Drug prevention experts in Switzerland are warning the nation's snowboarders to cut out the cannabis if they want to avoid doing themselves an injury.This content was published on March 16, 2002 - 10:38
The Swiss Institute of Alcohol and Drug Prevention says cannabis use has become increasingly fashionable among the snowboarding fraternity, leading to a greater risk of accident and injury.
A survey carried out two years ago by the Lausanne-based institute revealed that 16 and 17-year-old snowboarders were twice as likely to smoke cannabis than the general youth population.
"We have clear indications that 20 per cent of young people who like snowboarding smoke cannabis," spokesman Hermann Fahrenkrug told swissinfo.
The institute claims use of the drug clouds the judgement of those performing intricate stunts and manoeuvres.
Previous studies on cannabis use have shown that the drug slows the reaction of motorists and makes them more prone to taking risks.
"The indications we have from the field, from the mountains, from the emergency personnel are that there are a lot of bad accidents in snowboarding," he added.
"We don't know if cannabis is really the cause of them, but let's say it heightens the risk of having accidents."
Fahrenkrug points to the "fun-loving lifestyle" associated with the sport as a reason for the higher incidence of cannabis use among young snowboarders.
The first snowboarding gold medallist at a Winter Olympics, Canada's Ross Rebagliati, tested positive for cannabis at Nagano, Japan, in 1998.
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