Drive high, kiss your license goodbye

Thursday, April 19, 2018

With Colorado, California and Washington legalizing recreational marijuana and medical marijuana legal in many other states, an important issue is rarely raised.

Impaired driving.

Alcohol is the traditional problem when it comes to driving, but drug-caused motor vehicle accidents will climb as marijuana is more widely used.

The McCook Police Department is joining in a three-day, six-state drugged-driving enforcement campaign designed to make the point: “Drive High, Kiss your License Goodbye.”

McCook Police Chief Ike Brown said, “Drug-impaired driving is a serious issue for drivers and law enforcement in McCook. By intensifying enforcement of drug-impaired driving laws, we hope people will think twice before driving while impaired by any drug.”

Brown said the focused enforcement starts on Friday, April 20. He said statistics indicate that drug-impaired driving increases on April 20 — “4/20” is a code-term in the drug culture for the consumption of marijuana, the annual celebration for all things cannabis.

Brown said “driving high” affects a driver’s behavior and performance. “It has been proven that THC — the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects — slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane,” he said.

Brown and his officers encourage any driver taking any drug — prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal — at any time of the year to make plans for a sober driver. “Find a designated driver or call a cab if you are impaired on any substance,” Brown said.

“Don’t become a statistic,” the police chief said, “by being killed or killing others in a drugged driving crash, or by being arrested and lodged in jail, and by losing your license. No one should spend time in jail or in a morgue.”

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  • No one should drive impaired, but actual impairment should be measured, and the level of impairment from cannabis that is criminalized should be the same as the level of impairment for the blood alcohol limit. I have developed a new public health app that is a general measure of impairment from cannabis or any source--anything that impairs reaction time, hand-eye coordination, balance and the ability to perform divided attention tasks--it is called DRUID (an acronym for “DRiving Under the Influence of Drugs”) available now in the App Store and in Google Play. DRUID measures reaction time, decision making, hand-eye coordination, time estimation and balance, and then statistically integrates hundreds of data points into an overall impairment score. DRUID takes just 2 minutes.

    NORML of California is promoting DRUID on their website and is encouraging cannabis users to download it.

    Our website is www.druidapp.com

    DRUID allows cannabis users (or others who drink alcohol, use prescription drugs, etc.) to self-assess their own level of impairment and (hopefully) decide against driving if they are impaired. Prior to DRUID, there was no way for an individual to accurately assess their own level of impairment.

    DRUID was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/25/511595978/can-sobriety-tests-weed-out-drivers-whov...

    Also on television: http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2017/02/28/science-lags-behind-marijuana-impairme...

    And this past December on Spokane Public Radio: http://nwpr.org/post/progress-made-marijuana-intoxication-measurement-tool-0

    After obtaining my Ph.D. at Harvard, I have been a professor of psychology at UMass/Boston for the past 40 years, specializing in research methods, measurement and statistics.

    Michael Milburn, Professor

    Department of Psychology


    -- Posted by DrMike on Thu, Apr 19, 2018, at 10:58 AM
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