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More Colorado drivers in fatal car crashes testing positive for marijuana

Science Spotlight

May 27, 2014

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A new NIAAA- and NIDA-funded study shows an increased number of marijuana-positive Colorado drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes since Colorado’s legalization of medical marijuana in 2009.  A similar increase was not seen in the 34 states that did not have medical marijuana laws when this study was conducted.  During the same time period, there was no change in the number of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal motor vehicle crashes in either Colorado or the 34 then non-medical marijuana states.

Although this study did not determine a cause and effect relationship between the marijuana use and the vehicle accidents, research shows that both alcohol and marijuana impair driving. The authors suggest that these findings underscore the need for enhanced education about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, including marijuana. For information on drugged driving, go to www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drugged-driving.

For a copy of the study (published online April 23), go to
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0376871614008345.

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

Contact:
NIDA Press Office
301-443-6245
media@nida.nih.gov

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found at www.drugabuse.gov, which is now compatible with your smartphone, iPad or tablet. To order publications in English or Spanish, call NIDA’s DrugPubs research dissemination center at 1-877-NIDA-NIH or 240-645-0228 (TDD) or email requests to drugpubs@nida.nih.gov. Online ordering is available at drugpubs.drugabuse.gov. NIDA’s media guide can be found at www.drugabuse.gov/publications/media-guide/dear-journalist, and its easy-to-read website can be found at www.easyread.drugabuse.gov. You can follow NIDA on Twitter and Facebook.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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NIDA. (2014, May 27). More Colorado drivers in fatal car crashes testing positive for marijuana. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2014/05/more-colorado-drivers-in-fatal-car-crashes-testing-positive-marijuana

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