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York study finds 10 percent of teenagers use marijuana and drive

Since 1977 York University's Institute for Social Research for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has polled Ontario teens every two years about their alcohol and drug habits. The results have been illuminating, and it seems teens are now more likely to use marijuana and drive than they are to drink and drive. Both are considered impaired driving, which means that Ontario teenagers may be in danger of developing a criminal record before graduating high school.

Unfortunately, a record, even for something as minor as smoking marijuana and driving, can have very serious consequences for a young person. It may be harder for someone with a criminal record to get into university, to find a job or to even rent an apartment. Moreover, a record will follow an individual around well into adulthood.

The study surveyed more than 10,000 students in Ontario in Grades 7 through 12. Of those students in Grades 10 through 12, 10 percent said they had driven within an hour of smoking marijuana at least once in the past year. In comparison, only four percent of the same age group reported driving after having had two ore more drinks.

The survey also uncovered other data about marijuana use, including 3 percent of students reporting smoking every day. In addition, almost 25 percent of teenagers said they had used marijuana at least once in the last year. It is likely that this last percentage would creep higher if the younger grades were removed, as drug use was more prevalent among older teenagers.

Source: Global News, "More Ontario teens drive after using marijuana than after drinking: study," Paola Loriggio, 11 Dec. 2013

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