The popularity of the waxpen, a type of cannabis vaporizer, in Quebec schools is worrying several players in the circles who do not hesitate to qualify the phenomenon as a “scourge”.
“It's a real scourge in high schools,” says Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Principals, about the electronic device that distills the drug in order to accentuate its effect.
Unlike an ordinary joint, the waxpen produces no odor and is almost undetectable.
Although she does not have precise figures on the number of cannabis consumers by this method which maximizes the concentration of THC, the active product of cannabis, Ms. Legault says it is very common in high schools in the Montreal area. . To the point where we have seen cases where the devices were plugged into the wall among electronic tablets and cell phones.
At the request of the Journal, she held a consultation in her network to find out the extent of the damage caused by this vaper. The vast majority of secondary schools are affected. The most serious case is that of a young person who had to be transported by ambulance following a loss of consciousness.
The same goes for the Association québécoise du personnel de direction des écoles, which brings together 700 establishments from Longueuil to Rivière-du-Loup.
“We are being told more and more cases use of the waxpen in secondary schools”, summarizes its president, Carl Ouellet.
According to the two administrators, the school system is not equipped to deal with this wave of illegal products made available on the black market on the internet. Ms. Legault calls for a strong campaign led jointly by the ministries of Health and Social Services and Education of Quebec. “It is a public health problem!
On this subject, the Direction de santé publique du Québec states that this is an “issue that the [ministry] takes very seriously and is monitoring closely” and that ” information and awareness tools” on the subject were being developed.
Audrey-Ann Lecours, responsible for prevention in schools at Action Toxicomanie, in Victoriaville, agrees and is worried about an increase in cases during the end-of-year holidays, conducive to new experiences. .
“By doing nothing, we trivialize this product which can cause loss of consciousness and hospitalization. We have to act now,” she said.
New and dangerous
“It worries us a lot because young people don’t seem to aware of the risks of this product,” says Anne–Élizabeth Lapointe, director of the Quebec Center for Addictions.
She laments that this product, which can only be found on the black market, can contain more than three times the legal dose.
“We have carried out effective campaigns to buckle our seat belts. Why not campaigns to prevent drug abuse? she concludes.
An illegal device
The waxpen (wax > because of the texture of the product reminiscent of wax and penfor its resemblance to a pen) contains up to 98% cannabis concentrate. No legal product has more than 30% THC.
In Quebec, the minimum age to legally buy cannabis is 21 years old. In addition to constituting a serious risk of intoxication – which can go as far as toxic psychosis – waxpen can lower the age of dependence.
Only the Quebec Society Cannabis (SQDC) is authorized to sell cannabis and its derivatives, recalls Frédéric Giguère, its spokesperson.
“For health protection reasons, no cannabis-based vaping product should is on legal sale in Quebec,” he says. Any purchase outside the SQDC, online or in person, constitutes an illegal act.
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128