Although there is an overwhelming sense of concern these days that a plague of stoned driving will ultimately snuff out the innocent women and children in this country, a recent study published this week in Public Health Reports indicates the terror along the roadways of America is being caused by prescription drugs, not marijuana.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska recently set out to paint a portrait of today’s drugged driver. In order to do this, the team collected data from fatal car crashes across America spanning from 1993 to 2010, in which drugs were a contributing factor. What they discovered is while fewer deadly car accidents are actually taking place, drugged motorists seem to be acquiring an insatiable appetite for the drug cocktail.
“While we’ve seen a decrease over the years in motor vehicle fatalities involving people under the influence, the nature of those crashes is changing,” said lead study author, Dr. Fernando Wilson. “In 1993, about 1 in 8 drivers were using multiple drugs concurrently. By 2010, it was closer to 1 in 5. That’s a large increase in drug use,” he added.
Interestingly, in cases where drugs were found in the driver’s system, the majority appeared to have been washed down with America’s favorite social lubricant – 52.4 percent of all drugged driving accidents involved booze. “About 70 percent of drivers who tested positive for cocaine had also been consuming alcohol, and almost 55 percent of drivers who tested positive for cannabis also had alcohol in their systems,” explained Dr. Wilson.
However, researchers point out that it is not necessarily a wild concoction of illegal drugs mixed with alcohol that is causing all of this roadside carnage. In fact, the data shows prescription drugs accounted for the largest portion of drugged driving fatalities – 45.6 percent in 2010 – with about 40 percent of those accidents involving people over the age of fifty.
Similar to previous results, researchers concluded that alcohol remains one of the greatest threats in the realm of intoxicated driving. However, the authors urge lawmakers interested in ridding the roads of drugged drivers to work with the medical community in an attempt to curb the prescription drug use of motorists.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in High Times, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.