MPI opens drug-impairment awareness campaign

Published: September 15, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) says it will launch a “broad public awareness and education campaign” in an effort to warn customers about the dangers and consequences of drug driving. The crown corporation is taking the step ahead of the federal government’s 2018 legislation that will legalize marijuana across Canada.

Premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister and Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen introduced the campaign on Thursday. He says the government wants to reduce drug-impairment ahead of cannabis legalization. Additionally, the campaign will help customers understand the consequences of a collision, claims costs, and premiums rates.

“Our primary concern regarding the legalization of marijuana is the health and safety of Manitobans,” Pallister said in the release. “Our government has been clear from the onset that federal plans to legalize marijuana must take into consideration the potential harms that can result, including a potential increase in drug-impaired driving collisions, fatalities and serious injuries. Our hope is that MPI’s public awareness and education efforts over the next year will give all Manitobans the information they need to make safe decisions when it comes to driving after consuming cannabis, and to understand how, similar to alcohol, cannabis and other drugs can impair driving ability.”

MPI says its campaign will launch fully this month and will have four primary target audiences: youth, new teen drivers, physicians and patients, and the general public.

Speaking in the press release, Ward Keith, vice president of business development and communications and chief admin officer at MPI describes the campaign as “far ranging”.

“Impairment by drugs is not only a risk related to cannabis use,” Keith added in the release. “Use of illicit drugs and even legally prescribed medication can impair judgment and motor skills, which is why this campaign includes outreach to the medical community and their patients.”

MPI adds “many drivers in Manitoba simply do not understand or appreciate the extent to which consuming drugs can impair their ability to drive, and pending federal legislation to legalize cannabis makes the issue of drug-impaired driving an area of growing concern.”