevention



Prevention is necessary. Keeping our guiding principles in mind, prevention must be part of a vision of the role of governance as a way of fostering human initiative and a vision of ethics and public health that focus on autonomy. In that sense, it is not an instrument of control, but rather a tool to help set people free. And in the case of cannabis, being set free does not mean not using, but rather having the ability to take a position on and think about the reasons for using and the ability to deal independently with at-risk behaviour.


Conclusions Chapter 16

On prevention











On evaluation








On harm reduction

            A national drug strategy should include a strong prevention component.

            Prevention strategies must be able to take into account contemporary knowledge about drugs.

            Prevention messages must be credible, verifiable and neutral.

            Prevention strategies must be comprehensive, cover many different factors and involve the community.

            Prevention strategies in schools should not be led by police services or delivered by police officers.

            The RCMP should reconsider its choice of the DARE program.


            Prevention strategies must include comprehensive evaluation of a number of key measurements.

            A national drug strategy should include mechanisms for widely disseminating the results of research and evaluations.

            Evaluations must avoid reductionism, involve stakeholders in prevention, be part of the program, and include longitudinal impact assessment.


            Harm reduction strategies related to cannabis should be developed in coordination with educators and the social services sector.

            Harm reduction strategies related to cannabis should include information on the risks associated with heavy chronic use, tools for detecting at-risk and heavy users, and measures to discourage people from driving under the influence of marijuana.


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