Drug Awareness


Recreational cannabis was legalized on October 17, 2018 by the Federal Government. Ontario’s Government has put rules in place to keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, keep our roads safe and combat the illegal market. You must be 19 and older to buy, use, possess and grow recreational cannabis. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board remains committed to maintaining school and work environments smoke-free. Recreational cannabis possession and/or use is not and will not be permitted anywhere on OCDSB property.

Current rules for Ontario schools

A positive school climate and a safe learning and teaching environment are essential for student success. Everyone has a role to play in promoting a positive school climate. All existing rules against recreational cannabis use will remain in effect and include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Possession of cannabis (except for medical purposes, if authorized by a health care practitioner such as a physician or a nurse practitioner) will not be permitted while in schools or at school-related activities, even after legalization of recreational cannabis.

  • Suspension may be considered for a student under the influence or in possession of cannabis. Suspension will be required, and expulsion may be considered, if a student gives cannabis to a minor.

View the full details of cannabis legalization on the Government of Ontario's website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/cannabis-legalization


Parents/guardians and caregivers play an important role in their child’s life. The top two things that a parent or guardian can do is to be informed about drug issues and talk to your kids about drugs. Make sure that you secure prescription medications in your home - two-thirds of Ottawa students who used prescription drugs got the drug from someone they live with.

For more information, including tips for talking to your kids about drugs, information on opioids including fentanyl, how to spot an overdose,  what to do in an overdose,  and where to get naloxone go to Youth and Opioids: What Parents Need to Know on Ottawa Public Health’s Parenting in Ottawa website. 

Know the facts:

  • Canada has the second-highest level of prescription opioid use globally.

  •  Prescription opioids are misused more than most illegal drugs in Ottawa

  • Opioids were responsible for 45% of drug overdose deaths between 2009 and 2011

  • Fentanyl was the leading cause of death due to unintentional opioid overdose death in Ottawa

  • Lock up your prescription drugs at home and check regularly for missing medications

  • 13% of Ottawa high school students used prescription drugs and two-thirds of students got the drug from a parent, sibling or someone else they live with

  • Return unused or expired medications to your pharmacy or to a pharmacy participating in the Ontario Medication Return Program.

  •  A searchable link of pharmacies is available at DrugDropOffOttawa.ca 

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