Male College Students More Likely to Drive Stoned than Drunk

A new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatric reported that male college students are more than three times likelier to drive after smoking marijuana than after drinking alcohol.

The study found that, in a month’s time, about 44 percent of college men reported driving stoned while only 12 percent reported driving drunk.

315 students from two large state universities in Wisconsin and Washington were asked whether they had used marijuana or alcohol in the previous 28 days, and whether they had driven under the influence or were a passenger in a car driven by someone who was drunk or stoned.

Only 9 percent of college women reported driving after smoking marijuana, far less than that of college men. Only 3 percent of women reported driving after drinking. However, 35 percent of women reported being a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was stoned. Approximately 51 percent of men had been a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was stoned.

“There seems to be a misconception that marijuana use is totally safe, but as an injury prevention researcher I dispute that. We’ve done a good job in public health with messages about the risks of driving after alcohol use. Clearly the idea not to drink and drive has come through for these students, because we found only [seven] percent engage in that behavior. But our study suggests we must do better when it comes to marijuana, since we found that 31 percent of marijuana-using students drive under its influence,” said lead author Jennifer Whitehill, assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, School of Public Health and Health Science.

While college students shouldn’t be driving drunk or stoned, the findings are at least a little encouraging in that they suggest college students recognize that driving drunk is more dangerous than driving stoned.

Numerous studies have been conducted that tend to show that driving under the influence of marijuana is, in fact, safer than driving drunk.

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