The popularity of wax pena type of cannabis vaper, in Quebec schools worries several players in the community who do not hesitate to describe the phenomenon as a “scourge”.

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“It’s a real scourge in high schools,” says Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Principals, about the electronic device that distills the drug in order to accentuate its effect.

Unlike an ordinary joint, the wax pen produces no odor and is almost undetectable.

Although she does not have precise figures on the number of cannabis consumers by this method which maximizes the concentration of THC, the active product of cannabis, Mme Legault says it is very common in high schools in the Montreal area. To the point where we have seen cases where the devices were plugged into the wall among electronic tablets and cell phones.

At the request of Log, she held a consultation in her network to find out the extent of the damage caused by this vaper. The vast majority of secondary schools are affected. The most serious case is that of a young person who had to be transported by ambulance following a loss of consciousness.

Not equipped

Same story on the side of the Quebec Association of School Management Staff, which brings together 700 establishments from Longueuil to Rivière-du-Loup.

“We are hearing more and more use cases of the wax pen in secondary schools”, summarizes its president, Carl Ouellet.

According to the two administrators, the school system is not equipped to deal with this wave of illegal products made available on the black market on the Internet. Mme Legault calls for a strong campaign led jointly by the ministries of Health and Social Services and Education of Quebec. “It’s a public health problem! »

On this subject, the Direction de santé publique du Québec states that this is an “issue that the [ministère] takes very seriously and monitors closely” and that “information and awareness tools” on the subject were being developed.

Audrey-Ann Lecours, responsible for prevention in schools at Action Toxicomanie, in Victoriaville, agrees and is concerned about an increase in cases during the end-of-year holidays, which are conducive to new experiences. .

“By doing nothing, we trivialize this product which can cause loss of consciousness and hospitalizations. We must act now,” she said.

New and dangerous

“It worries us a lot, because young people do not seem aware of the risks of this product,” says Anne–Élizabeth Lapointe, director of the Quebec Center for Addictions.

She regrets that this product, which can only be found on the black market, can contain more than three times the legal dose.

“We have carried out effective campaigns to fasten our seat belts. Why not campaigns to prevent drug abuse? she concludes.

An illegal device

​The waxpen (wax because of the texture of the product, reminiscent of wax and pen for its resemblance to a pen) contains up to 98% cannabis concentrate. No legal product has more than 30% THC.

In Quebec, the minimum age to legally buy cannabis is 21. In addition to constituting a serious risk of intoxication – which can go as far as toxic psychosis – the wax pen can lower the age of dependency.

Only the Quebec Cannabis Society (SQDC) is authorized to sell cannabis and its derivatives, recalls Frédéric Giguère, its spokesperson.

“For health protection reasons, no cannabis-based vaping product is on legal sale in Quebec,” he specifies. Any purchase outside SQDC, online or in person, constitutes an illegal act.

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