TRACE IV: The TRACE4Parents Study


TRACE IV: The TRACE4Parents Study

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This report was published by the Teens Report on Adolescent Cannabis Experiences (TRACE) Research Program (University of British Columbia, University of Calgary & Simon Fraser University).


TRACE IV is the continuation of the Teens Report on Adolescent Cannabis Experiences (TRACE), a qualitative, youth-focused research program that began in Vancouver, BC, in 2006. While the first three TRACE iterations focused primarily on youth experiences, we also spoke to educators, members of parent advisory councils, and other adults involved with drug prevention and education.

A strong thread in the early TRACE findings was that cannabis use was often left unaddressed by parents or adult caregivers, who felt ill-equipped to engage in constructive dialogue about cannabis use with the young people in their lives. To address this gap, for TRACE IV, we sought the perspectives of parents. TRACE IV took place in two parts, prior to and following cannabis legalization in Canada.

The first component of the study was based out of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia from February to June 2016, where the team interviewed 16 people recruited from a peer-based support group for parents and caregivers whose children were engaged in substance use associated with harms. The findings suggested that parents felt primarily responsible for their children’s problematic use but recognized there was a lack of resources and support for meaningfully addressing cannabis use with their adolescent children. This early research produced a paper presented at the 4th Contemporary Drug Problems Conference in Helsinki, Finland, in 2017. A subsequent manuscript was published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 2019.

With the announcement of Canada’s plans to legalize cannabis, beginning in the fall of 2018, we undertook a second round of interviews in Alberta and British Columbia with parents who identified as cannabis users. We focused on parental cannabis use among parents of teens because we identified that parent-user perspectives were missing from conversations about youth cannabis education and prevention in the context of legalization. This report summarizes the findings from the second set of TRACE IV interviews, and academic publications from this study are currently in progress.

University of British Columbia, University of Calgary & Simon Fraser University. (2022). TRACE IV: The TRACE4Parents Study.

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