Harper Appoints Evangelical Pastor to ‘Study’ Marijuana and Schizophrenia

Chris Summerville is the is the interim CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and an evangelical pastor.Chris Summerville is the is the interim CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada and an evangelical pastor.The new Canadian Mental Health Commission is “a wonderful opportunity” for Christians to be involved in dealing with one of the most pressing issues in our society, according to one of its members.

Chris Summerville is one of 11 non-government members of the new Commission’s board of directors. Besides struggling with mental health issues himself, he is the interim CEO of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, executive director of the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society, and a certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner. He is also a committed Christian and an ordained pastor with the Associated Gospel Churches of Canada.

Summerville said he hopes to bring a holistic approach to the issue that addresses body, mind, soul and spirit.

According to the Associated Gospel Church website, history section: “The AGC traces its beginnings to the early 1890s when a group of independent evangelical churches became known as the Christian Workers’ Church of Canada”

UPDATE: The Canadian Schizophrenia Society Board of Directors contain no apparent Medical Doctors or PhD’s, and the first name of the list appears to be a police officer from Toronto.

UPDATE 2: Pam Forsythe is a practising Psychiatrist

For more info, check out the announcement yesterday:

Cannibis smokers have a seven-fold schizophrenia risk

Harper government devotes funds to studying the link between marijuana use and mental illness

WINNIPEG – The Harper government is putting up $550,000 to gather research on marijuana use and mental illness.

The Schizophrenia Society of Canada will use the money to further research the links between cannabis and early psychosis as well as develop promotional materials warning youth about the dangers of smoking pot.

The money is part of Ottawa’s $30 million national anti-drug strategy announced in 2007.

Chris Summerville, CEO of the Schizophrenia Society, said the public doesn’t realize that cannabis users have a seven-fold increase in risk of developing schizophrenia.

He pointed to recent research out of Victoria, B.C., linking pot smoking and mental illness.

As part of the society’s research, some 30 youths who have experienced psychosis will be trained to gather information about the reasons their peers use cannabis.

The results will be used to develop educational materials aimed at decreasing the use of illicit drugs among young people.

Winnipeg Conservative MP Joy Smith said Tuesday that while the public regards marijuana as a soft drug, there may be very serious consequences for young pot smokers who have a predisposition to mental illness.

“Science has shown that cannabis may actually trigger the onset of psychosis and may also intensify the symptoms for those who already have a psychotic illness,” Smith said in announcing the grant.

“It has been suggested that up to 80 per cent of youth who have had a psychotic episode were using cannabis. And that’s pretty shocking,” said Smith, who was filling in for Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq at news conference.

– Visit WhyProhibition.ca.