Feds Kick In Millions To Battle Drug Impaired Driving

To help combat impaired driving while under the influence of drugs the Federal Government has announced a $5.4 million investment in Saskatchewan.

Working with the Province the funds will be used to train additional officers in recognizing drug impaired driving as well as pay for data collection upgrades.

The funds will be used to train additional frontline officers in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation.

The agreement will see an additional 100 officers trained in SFST in 2018-2019 and a commitment to train 300 additional officers in the next three years. Making 33 percent of Saskatchewan police officers trained in SFST.

The funding also carries a commitment of 100 additional officers trained in DRE in a five year period.

The funding will also be used to develop standardized data collection and reporting practices for analyzing trends, identifying gaps and providing an accurate picture of drug-impaired driving in the province, and across Canada.

In a prepared statement the Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority said “Impaired driving is a serious issue in our province, and we appreciate the steps Public Safety Canada is taking to help reduce drug-impaired driving in Saskatchewan. This funding is being used to help equip front-line law enforcement agencies with the training and resources necessary to continue to combat drug-impaired driving.”

Nationwide, according to a federal government survey, 15 per cent of cannabis users with a valid driver's license reported driving within two hours of consuming cannabis, according to combined data from the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. This was unchanged from the first half of 2018.

Additionally according to the Cannabis National Survey (CNS) in the first quarter of 2019, after cannabis was legalized the number of first time users was 646,000 or almost double from the sane period in 2018 when first time users was reported at 327,000.

Results further suggest half of the reported new users were over 45 years of age after personal cannabis use was legalized.

The CNS also found one-third of those who felt it was safe to drive within two hours of consuming cannabis did so.

No amount was released on how much of the funding will be used to train members of the Moose Jaw Police Service.

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