Blackburn News
April 4, 2019

A Grey Bruce Health expert hopes a new education program being rolled out this spring will help students understand the dangers of cannabis.

Jason Weppler said the Community Drug and Alcohol Strategy and Springboard Canada are training local police officers, teachers and community service providers to act as facilitators to deliver the program. Those local providers will team with facilitators from MADD Canada to roll out the “Weed out the Risk” program in local high schools between May 21 – 31.

Weppler said the program will focus on cannabis-impaired driving.

“This program is really to raise awareness in youth that the harms are very similar between drinking and driving and drug-impaired driving. The program has a ton of interactive activities to help educate the youth on that topic,” he said.

Weppler said despite an increase in motor vehicle crashes involving cannabis use, nearly one in three youth agree that driving while under the influence of cannabis is not as risky as drinking and driving.

“That was part of the message from the springboard facilitator that across the country we are already starting to see drug-impaired driving increase and now they’re almost on par with alcohol-impaired driving rates,” he said.

The 2017 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found 22% of southwestern Ontario students report using Cannabis in the past year.

The survey found the prevalence of cannabis use does not significantly differ between male and female students but does significantly increase with grade, to a high of 37.2% among 11th graders.

11% of Canadian Youth are considered chronic users which is several times per week and two to three joints per use.