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Driving while high is fine, say stoned drivers

Driving while high is fine, say stoned drivers

05-23 | CDAH Team

After a drink party, some of the commonly heard statements include – “Don’t worry, I can drive better than you”; “Come on, I drive better when I am stoned”; and “My wheels are in my command, whether I am drunk or not.” Intoxicated people are always sure that they can perfectly drive a car. The irony is their impaired senses just make them believe so; the reality is starkly different.

Researchers from California-based non-profit organization RTI International found that people who are stoned are most likely to believe than sober people that it is perfectly safe to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The participants who were marijuana users were high at the time of the survey and believed that it was perfectly okay to drive in an intoxicated condition.

The study published in the journal Health Education Research in April 2016 examined the relationship between self-reports of being high on marijuana and perceptions about driving high or drunk when sober.

Being intoxicated affects perceptions of risk

Around 1,352 marijuana users living in Colorado and Washington were surveyed in 2014. Some 865 of them reported using marijuana or hashish in the past month. The question posed to the participants was, “Were you high or feeling the effects of marijuana or hashish when you took this survey?” The method of logistic regression was used to assess the responses.

Around 16 percent of the respondents admitted being under intoxication during the time of the survey. In fact, most respondents who were intoxicated believed that it was perfectly fine to drive when stoned and they were ready to drive high in certain situations. Moreover, most of them also believed that they would not get caught while driving under the influence of marijuana or booked for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offense.

However, the scenario was different for people who were not intoxicated. Co-author of the study Jane Allen, a research analyst at the RTI, said, “When people are sober, most acknowledge they can’t safely drive under the influence of alcohol or marijuana. The problem is, being intoxicated affects our perceptions of risk.”

The researchers said that the effectiveness of public health campaigns aimed at curbing driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will depend on how persuasive the campaign messages are for the individuals who are high on these substances. They strongly outline that a future research on those campaigns that are more influencing and memorable than others for people who are in a state of high can provide an insight on what kind of messages are more persuasive.

Drunken and drugged driving should be avoided

One should never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs because it might just prove to be fatal. According to a 2015 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, though the number of car accidents involving drunken driving has decreased, the car accidents caused by drivers under the influence of marijuana has increased. Drivers who were under the influence of drugs while driving jumped from 12.4 percent in 2001 to 15.1 percent during 2013-2014 with marijuana being the most consumed drug.

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug addiction, please seek immediate drug addiction treatment in Colorado. The Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline can connect you to best drug rehab centers in Colorado for effective treatments. For more information, please chat online with our treatment advisors or call our 24/7 helpline at 866-218-7546.

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