The City of Denver has launched a campaign aimed at sparking conversations about cannabis among Denver's youth. High Costs was funded by revenue from the city's sales tax on retail cannabis and was created with the help of a city-organized youth commission and youth focus groups.
The campaign will be spread across billboards and schoolbus signs, and a fence sign will be displayed at Manual High School warning teens about addiction. To connect with kids through technology, there will also be High Costs Snapchat filters, a social-media game show called “Weeded Out” with prizes, and a Weeded Out trivia card game, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.
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“Our High Costs campaign is designed to help Denver’s youth understand the legal, educational, health and social risks that come from using marijuana underage,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement announcing the campaign. “Conversations about marijuana happen everywhere, and our goal is to provide facts that are not only accurate about the risks and realities of marijuana use, but that resonate with youth across Denver.”
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The educational materials are based on research from the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and the 2016 Health Statements and Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado Survey, both conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Key facts that the campaign hopes to impart to youth are listed below, with links to their attributed sources:
74 percent of Denver high school students didn't use cannabis within the past month in 2015
One in six teens who use cannabis will get addicted
Over 200,000 college students have been denied financial aid due to a drug arrest or minor drug offense
Youth cannabis use is associated with a seven-fold increased risk of depression
The Weeded Out game show requires a minute-long video on Instagram for entry (for kids only), with voting taking place on the best videos until February 28. After the winners are chosen, they will compete in a trivia-based game show about health, legal, educational and social issues related to cannabis. Grand Prize winners will choose from two VIP passes to the Big Gig music festival at Fiddler's Green, two tickets to see Harry Styles at the Pepsi Center, or being a radio sportscaster for a day on Orange and Blue 760 AM. Second- and third-place winners will choose from prizes like a smart TV, video-game chair, electric RipStick and Fitbit wristbands.
A new study from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that cannabis use among teens in Colorado has fallen below pre-Amendment 64 levels. Cannabis use by Coloradans ages twelve to seventeen has dropped nearly 20 percent between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, according to the study, falling from 11.13 percent to 9.08 percent. In 2012-13, past-month-use numbers for the same age group were at 11.16 percent.