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New study on marijuana use and youth driving

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In a study released last week in the journal Paediatrics & Child Health, lead author and UVic psychologist Bonnie Leadbeater says the high proportion of young adults who consume pot are also driving.

National implications for possible legalization of marijuana

According to the study, “the high frequency of driving-risk behaviours, particularly for frequent users, suggest that plans for legalization of recreational use should anticipate the costs of preventive education efforts that present an accurate picture of potential risks for driving.”

New study garners media attention

Media coverage on the new study has been extensive. The Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen reported that “as Canada moves toward decriminalization, Leadbeater said governments must direct funding to education 'that presents an accurate picture of potential harms.'” Various other news outlets picked up the story, from radio programs on the mainland and in Victoria to TV news casts in Vancouver including CBC Radio’s province-wide midday call-in show BC Almanac (an interview which also included Cindy Andrew, a consultant with UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research, on the topic of talking to youth about cannabis).

More on the study’s authors

The study, Frequent marijuana use and driving risk behaviours in Canadian youth, is authored by Leadbeater, as well as three BC physicians—Murray Fyfe, medical health officer with Island Health; Richard Stanwick, chief medical officer of Island Health; clinical toxicologist and ER doctor Jeffrey R. Brubacher—and two UVic alumna: post-doctoral student Megan E. Ames and Paweena Sukhawathanakul, who is currently a research assistant at UVic’s Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health and a former WITS research associate with the UVic-led victimization prevention program for children co-developed by Leadbeater and used in nearly 300 BC schools.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a Vancouver Island Health Collaborative research grant and the Victoria CRD Traffic Safety Commission provided funding for this recently published study.

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Author

  • Anne MacLaurin

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