Drug Free Kids Canada makes positivity its anti-drug

The non-profit wants parents to have less awkward and better informed conversations with their kids about drug use.


Drug Free Kids Canada has released a new campaign that focuses on promoting positive communication between parents and their kids about cannabis use.

Parents are more often having the awkward conversation about cannabis use with their children as a result of the pandemic. Not only do lockdowns force parents and their kids to spend more time in the same space, but more people have been turning to cannabis and other substances to cope with the crisis.

The campaign, which was developed by FCB, encourages parents who might otherwise feel uncomfortable to have the difficult discussion about the potential harms of drug use. It also points to tools and advice on the charity’s website.

“Parents don’t want to just tell their kids, ‘don’t do drugs.’ They want to open the door for a conversation,” explains Sylvain Dufresne, VP and head of creative at FCB Montreal. “And they’re still looking for information about how to start that conversation with their kids.”

There’s been a push for more positive communication from parents since marijuana was legalized in Canada in 2018. “Three years ago, parents had illegality as a topic they could use,” says Dufresne. “But now, it’s legal and they don’t have that. So parents are missing the tools to open the conversation without feeling like that old person trying to talk about something cool.”

There is also a knowledge gap among some parents when it comes to cannabis. “Most parents have had a glass of wine or beer, so they can talk about alcohol. Not as many parents smoke cannabis, so they’re not coming from a place of knowledge,” says Tim Welsh, VP and managing director with FCB in Toronto. “Also, some parents who have smoked it don’t want to admit that they have.”

Ultimately, the goal is to allay the fears parents might have about “opening the door” for their kids to talk about cannabis and to help equip them with the tools they need to successfully do so – while also warning their kids about the potential negative impacts of its use.

The national campaign launched earlier this month on TV, OOH, digital and radio.