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Common sense: Don’t drive impaired

Common sense: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.

Here are a few things I remember hearing when I was growing up.

— Use your head for something besides a hat rack.

— Think for yourself.

— Think about the consequences before you act. Are they consequences you can live with if you have to?

— Never follow the crowd. They will lead you down the primrose path and when you have nothing left that they want, you will find yourself alone.

— Use good common sense. Don’t waste the good brain God gave you.

And how many times have you heard someone question the common sense someone should be using?

All of this said, would you do something, even if it was legal, if you knew someone could get hurt? And can anyone explain why someone would get behind the wheel of a car after using cannabis?

The average weight of a car, per the Environmental Protection Agency, is about 4,094 pounds or two tons of metal and rubber that the driver is responsible for controlling. In a crash, add the speed that each car is traveling and you will get the speed at impact in a head-on collision. A crash happens in one brief moment and the outcome can never, ever be changed. Serious injuries that take months to repair – or changes someone’s life forever.

One of the grave concerns about legalization of marijuana has always been that when something is legal, some people think that it’s OK to get behind the wheel of a car. According to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, reported the Dayton Daily News, last year there were 10,807 crashes involving impaired drivers of all kinds, with 1,311 of them involving marijuana.

Marijuana impairs attention, decision-making, motor performance and reaction time.

This week Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation released a research update regarding driving under the influence of cannabis. Data used was from the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is that the numbers for alcohol-impaired drivers is going down. The bad news is that the numbers for cannabis-impaired drivers is going up.

The study is concerned about the effects of cannabis use on cognitive function and overall health and well-being. Researchers said 20-30 percent of accidents are due directly to cannabis use. Users do not know at what point they can safely use heavy machinery – like a car.

But more research is needed, as well as a standardized way for law enforcement to report whether a person’s driving ability has been impaired.

“Research strongly suggests that driving under the influence of cannabis impairs individuals’ ability to drive safely. Even though several states have legalized cannabis, it is still illegal to drive under the influence in the U.S. Therefore, individuals under the influence of cannabis or any other substances should avoid operating a motor vehicle under any circumstances.

Please, think about the consequences before you get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. It may take 24 hours or more before the effects of marijuana wear off even though you may feel that you are not intoxicated.

Family Recovery Center helps families to find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468, or email, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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