Tag Archives: Marijuana Policy Project

Tragedy comes to teens who risk riding with stoned drivers

Driving with friends when they’re stoned

Read Part 1 and Part 2.   Many teens have heard “stoned is safer than drunk.” In the social media, the pot advocates claim to drive more carefully when high on pot.  Long-time pot users say ridiculous things which make young people think they’re immune to tragedy.  Smoking pot and driving is not safe, and it’s foolish to guess which risky behavior is more dangerous than another.

Too many teens take a risk by getting into the cars of friends or classmates who have been smoking pot.  Marijuana was a factor in the crash that killed Darion Wheeler, 18, Destinee Wheeler, 15, and Paul McEwan, 20.  It shocked a small Wyoming town when they died last March. Continue reading

Time to get mad, change attitudes about stoned driving, part 2

Read Part I: Time to get mad about stoned driving.  The next step is to change attitudes about stoned driving.

Marijuana Policy Project promoted marijuana as an alternative to alcohol in the 2012 campaign to legalize pot in Colorado.  However, the recent Rocky Mountain HIDTA Report revealed the overlap between those who use marijuana and drink before driving.   It’s not a substitution, but an adjunct to alcohol.  The alcohol industry has been selling more since legalization. Continue reading

Ask Amy: No it’s Not SAFER When it Comes to DRiving

Amy Dickinson writes a syndicated column for a number of newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.  This question and answer appeared in the April 6, 2017 editions.  The marijuana lobby wrote a book, Marijuana is Safer,  full of misinformation.  We believe it’s important to publish this message from the Ask Amy column. 

Dear Amy: I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who will call a taxi or use a designated driver if she is going to be drinking, but she thinks it’s fine to smoke pot and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

I have told her that she is probably more impaired after smoking pot then if she had a couple of drinks.

She totally disagrees. I have spoken to other pot smokers, and a lot of them agree with her.

How can I get her to understand the severe consequences that could happen to herself or some innocent person if she drives impaired?

— Frustrated!

Dear Frustrated: I shared your question with a spokesperson with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which has published studies on this.

Their response: “There seems to be a common misperception — that people can compensate (and in fact drive more slowly than normal) under the influence of marijuana. But the research says something different — marijuana increases your risk of being in a car crash about two-fold, and also increases your risk of being at fault for the accident.”

“These effects are not as dramatic as the effects of alcohol (which increases your risk about five-fold at the 0.08 legal limit), but the combination of the two — marijuana and alcohol — is even worse than either one alone.”

That last point is important. If your granddaughter is using alcohol and marijuana at the same time (as many people do), she should not drive.

For more information check www.drugabuse.gov.

The marijuana-induced crash that killed bicyclist Richard Tom and driver Joseph Marshall, April 26,2015. Photo: Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press

Editor’s Note: The number of fatal crashes — especially in the states of Washington and Colorado — caused by THC-impaired drivers suggests that NORML and Marijuana Policy Project need to issue warnings  against marijuana and driving.

Our Growing Problem of Traumatized Children

Photos of passed out parents with toddlers have surfaced everywhere — the images of our addiction epidemic.  (Above photo is from the East Liverpool, Ohio, Police Department.) Though it’s often heroin, fentanyl or opiates that kill, most of the young people dying today began their illicit drug use with pot.  (Read Part 1,   Part 2 and Part 3. )  We have created a new generation of traumatized children.

“All of the parents I know who use marijuana are terrible parents,” a  fan of poppot.org’s, who is in her 20s, wrote to us recently.  Many newspapers have written about the children of the opioid crisis, but pot-using parents also contribute to the crisis.  We’ve tracked 80 child deaths related to caregivers’ marijuana use since November, 2012.

When those who were traumatized children put their own children in abusive situations, it’s easy to understand their failings.  Selena Hitt’s boyfriend accidentally shot her baby, after both of them had smoked pot. Selena had been raised in foster care.  Her mother died when she was very young, and most of the time her father was not available to care for her.

Policy More than other Factors Creates Problem of Drug Use

However, there’s a group of non-traumatized adults abusing their children because the US government has allowed  the normalization of marijuana.  Because marijuana users can lose interest and are susceptible to psychosis, it’s particularly important not to use pot if you have children.

Up to eighty percent of child abuse and neglect involves substance abuse, a fact that violence prevention groups ignore or deny.*  The denial is helpful to the strategy of making drug use socially acceptable. NORML and Marijuana Policy Project encourage marijuana use, while Drug Policy Alliance wishes to legalize all drugs and thus normalize drug use.

The same groups that promote legalization suggest that harm reduction strategies work.  Policy based on harm reduction promotes “responsible use” of drugs, and promotes a lie.  Recently, a five-year-old drowned, because her babysitter used pot at 8:30 a.m. and stopped watching her.

The Widespread Problem of Traumatized Children

One of our Parents Opposed to Pot members in Colorado has a 13-year-old son who suffers from PTSD.   His older brother threatened and terrified him while in a marijuana-induced psychosis.   (The older son, now 17, is in recovery, while the younger son is being treated with EMDR for PTSD.)

States that decide to legalize pot must realize that their decision profound effects on the friends and families of marijuana users.  Our blog on suicides tells of teens and young adults who lived mainly in environments that normalized marijuana use.  For the most part, they did not use marijuana because of trauma, although one was a veteran.

Many parents of these suffering children use drugs only because it’s social and considered harmless. Michael Goldsby, addictions instructor at College of the Redwoods said, “Risk factors for drug problems include availability of drugs, positive peer attitudes towards drug use [and] community norms that accept drug misuse. Drug and alcohol use is accepted and even encouraged in our community”  Goldsby teaches college in the Emerald Triangle region.

Drug-Related Deaths far Outnumber Deaths by Cars or Guns

Genetic and environmental factors that influence drug use are compounded by a society that normalizes drug use.  The Center for Disease Control recently released statistics about accidental deaths:

52,404 drug-related deaths, up 11%.

37,757 died in car crashes, an increase of 12%.

36,252  gun deaths, including homicides and suicides

As we try to cope with a growing number of children affected by ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), the United States is embarking on a program to legalize all drugs.  Little children are losing their parents at an alarming rate, adding to the trauma and ACE scores of the future.

Instead of protecting the people, politicians are allowing marijuana lobbyists to dictate policy.  (Billionaires, marijuana companies and pro-legalization groups donated more than $22 million to legalize marijuana in California.)   Professionals need to counter the media bias and bias in polls which favors drug legalization.

Taking away children from drug-using mothers is not the answer, because separation from the moms also creates traumatized children. Child protection workers are in a Catch 22 situation. Techniques described in Part 2 can perhaps help the children traumatized by parents’ drug use.

The 13-year-old boy described above has an excellent counselor for his his PTSD.  EMDR is working right now and providing the healing needed at this time.   A postscript will present more advice on how to provide help for traumatized children.

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*Our information is mainly from CASA Columbia.  A good current reference Ed Gogek’s book, Marijuana Debunked.  Several studies are mentioned in our six-part series on child abuse deaths related to pot.   Parents Opposed to Pot has tried to share stories with Futures Without Violence, but they banned us from posting on their Facebook page.