A third of recent cannabis users say they have driven while high: government survey | CBC News


Regardless of public consciousness campaigns and legislation enforcement coaching to discourage marijuana-impaired driving, a 3rd of Canadians who’ve not too long ago used hashish say they have been behind the wheel after consuming, based on a brand new authorities survey.

The online survey, carried out in January 2022 by EKOS for Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada and not too long ago posted on-line, says 33 per cent of Canadians who report having used hashish throughout the earlier 12 months say that they’ve pushed underneath the affect.

The survey says that amongst Canadians who’ve used hashish in some unspecified time in the future of their lives, about 26 per cent say they’ve hit the highway after consuming.

The survey analyzed 2,193 responses, randomly recruited principally via a self-administered on-line questionnaire, with 10 per cent contacted by mobile phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.09 per cent.

When requested to clarify their behaviour, about 10 per cent of respondents stated they did not know higher on the time or have been uneducated in regards to the dangers. About 39 per cent stated they did not really feel impaired and one other 23 per cent stated they thought they may drive safely.

Just below a 3rd (30 per cent) of respondents stated they’d travelled in a car once they knew the driving force was excessive.

The federal authorities has been warning Canadians about the dangers of driving whereas underneath the affect of hashish since earlier than most hashish merchandise have been legalized in 2018 and hashish edibles have been legalized in 2019.

“There isn’t a good excuse for driving whereas impaired, and being a passenger with an impaired driver can also be dangerous,” a government webpage on drug-impaired driving says.

To lift consciousness of the hazards, Public Security Canada developed a “Do not Drive Excessive” marketing campaign in 2017 which included paid promoting. The federal government has referred to as the marketing campaign a hit, citing its attain on social networking websites like Fb, on tv and in different media.

Hashish driving myths onerous to dispel: MADD Canada

The nation’s main anti-impaired driving advocacy group says it is a “fable” that hashish use does not have an effect on driving skill, or that it makes one a greater driver.

“Sadly, there’s this persistent fable that for those who drive underneath the affect of hashish, you are … a greater driver than once you’re sober,” Eric Dumschat, MADD Canada’s authorized director, advised CBC Information.

“And that is one of many issues that I do know we at MADD Canada particularly are having some issue dislodging, is that this fable that individuals assume that they are secure drivers.”

Although the survey outcomes recommend the federal government’s consciousness marketing campaign — wherein MADD participated — has not deterred some drivers, Dumschat stated governments had an obligation to discourage drug-impaired driving within the run-up to hashish legalization.

In a press release issued to CBC Information, a spokesperson for Public Security Canada pointed to survey outcomes that recommend elevated consciousness of the impact of hashish on drivers.

Eighty-six per cent of survey respondents — together with those that do not use hashish — agreed that the drug impairs driving skill. That determine is identical because it was in 2020 however is up from the 81 per cent recorded in 2017, when comparable government-commissioned surveys have been carried out.

“The outcomes from the general public opinion analysis referenced present an growing variety of respondents agreeing that hashish use impairs driving skills,” the Public Security assertion reads. “That is additional backed up by outcomes from the Canadian Cannabis Survey.”

Dumschat stated efforts to lift consciousness can solely go to this point and deterrence additionally has a task to play.

“So one of many issues [governments] have to proceed doing, and it is one thing I do know that they’re, is constant to coach cops in using the standardized area sobriety assessments,” he stated.

Police should make use of “drug recognition analysis and … oral fluid screening know-how,” he added, “so that individuals actually perceive that if you’re driving whereas underneath the affect of a drug, the police have the aptitude to detect you and catch you.”

An Ottawa Police constable administers a area sobriety take a look at to a driver throughout a site visitors cease in 2018. Over 27,000 cops in Canada had been educated to manage the take a look at by the top of 2020, based on federal authorities information. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Greater than 27,000 cops throughout the nation had acquired Standardized Discipline Sobriety Check (SFST) coaching by the top of 2020, according to government data. Police providers are additionally buying extra accepted drug screening gear; they purchased 107 such gadgets in 2020, in comparison with 48 in 2018.

Police providers additionally depend on RCMP-trained “Drug Recognition Consultants” (DREs) to evaluate impairment — however the authorities says COVID-19 public well being restrictions have led to difficulties in coaching new DREs. There have been 1,135 energetic DREs within the nation in 2021 in comparison with 1,279 in 2020, based on authorities figures.

The federal government survey stories that solely two per cent of those that stated they drove impaired did so as a result of they thought they may evade legislation enforcement.

Consuming and driving continues to be extra harmful: MADD official

Dumschat stated it is his view that whereas cannabis-impaired driving is harmful, it isn’t as harmful as driving inebriated.

Eugene Oscapella, who teaches drug coverage on the College of Ottawa, stated he’d prefer to see the federal government focus much less on hashish and its results on driving and extra on different driving behaviours that may be dangerous — akin to driving after taking sure prescribed drugs, or driving regardless of a scarcity of sleep.

“It is not a good suggestion to drive when you’re impaired, however … now we have to watch out to situate the problem, the severity of the issue, amongst different elements that may trigger driving to be harmful for different individuals,” he stated.

Drug coverage knowledgeable Eugene Oscapella says some individuals will at all times drive impaired, even when they know the dangers. (Radio-Canada)

He stated drivers utilizing hashish alone concern him a lot lower than drivers consuming it together with alcohol or different medicine. 

Oscapella stated he is undecided the federal government has many good choices to utterly eradicate the issue.

“I do not know what the reply is. I do not know if there’s a solution,” he stated.

“There’s going to be a share of the inhabitants — it doesn’t matter what the promoting campaigns, it doesn’t matter what the penalties — who’re going to drive in conditions the place they’ve gotten impaired by alcohol or a drug.”

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