Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Red Cross Needs Type O Blood to Ease ShortageLess Pain, More Car Crashes: Legalized Marijuana a Mixed BagPolitical Controversies Could Fuel Bullying of LGBT Youth: StudyCBD -- It's Everywhere, But Does It Work?Brief EMS Training Saves Lives After Brain InjuryU.S. Improves Emergency Readiness, but Gaps PersistSlowing Climate Change Could Cut Health Costs, Save MoneyDispensing Opioid Antidote Without a Prescription Might Save LivesNot Just Opioids: Deaths Tied to Cocaine, Meth Are Soaring, TooMost Americans Hit Hard by Medical BillsYour Virtual Doctor Will 'See' You NowHigh Measles Rates Mean Kids, Adults Need Proper Vaccination: CDCMany Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana, Even With Kids in CarMedicaid Could Save $2.6 Billion a Year With Dip in SmokingFDA Halts All Sales of Pelvic Mesh Products Tied to Injuries in WomenAnother Cost of the Opioid Epidemic: Billions of Dollars in Lost TaxesHealth Tip: Using an AEDNurse Practitioners Often Restricted From Prescribing Opioid TreatmentsForested Counties Have Lower Medicare Costs, Study FindsSimple CPR Doubles Survival OddsUninsured Get Short Shrift on Hospital StaysSpecial Bag Helps Patients Get Rid of Unused OpioidsHealth Tip: Responsibilities of Non-VaccinationDo Doctors Hounded by Malpractice Claims Just Shift Their Practice Elsewhere?Bans on Texting While Behind the Wheel Making Roads SaferColorado Sees Spike in ER Visits After Pot Made LegalMajor Medical Groups Call for Soda TaxesCould the U.S. Mail Deliver Better Colon Cancer Screening Rates?Opioid Rxs Decreasing, But Not for All DoctorsAfter Chinese Infant Gene-Editing Scandal, U.S. Health Officials Join Call for a BanAre 'Inactive' Ingredients in Your Drugs Really So Harmless?Need to Be Vaccinated? Try Your Local PharmacyBystanders Key to Cutting Cardiac Arrest DeathsMany Black Americans Live in Trauma Care 'Deserts'FDA Issues Asbestos Warning About Some Claire's Cosmetic ProductsFDA to Crack Down on Retailers That Keep Selling Tobacco to KidsBlood Donation by Teen Girls May Raise Anemia RiskNurses' Long Hours, Moonlighting Could Pose Patient Safety RiskBerkeley's Efforts Suggest Soda Taxes Do Cut Soda SalesOpioid Overdose Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 StatesPayments for Research Can Lead to Lies: StudyFDA Aims to Strengthen Sunscreen RulesAre Primary Care Doctors Prepared to Discuss Cancer Treatment?FDA Fell Short in Preventing Fentanyl Abuse Crisis, Report ClaimsPrimary Care Doctors Help Boost Life Spans, But More Are NeededMore Car Crashes Tied to Drivers High on OpioidsPoor Whites Bear the Brunt of U.S. Opioid Crisis, Studies FindFDA to Tighten Oversight of SupplementsAs U.S. Measles Outbreaks Spread, Why Does 'Anti-Vax' Movement Persist?Even Brief EMS Delay Can Cost Lives After Car Crash
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Health Insurance
Healthcare

Many Drivers Testing Positive for Marijuana, Even With Kids in Car

HealthDay News
by By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 25th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, April 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Many people may drive with marijuana in their system -- even when they have kids in the car.

That's the upshot of a new study of drivers in Washington state, where recreational pot is legal.

In roadside tests of more than 2,000 drivers, researchers found that 14% of those with a child in the car tested positive for THC, the component that creates marijuana's "high."

In contrast, only 0.2% of people driving with a child tested positive for alcohol on breath tests. None had levels above the legal limit.

Researchers stressed, however, that people with THC in their systems were not necessarily driving while stoned.

A positive THC test simply means the person has recently used pot.

Still, the possibility that some of those drivers were impaired is concerning, said study co-author Angela Eichelberger, a researcher with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

It's not clear how often marijuana use contributes to traffic accidents, according to Eichelberger, because it's a tricky question to study. In the "real world," she noted, drivers who test positive for THC often have used other substances, too. They also tend to be young, which is in itself a risk factor for crashes.

But, Eichelberger said, controlled lab studies have shown that marijuana interferes with driving skills.

"Cannabis can be impairing," she said, though there is "no consensus" on what is the impairment threshold. How much can a person consume before it's unsafe to drive? How long should you wait to get behind the wheel after using marijuana?

The form in which people use marijuana also matters: The effects of edible products take longer to set in compared to smoking, Eichelberger noted.

For now, she said, it makes sense for people to avoid driving if they are feeling any effects from their marijuana use. She also suggested people "err on the side of caution," and make sure they will not be driving anytime soon after using the drug.

J.T. Griffin is chief government affairs officer for the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He was not involved with the study.

"I think the big, remaining question is: Are these people driving while impaired?" Griffin said.

With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use, it will be important to answer some fundamental questions, according to Griffin.

"We'll need to figure out what marijuana impairment looks like -- and how to test for it," he said.

Griffin agreed that people who are feeling the effects of marijuana should not get behind the wheel. He pointed to the latest safety campaign from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is targeting not only drunken driving but high driving. The slogan is: "If you feel different, you drive different."

The findings, published online April 24 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, are based on 2,056 drivers in Washington state. Researchers approached the drivers at stop lights and asked them to participate. Volunteers gave breath, saliva and blood samples.

Overall, drivers were much more likely to test positive for THC than alcohol: Of those driving without kids in the car, almost 18% tested positive for THC, while 4.5% had alcohol in their systems.

Of adults who were driving with children, 0.2% tested positive for some amount of alcohol, while 14% tested positive for THC.

The upshot, according to Eichelberger, was that having children in the car seemed to deter drinking. But it didn't make a statistical difference in the likelihood of detecting THC.

Washington voters approved legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2012. As other states consider the same, Eichelberger said, they might want to weigh the possible impact on impaired driving.

Other research, she said, has found a "small increase" in crash rates in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more on drug-impaired driving.




Facebook

Amazon Smile

To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH Intake Department at 860-548-0101, option 2.

 


powered by centersite dot net