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Hayzy Dayz - the Mentor leaflet

Hayzy Dayz
From "Hayzy Dayz" - Mentor leaflet

July 2004 - Mentor foundation advice to kids

A leaflet produced by Mentor UK, with support from the FRANK campaign was aimed at the 13-16 age group. Called "Hayzy Dayz", it uses a comic-book format to warn kids of the health risks of using cannabis.

We support what Mentor is attempting to do in giving information to young people about the possible dangers of cannabis but it tries to do this by presenting the cannabis using parents as being loopy pot-heads. The official blurb says "this parental advice is recognised by the teenagers to be less than helpful and it's left to the family's wise pet dog to contribute the facts and common sense to the story".

Hayzy Dayz - see the Mentor leaflet here
Mentor foundation here

UKCIA Hayzy dayz

UKCIA has produced an sequel to "Hayzy Dayz" which gives information about cannabis in what we think is a far more honest and believable way and without resorting to insulting stereotypes.

UKCIA Hayzy Dayz sequel

Tell us what you think!

What's wrong with it?

The message this leaflet contains seems to be to ignore the advice offered by older people with experience of cannabis, instead believe the advice offered by the government agencies. Making a mockery of parental advice in issues like this would seem an unwise approach

Where the Mentor leaflet contrasts with the approach UKCIA would like to see, aside from the obvious issue of it not explaining why the law makes the problems worse, is the lack of harm reduction advice. They mention the negatives without constructive solutions to combat them.

It does mention using cannabis with tobacco can get you addicted to be fair, which we were pleased to see, but it doesn't tell you how to avoid that if you still want to go on using cannabis. Maybe this is obvious, but experience and indeed formal research shows that many kids who use the cannabis in UK, at precisely the age range this is targeted at, do not even contemplate using cannabis without tobacco.

The stereotypes are really quite silly and unhelpful as well, suggesting that cannabis makes you turn into a spaced out loser. There are a huge number of people who use cannabis and a vast proportion are "normal", "successful" etc. rather than the portrayed stereotype, which could be taken as somewhat insulting.

It also makes the point that you are better off believing a talking dog than either your parents or people with experience of cannabis use. Part of the problem with children and illegal drugs is the lack of belief/respect they have in their parents' opinions, which this can only reinforce. The stereotypes alone may turn children away from reading/believing the more valid points of the leaflet as it is quite likely they know people who smoke cannabis who do not remotely resemble them.

Additionally it mentions none of the positives of using cannabis, or where it does (via the parents) it immediately ridicules them.

It also assumes that readers have never used cannabis ("if you never start....") which may well be false and hence exclude for many children reading the leaflet who it would be well to target.

The insulting stereotype
Bernie Hayzy - hey maaan...

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