The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG) warns young people not believe online information about the supposed benefits of using marijuana, saying such propaganda is totally false.
The Hong Kong Police Force is working with the HKFYG to counteract such misleading information by posting on a designated Facebook account confessions of former drug addicts who have been rehabilitated and disseminating other audiovisual materials about the harmful effects of using marijuana, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The enhanced campaign against cannabis comes as police data suggests growing use of marijuana in the territory.
In the first 10 months of 2017, 228 people were arrested for involvement in 182 serious cannabis-related cases, up 54 and 44 percent respectively from the same period last year. Police also seized cannabis totaling 757 kilograms, up 262 percent from the same period last year.
Chan Man-ho, supervisor of the HKFYG youth crime prevention center, said many web pages and social media platforms share news stories about the medical benefits of using cannabis and certain places where marijuana use has been legalized.
However, these web pages fail to warn readers about the harmful effects of using cannabis, he said.
Chan blames the proliferation of such misleading information on the internet for the rising number of marijuana users.
Some netizens have turned online forums into places where they can exchange information on where they can buy cannabis, prevailing prices and how they feel after using it, he said.
A 22-year-old rehabilitating marijuana user who has been receiving help from the HKFYG said he still uses cannabis occasionally because it helps him relax in a “healthier” way than other drugs.
But Chan said such a belief is totally wrong because cannabis is as harmful as other prohibited drugs.
He said another factor that makes cannabis popular is its relatively cheaper price, noting that a marijuana “joint” is only a little bit more expensive than a normal cigarette.
Dr. Cheung Wai-him, a psychiatrist, warns that cannabis is a psychotropic drug that can be very harmful to mental health as it causes auditory and visual hallucinations.
Cheung said a patient of his showed symptoms of schizophrenia after taking cannabis only once or twice.
– Contact us at [email protected]