What’s with Weed

Who this program is for:

WWW is a peer-led secondary school program, delivered by senior high school students, to help students in grade 9 or 10 recognize and reduce, avoid or prevent problems with marijuana use.

What this program is about:

WWW is a peer education program to engage youth in a discussion about the use of marijuana.  This program provides secondary schools with effective tools to address marijuana use with its students. It helps students identify not only potential problems but also positive behaviour change strategies connected with marijuana use.

The What’s with Weed peer education program was developed from the project: “Youth-to Youth: The Risks and Realities of Marijuana” in collaboration with youth and partners in education and youth treatment in Ontario. To learn more about the project, partners and evaluation, click here.

WWW is unique as a program that is meant to be inclusive of both users and non-users of marijuana.  The program supports a preventive education approach that allows every individual to choose a course of action for themselves and identify strategies to reduce, avoid or prevent problems.

A website whatswithweed.ca was developed to help users and friends of users consider the risks and potential harms associated with their marijuana use and strategies for reducing harm.

 

Program structure:

What’s with Weed is a program designed to engage high school students in a youth-to-youth marijuana prevention program within a school community that is informed about the issues related to marijuana use and supportive of the WWW education strategies.  The program model has eight phases:

  1. Initial meeting with school administration to introduce the program
  2. Presentation at staff meeting to educate all staff
  3. Introduction at Parent Council or other parent meeting
  4. Senior student recruitment to identify the peer educator volunteers
  5. Training day with peer educators
  6. Review and practice time for peer educators
  7. Assembly for younger students, involving the peer educators
  8. Workshop for younger students delivered by peer educators

The implementation steps and background information (WWW: Program Information and Getting Started)  are available as part of the implementation kit or can be downloaded in printable form.

 

Implementation options:

  • Recruitment of voluntary peer educators is recommended through the process of  a senior assembly, using local speakers, providing current information about marijuana, and involving school youth and youth treatment agencies.  Other recruitment strategies can be used, as long as the program is seen as non-judgemental and providing youth-driven messaging.
  • The junior assembly will need to be prepared according to the needs of the school and the involvement of students from the peer educator team.
  • A What’s with Weed DVD, with a series of interviews between a youth counselor and five youth marijuana or former marijuana users, is available for use with the recruitment assemblies or other parts of program implementation.
  • The workshop delivered by the peer educators follows a 75 minute format.  The amount of time can be adjusted to fit the scheduling of the high school.

 

Peer leader training:

  • It is recommended that peer educators be selected on a voluntary basis, either through a senior recruitment assembly or some comparable means.
  • A full one-day training workshop takes the peer educators through the components of the delivery package and works with them to identify their perspective of marijuana risks, offer correct factual information and allow them to come up with unique messages for younger students.
  • A PAD peer education associate is available to provide the one day training workshop.
  • Each peer educator is given a manual for use during their presentation workshop with the younger students.
  • Peer educators form teams of around five members for their workshops with the younger students and present their workshops in a classroom set-up.

 

Requirements of the high school:

  • High schools working with the WWW program need to follow through on the eight steps recommended in the WWW Program Information and Getting Started manual.
  • High schools implementing the WWW program typically work with health and youth agency personnel to follow through the different steps of the program implementation.
  • For further assistance on implementing the WWW program, please contact us.

For program information:

PAD is able to provide peer leader training workshops and manuals free of charge to participating schools.  To learn more, please contact our office.

 

Program testimonials:

  • “Every high school student will need to make a decision about marijuana. Students understand what works and what doesn’t. We’ve seen many presentations, but they usually turn into lectures. Students would much rather hear about marijuana on their own turf, in their own language and by people their age.” – Natasha Lantz, Youth Advisor