Drugged Driving Prevention
THE FACTS ABOUT DRUGGED DRIVING
High School Seniors
Drug use and driving can be deadly, and unfortunately, the number of people behind the wheel who are under the influence of substances is the rise. Drugged driving occurs when someone is under the influence of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and/or illegal drugs.
Young people are at considerable risk for getting themselves in a position to suffer consequences as a result of drugged driving, whether they’re behind the wheel or riding as a passenger. StopDruggedDriving.org points out a statistic reported by Monitoring The Future that notes that “nearly 30% of high school seniors… put themselves at risk, by being in a vehicle whose driver had been using marijuana or another illicit drug, or had drunk 5 or more alcoholic drinks, in the two weeks prior to being surveyed.”
OF U.S. CAR CRASHES
BILLION IN COSTS
The statistics of drugged driving are frightening, and are becoming more so every year. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlights data documented by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), explaining, “In 2013, an estimated 9.9 million people aged 12 or older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.”
As a society we need to work on educating ourselves and our loved ones about the dangers of drugged driving. When we or someone we know attempts to drive while under the influence of a drug or drugs, we need to try our utmost to intervene and potentially save multiple lives from unfathomable tragedy.
MOST COMMON DRUGS USED BY DRUGGED DRIVERS
M A R I J U A N A
C O C A I N E / M E T H
Can cause drivers to become aggressive, impulsive, and reckless
B E N Z O D I A Z E P I N E
DANGERS OF DRUGGED DRIVING
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) explains that Americans are aware of the tragic outcomes drunk driving and distracted driving may cause. Drugged driving is becoming more of a problem and is finally starting to be noticed more by the public. NCADD reports that prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs all can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, memory, and reaction time, substantially hindering a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
NCADD also provides some details from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Roadside Survey. This survey finds that “more than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter medications (11% tested positive for illegal drugs).”
ScienceDaily explains that use of non-alcohol drugs “detected in fatally injured drivers in the U.S. has been steadily rising and tripled from 1999 to 2010 for drivers who tested positive for marijuana—the most commonly detected non-alcohol drug—suggesting that drugged driving may be playing an increasing role in fatal motor vehicle crashes.”
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUGGED DRIVING
INTERPRETING DRUG IMPAIRMENT
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that “16 states have zero tolerance laws in effect for one or more drugs.” Zero tolerance means it is illegal to operate a vehicle with any “measurable amount of specified drugs in the body.” The GHSA also states that “6 states have per se laws in effect for one or more drugs.” Per se laws “make it illegal to drive with amounts of specified drugs in the body that exceed set limits.”
TECHNIQUES FOR INTERVENTION
Avoid confrontationTry to not to argue or fight when discussing plans for transportation.
Suggest alternative transportationExamples such as a cab, sober driver, or public transit options.
Be mindful of the level of impairment of the person you’re talking withTalk more slowly and take time to explain your suggestions fully.
Make it clear that your concerns arise from careYou don’t want them to injure themselves or someone else by driving in an impaired state.
Suggest that they spend the nightEither with you or wherever they are presently, as long as the location is safe.
Gain support from friends who can back up your concernsIt’s more difficult to say ‘no’ to two or more people you care about or look up to than just one.
Take away the keysIt’s often much easier to persuade drivers to make safe choices when you have the leverage of possessing their keys.
Call law enforcementWhile this is the last choice most people want to make, it might be the difference between a night in jail, or being seriously injured or killed in an accident.
RESOURCES FOR PREVENTION
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
(AACAP) offers a substance use resource center
The Academy of Addiction Psychiatry(AAAP) offers a patient referral program and physician locator
Faces And Voices Of RecoveryRecovery Community Organizations helps website visitors locate local recovery organizations
Families Anonymous(FA) is a 12-Step Fellowship for family and friends of those individuals with drug, alcohol, or related behavioral issues
Partnership For Drug-Free KidsWorking to reduce substance abuse among adolescents by supporting families and engaging with teens 855-DRUGFREE (855-378-4373)
Office Of National Drug Control PolicyOffers activity guides, partner programs, and many other resources to try and spread the word about the dangers of drugged driving
12 Step Me AA Group
12StepMe.org is a 24/7 online chat resource that provides help chats and online AA meetings every night at 10pm ET
The National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA) Research Dissemination Center offers fact sheets, pamphlets, and booklets about drugs, drug abuse, and addiction treatment
The National Suicide Prevention LifelineThe organization offers help no matter what problems you are dealing with, not just for those contemplating suicide. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255)
The American Academy of Family PhysiciansA patient resource on opioid addiction that outlines the basic information on drugs and alcohol that is necessary to understand their potential dangers
Mothers Against Drunk Driving(MADD) has a 24-hour help line at 877-MADD-HELP (877-6233-4357) for individuals and families who have been affected by drunk or drugged driving
The American Society of Addiction MedicineDedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction
Don't Wait For An Accident To Occur
Drugged driving is a growing problem, and it’s equally as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. While standards and punitive approaches are not yet fully defined, prevention is and has always been the most effective measure to reduce injury, death, and other consequences of driving in an impaired state.