Tag Archives | driving intoxicated

Marijuana Might Make You a Worse Driver Than Alcohol Does

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Young women smoking marijuana on the banks of the Frio River

We thought the question “Is It More Dangerous To Drive Drunk Or Stoned?” had already been definitively answered in favor of alcohol being the more dangerous (although we did find a study suggesting “Smoking Marijuana Nearly Doubles Risk Of Driving Accidents“), but in a New Republic review of yet another study it seems that the answer is less black and white than had previously been thought:

Supporters of legal marijuana, medical or otherwise, are fond of pointing out that marijuana is less deadly than alcohol. Even President Obama’s deputy drug czar admitted as much in February. That doesn’t mean pot is harmless: USA Today reported Tuesday that marijuana’s role in traffic fatalities tripled between 2000 and 2010, according to Columbia University researchers. But driving stoned is still safer than driving drunk, right? Don’t be so sure.

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Smoking Marijuana Nearly Doubles Risk Of Driving Accidents

While it might seem obvious, researchers Mark Asbridge, Jill A. Hayden and Jennifer L. Cartwright took the trouble to scientifically conclude that “acute cannabis consumption is associated with an increased risk of a motor vehicle crash, especially for fatal collisions.” They report their findings in the British Medical Journal – here’s the abstract:

Objective To determine whether the acute consumption of cannabis (cannabinoids) by drivers increases the risk of a motor vehicle collision.

640px-Marijuana_and_pipe

Design Systematic review of observational studies, with meta-analysis.

Data sources We did electronic searches in 19 databases, unrestricted by year or language of publication. We also did manual searches of reference lists, conducted a search for unpublished studies, and reviewed the personal libraries of the research team.

Review methods We included observational epidemiology studies of motor vehicle collisions with an appropriate control group, and selected studies that measured recent cannabis use in drivers by toxicological analysis of whole blood or self report.

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Study: Marijuana Legalization Reduces Traffic Deaths

sceneLegalizing pot across the nation would save many lives. The University of Colorado Denver Newsroom explains:

A groundbreaking new study shows that laws legalizing medical marijuana have resulted in a nearly 9 percent drop in traffic deaths and a 5 percent reduction in beer sales.

“Our research suggests that the legalization of medical marijuana reduces traffic fatalities through reducing alcohol consumption by young adults,” said Daniel Rees, professor of economics at the University of Colorado Denver who co-authored the study with D. Mark Anderson, assistant professor of economics at Montana State University.

The researchers collected data from a variety of sources including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System.

The study is the first to examine the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic deaths.

“We were astounded by how little is known about the effects of legalizing medical marijuana,” Rees said.

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Fingerprint Analysis Technology Aims To Revolutionize Drug Testing

Photo: Fretti (CC)

Photo: Fretti (CC)

When someone drives a vehicle while drunk there are plenty of road side tests that police can perform to confirm the drivers intoxication. For many other drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, there are signs of intoxication, but no immediate method of proof. Often, urine or blood samples must be taken at the police station, which must then be processed to confirm the what and how much of the substance taken. New develops allow a person’s sweat to give more instant results.The Raw Story reports:

A new technology that analyzes the sweat from a person’s fingertips looks to revolutionize the drug testing market, providing on-site results in minutes with a test so advanced it can even detect marijuana intoxication.

Using gold nanoparticles and special antibodies, the tech produced by British firm Intelligent Fingerprinting latches on to metabolites on the fingerprint and turns a specific color depending on which drug byproducts are detected.

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