Dr Art Hister – Don’t Do Drugs and Drive

A couple of disturbing studies from the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse have determined that among drivers, drug use is quickly approaching (and may even have surpassed) alcohol as a major danger.

In one study from BC, random testing revealed that alcohol was found among 8 % of drivers, but drugs were detected in 10 % of drivers.

In a 2nd study that examined fatalities among drivers, alcohol played a role in 38 % of such deaths, while at least one kind of drug was detected in 33 % of motor vehicle drivers who died between 2000 and 2006 (I would guess that that rate is probably higher in 2010 since the use of all drugs, not just recreational drugs, has gone up quite substantially in the last decade).

A few things should be glaringly obvious from these reports.

First, lest we forget, despite the glaring headlines about drug use in drivers, these studies confirm that alcohol use is still a huge, huge problem for drivers and at least as dangerous as drugs.

That said, for all those who argue that marijuana use has no substantial health consequences, well, yes, it can and too often, it does: marijuana use poses a big risk not only to the marijuana user who smokes and then drives, but it also poses a huge risk to the other drivers and pedestrians and cyclists that user might encounter when he’s high and his reflexes and awareness are not what they should be.

Third, and equally important, lots of prescription and some over-the-counter drugs can also affect neurological and brain functioning so if you’re taking such medications, it would be best to avoid driving until you knew precisely what effect those drugs have on your reflexes and awareness.