The Canadian Press

OTTAWA: The federal government has kicked off a new anti-drug marketing campaign that was spurned by three of the country’s top medical groups due to concerns it was politically motivated. The Conservatives say the new “Preventing Drug Abuse” marketing campaign aims to equip parents with the information and tools to talk to their teenagers about the dangers of marijuana and prescription drugs. The $7-million, seven-week campaign starting today and ending in December will feature TV, web and social media advertisements warning of the harmful effects of prescription drugs and marijuana use on developing teenage brains. The funding is part of a five-year, $45-million funding envelope announced in the last federal budget. “We know that prescription drug abuse and marijuana use can have devastating effects on our families and communities,” Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who announced the launch on behalf of Health Minister Rona Ambrose, said in a statement. The campaign will provide “new resources” to help parents talk to their teens about the dangers of marijuana and prescription drug abuse, she added. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was suspicious of Conservative motives regarding the campaign earlier this year following reports that Health Canada had approached three doctors’ groups to sign on. The proposed initiative came on the heels of several Conservative cabinet ministers, including Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino, publicly criticizing Trudeau’s support for legalizing marijuana, prompting charges the campaign was politically motivated. All three medical groups _ the CMA, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada _ declined to participate, saying the campaign had become a “political football.”


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