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Canadian Youngsters Admit to Driving Within an Hour of Cannabis Use

Update Date: Nov 29, 2012 06:19 AM EST

It seems that after reports that adults have started drinking more responsibly, and that more and more youngsters have admitted to cannabis usage, governments should start Public Service Announcements against smoking and driving as well.

A new study suggests that youngsters admit driving within an hour of using cannabis.

Apparently, several areas of concern were found in the 2011 CAMH Monitor survey of Ontario substance use trends, released today by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), according to a report in Medical Xpress.

"More young adults are reporting that they drive within an hour of using cannabis - even more than those who report drinking and driving," says Dr. Robert Mann, CAMH senior scientist and lead researcher. "Yet the risks of doing so are significant."

The survey results reveal that 9 percent of those surveyed, aged between 18 and 29 years, reported driving after cannabis use; this is higher than the number of people who admitted to driving after drinking two or more drinks (6 percent).

The CAMH survey, which included 3,039 adults across Ontario, is the longest ongoing survey of adult substance use in Canada.

Also, cannabis use is not limited to youngsters, the study revealed. Apparently, 16 percent of users are aged 50 or older, which is five times higher than in 1977.

It was revealed through the survey that 81 percent adults in Ontario drank in 2011, but most of them did so in moderate amounts. It was found that the number of women drinking alcohol has also risen in the past years.

"Women are drinking more than in the past," says Dr. Mann. "Several key drinking indicators show an increase among women."  

In 2011, 6 percent women admitted drinking every day, compared to 3 percent in 1998. Also, 8 percent of women were reported drinking in hazardous amounts in 2011, which is 5 percent more than the numbers in 1998.

"Binge drinking also remains high, particularly among 18- to 29-year olds," notes Dr. Mann. "Overall, nine per cent of Ontario drinkers consume five or more drinks at one time each week, which represents 691,700 people."

According to the findings of the survey, the average number of drinks people consume in a week's time has also gone up.

The report revealed that the non-medical use of Prescription Opioid has reduced, which has been a concern in recent years. This could be due to the Ontario's Narcotics Strategy as well as other policy measures to reduce the non-medical use of these powerful, addictive drugs, Dr. Mann suggests.

As far as mental health is concerned, apparently, one in seven Ontario adults (17 percent) reported high psychological distress, with those among the age group of 18 to 29 being most affected.

"This type of distress can reduce people's ability to function effectively socially and emotionally," says Dr. Mann.

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