DID is Dumb and Deadly

Dear Editor,

Any day of the week, all the fun can be ruined for everyone by Drug-Impaired Driving (DID).

Latest statistics from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for 2016 show that 38 percent of drug-positive drivers who are killed were impaired by marijuana, 16 percent had opioid narcotics on board, 4 percent had both marijuana and opioids in their system and 42 percent were affected by other drugs including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs or other illicit drugs. Alcohol is the most commonly used drug (yes, it is a drug) causing impairment like the drugs already mentioned.

Just like alcohol, marijuana affects one’s ability to drive: Reaction time is slower, concentration, attention and hand-eye coordination are reduced. Marijuana has the added problems that senses and sense of time are changed, anxiety, and hallucinations may happen. The two drugs together are worse. Plus, when the sticker on your prescription says “May cause drowsiness, alcohol could intensify this effect,” the label is not saying that you get a better high with the prescription, it means that you need to be careful driving.

Even though Washington State has made marijuana available to citizens, DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING IS ILLEGAL. A survey by the National Institute of Drug Abuse showed that one in eight high school seniors said they drove under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, it has been found that teenagers regularly using marijuana have slower brain development too.

You are more likely to be in an accident and injured while under the influence of marijuana and/or prescription drugs. Harm can also come to others. If anyone wants to share your high, please do so off the highway.

Rules of the Road apply with both drugs and alcohol: 1) Don’t; but 2) if you do, don’t do the two together; and 3) get a designated driver this day and every day.

Janet Schade, MS, RPh