The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has launched two new marijuana education campaigns to reach trusted adults who can influence a young person’s decision to not use marijuana and new moms who risk the health of their babies by using marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
“Parents carry the responsibility for the health of their children from infancy to adulthood,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, health department executive director and chief medical officer. “We’re here to help new moms understand the risk of using marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and to guide parents who want to talk to their kids about how marijuana use can get in the way of achieving their dreams.”
The trusted adults campaign launched June 14, and the pregnancy and breastfeeding campaign launched June 25. They follow two other new campaigns focusing on marijuana users and young people that began last month. All four campaigns are part of the health department’s new Responsibility Grows Here education effort that targets specific audiences — using their preferred media platforms — with messages on the safe, legal and responsible use of marijuana.
“Responsibility Grows Here builds on the success of our previous campaigns to focus our educational efforts on preventing young people and new moms from using marijuana and making sure those Coloradans who choose to use marijuana use it legally, safely and responsibly,” said Dr. Wolk.
Trusted adults ― parents, family, teachers and others ― can have an enormous influence on whether a young person uses marijuana. Health department surveys show young people with parents who feel marijuana use is wrong are four times less likely to use it. Those young people who have family rules about marijuana use, parents they can talk to and supportive teachers are much less likely to use marijuana.
To take advantage of these strong relationships, the health department’s trusted adult campaign shows these role models how important their voices can be and provides them resources they need to talk to their kids about marijuana. Responsibility Grows Here has tips on how trusted adults can start a conversation about marijuana; listen to the concerns of their children; and share information about the health and legal consequences of underage marijuana use. It also provides tips on discussing how marijuana use can get in the way of finishing school, building a career or pursuing other life goals.
For those parents who are just starting a family, the new moms campaign uses the latest research to bust the popular myth that marijuana use is safe for mother and baby because it’s natural and legal. Research shows there is no safe level of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, passes from mother to baby and can have lasting effects on lifelong health and learning.
The campaign focuses on younger moms who are using marijuana during pregnancy at a higher rate than older moms. While only a small percentage of women in Colorado use marijuana during pregnancy, research shows that women ages 15-24 are twice as likely to use marijuana as women ages 35 and older.
Previous health department campaigns have successfully increased the knowledge and awareness of the legal and health effects of marijuana in Colorado. Adults who saw these campaigns were more than twice as likely to know the laws governing marijuana use. Youth who saw them were much more likely to understand that marijuana made it harder to think and do things.