Tags: Marijuana | teens | driving | SADD

Study: 1 in 5 Teens Drives After Smoking Marijuana

Thursday, 23 Feb 2012 01:54 PM

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Many teenagers don’t see any danger in driving after smoking marijuana, and 1 in 5 has gotten behind the wheel after smoking pot, a study says.

The findings of the study released Wednesday seemed to contradict other answers from the respondents, as 70 percent said marijuana use is "very" or "extremely" distracting to driving, USA Today reported.  But when compared with a similar study two years ago, the new score showed an increasing acceptance of smoking pot and driving, an expert associated with the study said.

The findings reflect "a dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago," said Stephen Wallace, senior adviser for policy, research, and education at Students Against Destructive Decisions, which commissioned the study with Liberty Mutual Insurance.

In that 2009 survey, 78 percent said using marijuana is extremely distracting to driving.

The study of about 2,300 high school juniors and seniors also found that 13 percent of them have driven under the influence of alcohol.

Another study in December at the University of Michigan found similar results. In that study, marijuana use rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year and daily use reached a 30-year peak among high school seniors, USA Today reported.

The new study shows the need "to get the message out about the dangers of marijuana impairment," Tom Hedrick of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, an advocacy group that participated in the study, told USA Today. "It's a wake-up call for parents about the importance of having this conversation," with their teenagers.

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