Drug Impaired Driving: A Problem Unrecognized By Too Many Parents

…According to a new study by the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada

TORONTO, Feb. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - A recent national study¹ commissioned by the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada revealed that almost 25% of parents of teenagers did not consider driving while high on cannabis to be as bad as drinking and driving.  Meanwhile, almost a third of teens (32%) did not consider driving under the influence of cannabis to be as bad as alcohol.

"Driving high on drugs is of great concern to us" said Marc Paris, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC) "Some teens (10%) actually think that smoking cannabis makes them better drivers because it helps them focus their attention - People don't realize that impaired is impaired, no matter what substance you took before taking the car keys" added Paris.

According to the 2007 Canadian Addiction Survey² almost twice as many youth 16 to 24 (40%) reported driving under the influence of cannabis than alcohol (21%).  Also, more youth (40%) reported having been a passenger with someone under the influence of cannabis versus alcohol (33%).

Most teens agree that drinking and driving is unacceptable but those same teens think nothing of smoking a joint and grabbing the car keys.  There are countless examples on social media of teenagers bragging about driving while high on drugs.

In Canada, drivers between 16 and 24 years old account for most driver fatality cases and are equally split between drinking-drivers fatalities (27.6%) and drug-positive driver fatalities (26.9%)³.

The Partnership for a Drug Free Canada is set to launch a national multimedia campaign to alert more parents to the fact that it's not just other people's kids who are the problem.  "This is not on parent's radar and quite frankly, some parents need to understand that cannabis impairs depth perception, attention span and concentration, slows reaction time, and decreases muscle strength and hand steadiness—all of which can affect a person's ability to drive safely" says Paris.

The Campaign: The objective of the campaign, developed by ad agency BBDO Toronto is to get parents talking to their kids about the dangers of driving high or being in the car with someone who has driven high. Although it's a growing issue, the majority of parents don't think that their teenagers are being exposed to it. The fact is that 40% of teenagers have admitted to being in a car with someone who was driving while high.   According to Martina Ivsak, Vice President, Group Account Director at BBDO, "This statistic became the driving force behind the multi-media integrated campaign, which uses infographic style animation to bring it to life and drive the message home with parents. After all, if it's not their kids, then whose kids are they?"

View the TV Message http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUOHL-jWlDw&list=UUeUPIV2jqc9-T8a29I3qrzA

The Partnership for a Drug Free Canada is a private sector, non-profit organization that creates and disseminates drug education and prevention messages with the help of their partners in advertising, research and media.  PDFC also offers tools and practical tips for parents on how to start the dialogue with their kids at www.canadadrugfree.org

¹The online national study was conducted between November 7th and 14th, 2013 by Vision Critical (Toronto) with a sample of 411 parents with children aged 13 to 19 and with 311 teens aged 13 to 19.

²Canadian Addiction Survey (CAS), Substance Use by Canadian Youth, Health Canada, 2007

³Beasly and Beirness, 2011 study

Video with caption: "Video: 2014 High Driving Campaign - http://youtu.be/XUOHL-jWlDw ". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20140227_C7738_VIDEO_EN_37194.mp4&posterurl=http://photos.newswire.ca/images/20140227_C7738_PHOTO_EN_37194.jpg&clientName=Partnership%20for%20a%20Drug%20Free%20Canada&caption=Video%3A%202014%20High%20Driving%20Campaign%20%2D%20http%3A%2F%2Fyoutu%2Ebe%2FXUOHL%2DjWlDw%20&title=PARTNERSHIP%20FOR%20A%20DRUG%20FREE%20CANADA%20%2D%20Drug%20Impaired%20Driving%3A%20A%20Problem%20Unrecognized%20By%20Too%20Many%20Parents&headline=Drug%20Impaired%20Driving%3A%20A%20Problem%20Unrecognized%20By%20Too%20Many%20Parents

SOURCE: Partnership for a Drug Free Canada

For further information:

Marc Paris, Executive Director, Partnership for a Drug Free Canada (PDFC) mparis@pdfc-pcsd.org (416) 479-6972.

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