October 10, 2014 News No Comments

What is drugged driving?
Driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, marijuana, or other illegal drugs.

Why is drugged driving dangerous?
Over-the-counter medications and drugs affect the brain and can alter perception, mental processes, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and other abilities required for safe driving. Even small amounts of some drugs can have a serious effect on driving ability.

What substances are used the most when driving?
After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug.

What happens when you use drugs and drive?

Marijuana can decrease a person’s ability to drive a car. It slows reaction time, impairs a driver’s concentration and attention, and reduces hand-eye coordination. It is dangerous to drive after mixing alcohol and marijuana. Driving after using prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, sleeping aids, and anti-anxiety medications may impair driving ability.

Did you know?
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is the substance most found in the blood of impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims.

FACT: More teens are driving after smoking marijuana than after heavy drinking. A national study showed that from 2009-2011, the percentage of high school seniors who drove after using marijuana was almost three times as high as those who drove after drinking heavily. (American Journal of Public Health 103:2027-2034)

More than one in eight high school seniors admitted in a national survey to driving under the influence of marijuana in the two weeks prior to the survey. (National Institute of Drug Abuse, 2012 Monitoring the Future Survey)

Remember: Many medications act on parts of the brain that can impair driving ability. Many prescription drugs have warning labels against the operation of machinery and driving motor vehicles, for a certain period of time after use. You are more likely to be injured or in an accident while driving while under the influence of drugs.

Source: “Drugged Driving – What You Should Know.” Get Smart about Drugs, a DEA Resource for Parents, Educators and Caregivers. United States Government, Drug Enforcement Administration. www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com. August 25, 2014.

Written by Kaitlyn Pake