1 Sep 2008

New Caledonia launches campaign over cannabis problems

1:34 pm on 1 September 2008

The New Caledonian government is launching an awareness campaign today to warn against the consequences of cannabis consumption on mental health.

Television spots will be screened from today to highlight the problems caused to public health by the drug which the authorities say has become a scourge.

Experts say a parallel economy has emerged in the relatively underdeveloped east of the main island.

The health ministry says 23 young people are in psychiatric care in Noumea as a result of their cannabis use.

A study published in March shows the drug use among young Kanaks has led to suicidal behaviour.

Figures show that cannabis consumption among 17 and 18 year olds is lower than in mainland France but the highest in French overseas territories.

However, a biologist says the cannabis grown in New Caledonia is stronger than the substance in France.