Tag Archives: driving under the influence

Alcohol Mixed with Marijuana Proves to be Deadlier Behind the Wheel

alcohol and marijuanaDespite pro-marijuana advocates claiming the drug isn’t harmful, new research from Columbia University proves otherwise with statistics on traffic fatalities involving marijuana and alcohol. Of the thousands of two-car accidents they gathered data from, it is very clear that driving under the influence of either substances poses a serious danger.

“The risk of crash initiation from concurrent use of alcohol and marijuana among drivers increases by more than fivefold when compared with drivers who used neither of the substances,” explained Dr. Guohua Li, co-author of the study and professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The statistics also showed that fatalities increase by 62% when the driver is under the influence of marijuana alone, and 437% for alcohol. This information highlights the need for better regulation of marijuana-impaired drivers, as someone could be under the legal blood alcohol level but have also smoked weed and be highly dangerous on the road.

The statistics were gathered from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which identified that males between the ages of 25 and 44 were the largest group of offenders. Although this isn’t surprising, it does bring up questions about the latest trend in “bro culture” that fosters irresponsible behavior such as frequent substance abuse.

As marijuana use has grown in popularity given its legalization in a few states, better testing and prevention measures for drivers must be implemented. It wasn’t too long ago that pot smokers thought they could get away with it by chewing some gum and using eye drops to reduce redness, but today there are more ways of testing, such as breathalyzers and saliva strips.

The bottom line is that it’s not worth it, and that we should be working to help people in need of substance abuse treatment. It is imperative to save lives though continued vigilance. If you have a friend or family member who has addiction-related problems, contact us today to find out more about what you can do to help and about successful treatment options.

Mixing Marijuana and Alcohol with Driving Proves Deadly

injurepdemNow that several states are allowing marijuana for medicinal use, as well as a few that are lessening the restrictions on the drug, it is important to understand how this effects the fatality rate among young adults. In the past, people who smoked pot tended to stay at home, for fear that they may caught under the influence or in possession of marijuana. Now that it is becoming acceptable to possess marijuana in a few states, these people are venturing away from their homes and getting behind the wheel.

A recent study that was conducted by Dr. Katherine Keyes along with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health shows that many young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 who passed away from a motor vehicle accident had marijuana and/or alcohol in their systems. The findings were published in Injury Epidemiology.

Researchers looked at 7,191 accidents that resulted in a fatality among people aged 16 to 25. The information was collected from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey Rhode Island, Washington State and West Virginia. After reviewing all the information, it was discovered that the fatalities that occurred within these nine states had 50.3% of the drivers testing positive for marijuana, alcohol or both. Researchers feel that it is important to understand how the changes regarding legalizing marijuana affect other drivers on the road.

“Given the rapid changes currently underway in marijuana availability and permissibility in the U.S., understanding the effects of drug control policies on substance use behavior and adverse health outcomes, such as fatal motor vehicle crashes, has never been more important,” explained Dr. Keyes, lead researcher on the study.

Now that more states are considering to allow marijuana as a legal substance, young adults need to be made more aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of the drug, especially when combining it with alcohol. While the dangers of drunk driving are often discussed and brought up in many different settings, driving under the influence of marijuana, or of alcohol and marijuana, is not as openly talked about. This information helps to dispel the notion that marijuana isn’t as harmful as alcohol. People under the influence of either, let alone both, should not be driving.

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana and Alcohol Presents Major Problems

accidentanalysisWith the push for marijuana legalization in parts of the country, many new ways of ingesting the drug are coming onto the market. Users can now purchase vaporizer pens (very similar to e-cigarettes) that make smoking the drug easier to do in public situations. In addition to the pens, users always have the option of ingesting marijuana through food. Making marijuana accessible in these forms poses a new problem for law enforcement – the potential for more people to be operating vehicles while under the influence is likely to increase. In fact, now that marijuana is starting to become legal in some states, new laws and more precautions will need to be taken in order to minimize the amount of people driving under the influence of marijuana. Perhaps even more dangerous are those who ingest marijuana and consume alcohol at the same time.

A 2013 study showed that people were two times more likely to crash if they were under the influence of drugs. If a person is under the influence of alcohol they are fourteen times more likely to be involved in a car accident. If a person is under the influence of drugs and alcohol they are 23 times more likely to be involved in a vehicular crash.

A Colorado man knows first-hand how mixing substances impairs a driver, according to reports. Eleven days after the state made marijuana legal; he crashed his vehicle into a row of police cars. He was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol at the time of the crash. Being under the influence of alcohol and getting behind the wheel is commonly known as deadly – drunk driving accounts for one-third of traffic-related deaths. Mixing drugs like marijuana and alcohol has the potential to surpass drunk driving in overall consequences though.

Now that marijuana is becoming more common place it is necessary to look into preventing more and more impaired drivers from hitting the roads. If users can now consume marijuana using a form of an e-cigarette what will stop them from using it in a bar while they are having some drinks?

This information shows that people don’t have to be “wasted” to be extremely dangerous on the roads. The combination of even small amounts of alcohol and marijuana combined create a very lethal situation behind the wheel.