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Health Educ Res. 2005 Aug;20(4):476-84. Epub 2004 Nov 30.

Swiss adolescents' and adults' perceptions of cannabis use: a qualitative study.

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Research Group on Adolescent Health, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Few studies have attempted to investigate the nature of adolescents' and adults' conceptions and perceptions of cannabis use. Our objectives were to explore adolescent and adult perception of use and misuse of cannabis, and their opinions and beliefs about the current legal context and preventive strategies. We used focus group discussions with four categories of stakeholders: younger (12-15 year old) adolescents, older (16-19 year old) adolescents, parents of teenagers and professionals working with young people. In some areas (legal framework, role of the media, importance of early preventive interventions), we found consensual attitudes and beliefs across the four groups of participants. In all four groups, participants did not have any consensual vision of the risks of cannabis use or the definition of misuse. In the area of the prevention of cannabis use/misuse, while parents focused on the potential role of professionals and the media, thus minimizing their own educational and preventive role, professionals stressed the importance of parental control and education. Within the Swiss context, we conclude there exists an urgent need for information and clarification of the issues linked with cannabis use and misuse directed at parents and professionals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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