Using marijuana as a medicine: driving cautions

Did you know that, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, after alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug when driving? And that driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, marijuana, or other illegal drugs, is just as dangerous as drinking and driving?

A recent national survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed 22.5 percent of nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or OTC drugs that can impair driving. (Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, April 2017. NHTSA 2014 Drug-Impaired Driving Survey).

A good rule of thumb? If you feel different, you drive different. Driving while under the influence of any substance can alter perception, attention, coordination, reaction time and other abilities required for safe driving. These subtle mental impairments can have a serious effect on driving ability, even without the person stumbling or being uncoordinated. So someone can look OK, but it doesn’t mean they are OK.

Ohio’s new law allowing limited medical access to marijuana is clear — registered patients cannot drive while under the influence of marijuana. It is dangerous and illegal, and can result in an OVI.

Be informed. Be safe.

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties

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