MADD Cannabis Report


We know that the dangers become even greater when marijuana is combined with alcohol, which is still the deadliest threat on our roadways. Yet as more states legalize marijuana, more young people are using the drug along with alcohol. Research also tells us that 1 in 3 young people who drink alcohol have also combined it with marijuana. Researchhas alsoshown thatmarijuana is not safe for thedeveloping brain. Outside of alcohol, marijuana is the leading cause of addiction and the drug of choice for youth 4 . According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 1 in 5 young people reported using marijuana just in the last month 5 . By age 20, about half of young people had used it. According to new research, approximately 1 in 7 middle school 8th graders have used marijuana in their lifetime. That number doubles to 1 in 3 by the time these children complete middle school 5 . As we celebrate MADD’s 40 th Anniversary this year, it’s important to remember that alcohol is a drug. It took decades to learn that the level for illegal alcohol impairment is .08 BAC, and to establish routine tests for blood alcohol concentration in drivers involved in fatal crashes. The tools for measuring alcohol impairment are well established. The same cannot be said for drug impairment, but that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of drug-impaired driving. MADD will continue to press for research, new laws, and development of tools to eliminate — once and for all — the senseless, dangerous and completely preventable crime of driving while impaired by any drug. Sadly, MADD serves drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors every day. We want these victims and survivors to know that we are working hard to stop these senseless and 100 percent preventable crimes. Without a doubt, MADD has made measurable impact on the safety of our roadways and saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the last 40 years. We remain steadfast in our commitment to a future of NO MORE VICTIMS ® . MADD will continue to press for research, new laws and development of tools to eliminate - once and for all - the senseless, dangerous and completely preventable crime of driving while impaired by any drug.

S ince MADD’s founding in 1980, we have advocated for stronger laws and policies based on proven research and data. With a growing number of states allowing legal use of marijuana, our nation must understand its impairing effects on our drivers and implement policies that improve the safety of our nation’s roadways. That is why more research and data for drugged driving is needed to help define and identify the impairing effects of legal and illegal drugs, and to better understand the number of drivers involved in drug-impaired driving crashes. It is critical that we have research and data to better understand the problem of drugged driving. While there is a lot we don’t know as it relates to marijuana-impaired driving, we do know that the fictions and myths surrounding the drug are growing. Like the idea that it makes you a better driver or that it’s “natural” and therefore safe. Or that “it isn’t addictive.” We know that driving while under the influence of marijuana does not make you a better driver. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, affects areas of the brain that control the body’s movements, balance, coordination, memory and judgment — skills needed to drive safely 1 . Studies have shown that, of seriously injured drivers admitted to trauma centers, more than 1 out of 4 tested positive for marijuana 2 . In addition, it is known that marijuana is the most frequently detected drug (other than alcohol) in crash-involved drivers as well as the general driving population 3 . 1. 2. Walsh JM, Flegel R, Atkins R, et al. Drug and alcohol use among drivers admitted to a Level-1 trauma center. Accid Anal Prev. 2005;37(5):894-901. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2005.04.013 3. Compton, R. (2017, July). Marijuana-Impaired Driving - A Report to Congress. (DOT HS 812 440). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

4. Curran, H. V., Hindocha, C., Morgan, C. J., Shaban, N., Das, R. K., & Freeman, T. P. (2019). Which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis depen- dency and acute psychotic-like effects?. Psychological medicine, 49(9), 1574-1580. 5.

4 // Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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