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NCADD News Service

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) provides education, information, help and hope to the public. It advocates prevention, intervention and treatment through offices in New York and Washington, and a nationwide network of Affiliates.

Smoking Marijuana and Driving

A new study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) found that a third of all teens surveyed think it is legal to drive under the influence of marijuana in states where it has been legalized for recreational use.
In the same study, 27 percent of parents surveyed believe it to be legal as well. The study found that while 93 percent of parents think driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, only 76 percent feel that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous.
The results indicate that teens are receiving mixed messages about the dangers of marijuana use and driving. This thinking puts themselves and fellow drivers at risk, particularly with 22 percent of teens admitting that driving under the influence of marijuana is common around their friends.
However, marijuana use has a direct impact on your body, similar to alcohol. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, effects include:

  • altered senses (for example, seeing brighter colors)
  • altered sense of time
  • changes in mood
  • impaired body movement
  • difficulty with thinking and problem-solving
  • impaired memory
  • hallucinations (when taken in high doses)
  • delusions (when taken in high doses
  • psychosis (when taken in high doses)

"Driving under the influence of marijuana significantly impairs motor coordination, judgment and reaction time," said Mike Sample, MS, CSP, Lead Driving Safety Expert and Technical Consultant at Liberty Mutual in a news release. "Parents and teens alike must appreciate the importance of not driving under the influence of marijuana to help keep everyone safe on the road."

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