CPHA revives pot + driving campaign
The Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) is launching an updated version of its pot and driving campaign, which incorporates information on current impaired-driving laws and legislation being proposed to strengthen those laws as cannabis legalization nears. The main objective remains unchanged: to raise awareness of the risks associated with cannabis-impaired driving.
“Canadian youth are among the most frequent users of cannabis in the world, second only to France,” said CPHA executive director Ian Culbert. “Youth of that age are beginning to drive and cannabis will soon be legal for those over 18 or 19. These resources are designed to help educators, health and social service providers, health promoters — even parents and guardians —have conversations about pot and driving with adolescents.”
The 2015 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) reported that more than 20% of youth aged 15-19 and nearly 30% of young adults aged 20-24 consume cannabis. Of great concern is how youth perceive the risks associated with cannabis-impaired driving. A national survey indicates only 48% of Canadian youth (aged 16-19) realize the risks associated with cannabis consumption and driving, while 79% understood the risks of drinking and driving.
“Too many young Canadians don’t believe or don’t fully understand how consuming cannabis can impair their driving,” said Culbert. “Our goal is to change those perceptions and related behaviours so that cannabis-impaired driving is seen to be as dangerous and socially unacceptable as driving under the influence of alcohol.”
CPHA’s pot and driving campaign includes frequently asked questions, a discussion guide for adults for use with teenagers, and a downloadable poster showing two airline pilots smoking pot. The poster’s message asks: “If it doesn’t make sense here, why would it make sense when you drive?” All materials are available online in both English and French at cpha.ca/pot-driving.