Links between cannabis and crashes to be studied

A Northern Medical Program professor is will be leading an investigation into the prevalence of impaired driving among young people with the advent of legalized cannabis.

Dr. Russ Callaghan has secured a $124,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to carry out the one-year research project.

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Callaghan and his team will examine data gathered from emergency departments across Canada to look for links between motor vehicle crashes and use of recreational cannabis by youth and young adults.

"According to recent data, young people have the highest prevalence of cannabis use in Canada, comprising more than 20 per cent of users," said Callaghan. "Cannabis-impaired driving is now also more prevalent among adolescents than alcohol-impaired driving.

"It is essential for the public and policy makers to understand the potential problems and benefits of cannabis legalization and this study will provide important evidence regarding a major area of harm to youth and young adults in our society - that is, the burden of severe motor vehicle collision injuries in this sub population."

The project includes collaborators from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and the University of Victoria.

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