To check the validity of each statement, click on the statement itself.

1. Alcohol is only a risk to you if you are older and have been using it for many years.

Disagree is correct
Alcohol can pose health risks no matter what your age, no matter if you have been drinking for years or if this is your first experience with alcohol. While alcohol is associated with longer term, chronic health risks such as liver disease, young people who drink to get drunk are placing themselves at risk for accidents, violence, and alcohol poisoning.

2. It is not dangerous to drink and drive if you stay on the back roads.

Disagree is correct
Driving a car requires attention, judgment, and sound decision making, no matter what road you are on. Consuming alcohol can have negative effects on the skills required to drive well. Drinking any amount and driving can be extremely dangerous, particularly for young drivers.

3. Smoking the occasional joint is not too harmful for a teenager.

Disagree is correct
That may be so, but the harms associated with smoking even the occasional joint depend on what’s in the joint (for example, is it mixed with another drug), the amount of THC present, and the circumstances surrounding use, such as location and combining cannabis with alcohol or other drugs. Depending on these factors, even one joint may contribute to a harmful outcome. It’s also against the law, and police may apprehend even an occasional user.

4. The health risks from cannabis have never been proven.

Disagree is correct
This statement is an old myth. While it may have been true at one time, there is now a good body of research documenting the health risks of cannabis use. These include lung damage and respiratory illnesses, and heart complications in individuals with high blood pressure or heart disease. Research has found that many users experience panic attacks while using. Use by adolescents is linked to depression; it can also bring on schizophrenia among those who are predisposed to it and make symptoms worse. Cannabis affects short-term memory, problem solving, and attention span, which can be a problem when driving or in other situations requiring mental alertness.

5. Prescribed medications are safer than street drugs.

Disagree is correct
When taken as directed by a physician, prescribed medications are generally safe. Using too much of some of these drugs (e.g., tranquillizers, pain killers, and sleeping pills) or using them for too long can lead to drug dependency, which, like any drug dependency, can cause a variety of serious problems in a person’s life. Use of pharmaceuticals by students to get high, to self-medicate depression or anxiety, or to try to get an edge on tests and studying is hazardous and can lead to overdose or dependency. Some prescribed medicines, such as those used in managing severe pain, are particularly dangerous if misused. For example, the pain medicine OxyContin has been linked to a number of deaths in Nova Scotia and other provinces.

6. If I have a learner's permit to drive, I can drive if the other person is too impaired to be behind the wheel.

Disagree is correct
Under Nova Scotia’s Graduated Driver’s License System, anyone in the Learner’s stage is restricted from having more than one passenger in the vehicle and that passenger must be an experienced driver with a Class 5 License. That passenger is considered responsible for whatever happens while the learner is behind the wheel. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a person commits an offence when operating or in care or control of a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. (See:

7. If the police catch me with a joint, I'll just get a warning because of my age.

Disagree is correct
Plans by the Canadian government to reduce the penalties for cannabis possession are now on hold. Possession of any amount of cannabis is against the law under the Criminal Code of Canada. Under current laws, a young person who is found in possession of cannabis can receive a criminal conviction and even a jail sentence. A criminal conviction can limit career opportunities and make it difficult to travel to other countries. Even if possession of small amounts of cannabis is eventually decriminalized as the Canadian government has considered for several years, fines would be levied, regardless of whether a person is an adult or youth.

8. Cannabis is not addictive.

Disagree is correct
Regular or heavy users can become “dependent” on cannabis, but the likelihood and severity of addiction isn’t like alcohol, tobacco, or heroin. Dependence means that a person will think that they can’t function without the drug, and even though the drug has a negative impact on their life, they will keep using it. When a long-term user does quit using cannabis, he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, sleeping problems, sweating, and loss of appetite.

9. Cannabis is almost legal in Canada.

Disagree is correct
Having or using cannabis is against the law everywhere in Canada. Plans by the Canadian government to reduce the punishment for possession of small amounts of cannabis from a criminal offence to a ticketing offence have been placed on hold. Under the proposed changes, it would still have been against the law to possess or sell cannabis, but the penalty for possession of small amounts would have been a fine instead of criminal charges. According to the current law, possession of small amounts of cannabis is subject to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both, with larger penalties for larger amounts and for repeat offences.

10. The level of risk and the chance of harm is the same no matter what substance is being used and who is using it.

Disagree is correct
The level of risk and potential for harm is NOT the same for all substances or for all people. The same substance can even have a different effect on the same person on separate occasions. The level of risk depends on drug characteristics (e.g., how much is consumed, alone or in combination with other drugs), individual characteristics (e.g., gender, body size, empty stomach), and the setting (e.g., at a family get-together, at the beach at night with friends).

11. Men can “handle” alcohol better than women can.

Disagree is correct
Various factors will affect how a person “handles” alcohol, including experience with alcohol, their general state of health, and whether they are using another substance. Gender is also a factor. A male body dilutes alcohol more than a female’s body, even if the two individuals weigh the same. Because of a lower percentage of water in the female body, a woman will feel the effects of alcohol more than a man who drinks the same amount. The risk is that females who match their male companions drink for drink will reach a higher level of impairment faster.

12. Combining cannabis with other drugs (alcohol or prescription drugs) can increase or alter the effects of the drugs.

Agree is correct
Combining cannabis with any other drug, including alcohol, is very risky because it is impossible to predict the effects. Depending on the drugs being used and the characteristics of the individual, the effect of combining drugs can be like adding them (1+1=2); on the other hand, they can increase effects dramatically (1+1=3), or cancel out many of the effects (1+1=0). Driving after combining any substances (including cannabis and alcohol) is very dangerous.

13. Medications purchased over the counter at pharmacies are safe.

Disagree is correct
This is generally true; however, some over-the-counter medicines (OTCs), such as certain cough medicines, sleep aids, antihistamines, and products like Gravol, can cause problems if not taken as directed or if abused for their psychoactive effects. It is also important to note that OTC medications can produce dangerous health effects when taken with alcohol.

14. It is safe to get into a car if the driver has been smoking cannabis.

Disagree is correct
Driving under the influence of any drug that negatively affects one’s abilities is extremely irresponsible, and it’s also against the law. Mixing cannabis, alcohol, and driving is particularly dangerous. Under the current laws, driving while impaired by any drug—including cannabis—is against the law even though there’s no “legal limit” like there is for alcohol. Police can use their own judgment and information from witnesses to determine whether or not a person might be driving while impaired by a drug. Since the effects of impairing drugs on one’s ability to drive are unknown, no amount is a safe amount. The Canadian government has just proposed new legislation that will allow police officers to demand tests of a person’s physical capabilities when they suspect that they are driving under the influence of cannabis (or any other drug) and to demand bodily fluids for testing.

15. You can’t be charged with impaired driving if your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit.

Disagree is correct
If a police officer determines that your ability to operate the vehicle is impaired, you can be charged with the offence of impaired driving even if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit. The national legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, and it is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada to drive a vehicle if your BAC exceeds this limit.