Does positive perception of marijuana and use of the drug at an early age predict the likelihood of later DUIs?
RAND Corporation Study on Youth Marijuana Perception
In sunny Southern California, researchers with the RAND Corporation surveyed 1,000 middle schoolers about their views and personal experiences with marijuana and alcohol. The four-year study followed teen opinions from the ages of 12 to 16, checking in every two years to find out how their opinions evolved and whether positive views and personal use of marijuana and alcohol could predict future DUIs.
What they found was that it was not middle school drug and alcohol use that correlated with future DUIs, but merely positive perceptions of drugs and alcohol. For example, sixth graders who viewed the drugs positively were 63 percent more likely to drive under the influence at the age of 16 or to ride with an intoxicated driver. Those students with negative views on the drugs were more likely to avoid high or drunk drivers.
As the teens got older, the use of alcohol and marijuana by peers and family members became a reliable indicator of DUI potential as well.
What should we take away from all of this in light of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado? First things first, minors should not be smoking anyway – the age limit is 21. But the conductors of the study believe that we should be taking stronger initiatives to educate teens in middle and high school about the dangers of impaired driving.
If you are under the age of 21 and facing charges of underage drugged driving, speak to a drugged driving lawyer.
Thomas Law Firm – Denver Drugged Driving Lawyers