Don’t drive high: public awareness campaign launches today

News Release

December 5, 2017
Ottawa, Ontario
Public Safety Canada                                 

Drug-impaired driving has been on the rise in Canada since police-reported data became available in 2009 and is a major contributor to fatal road crashes in Canada. Young people continue to be the largest group of drivers who die in crashes and test positive for drugs.                                                               

Today, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, launched the Government of Canada’s drug-impaired driving public awareness campaign to communicate to Canadians the risks associated with driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Canadians will soon see ads in public spaces, on social media, on television and in movie theatres. Public awareness efforts will include evidence-based information on the risks of drug-impaired driving.

According to recent public opinion research, half of youth (50%) aged 16-24 believe that driving while under the influence of cannabis is more socially acceptable than driving under the influence of alcohol. Youth need to know the real facts about driving while impaired by cannabis or other drugs. The Government is making significant investments in public education to inform Canadians, particularly youth and young adults, about the health and safety risks of cannabis and other drugs. The current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. That is why the Government of Canada introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.

In addition to this campaign, the federal government will continue to engage young Canadians on social media and leverage partnerships with other levels of governments and organizations that are working toward the same goal to eliminate drug-impaired driving on Canadian roads. "Like" our Don’t Drive High Facebook page for more information.


”Don’t drive high. Too many Canadians badly need to hear that message—too many people downplay the potentially deadly risks of driving high.  With this new campaign, along with our partners like MADD Canada, Young Drivers of Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, we will help Canadians, and especially youth and their parents, understand how your life can change in an instant when you drive high. I encourage you to talk about the risks of drug-impaired driving with your family and friends. It might just save someone you love.”

- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“While most people understand the dangers of mixing alcohol and driving, many people don’t fully understand the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs. MADD Canada looks forward to working with Public Safety Canada to highlight the risks and consequences of drugged driving, and to promote safe and responsible driving practices.”

- Patricia Hynes-Coates, National President, MADD Canada

“There is much misinformation about your ability to drive safely after using drugs out in the world. Canadians, and particularly young people, need to understand the very real dangers of drug-impaired driving.”

- Peter Christianson, President, Young Drivers of Canada

“CAA is excited to partner with the Government of Canada to get an incredibly important message out – drugs and driving don’t mix. That means arranging a designated driver, calling a ride, or simply not getting behind the wheel – in other words, recognizing the potential consequences and acting responsibly.”

- Jeff Walker, CAA Chief Strategy Officer

"Our officers see the devastation of impaired driving daily….on our roads, in emergency rooms and within our communities throughout the country. Current perceptions and attitudes towards drug-impaired driving must change, especially amongst our youth. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is committed to working with Public Safety Canada and leading national organizations to promote greater education and awareness. The message must be “Drugs and Driving Never Mix.”

- Mario Harel, President, Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police  

Quick Facts

  • 22% of youth who have used cannabis said they drove while impaired and most said they did it because they don’t think it’s as dangerous as drunk driving.

  • One in three Canadians report that they have ridden in a vehicle operated by a driver who was under the effects of cannabis.

  • 28% of Canadians who have used cannabis say they have operated a vehicle while under the influence.

  • The Government of Canada is working on an ongoing basis with federal, provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders, including MADD Canada, Young Drivers of Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to help raise awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving.

  • Drug-impaired driving violations have been on the rise in Canada since data became available in 2009. In 2016, there were 3,098 incidents of police-reported drug-impaired driving, an increase of 11% over the previous year.

  • The percentage of Canadian drivers fatally injured in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now exceeds that of drivers who test positive for alcohol (33.3%).

Associated Links


Scott Bardsley
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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