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New Study: THC Seldom Detected In Injured Dutch Drivers

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 12, 2012

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from today’s NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.]

    Belgian drivers injured in traffic accidents are far more likely to possess drugs and alcohol in their systems than are Dutch drivers, according to data to be published in the journal Forensic Science International.

    Investigators from Belgium and the Netherlands compared the prevalence of alcohol, licit and illicit drugs in the blood of seriously injured drivers over 18 years of age. A total of 535 drivers – 348 from Belgium and 187 from the Netherlands – were assessed in the study.

    Researchers reported, “In Belgium, more drivers were found positive for alcohol and drugs than in the Netherlands. … Alcohol was the most prevalent substance among the injured drivers in Belgium (42.5 percent) and the Netherlands (29.6 percent). … In Belgium there were … more positives for THC (8 percent). … In the Netherlands, almost no positive findings for cannabis were recorded (0.5 percent).

    THC tends to have a relatively short half-life in the blood of moderate consumers, but may be present at trace levels in the blood of more chronic users for up to 24 hours or longer.

    Investigators declared the findings “remarkable” because “the sample of drivers in the Netherlands (was) younger and included more men than in Belgium.” They also noted that cannabis use was far more popular among the Dutch general driving population (2.1 percent) compared to that of the Belgian population (0.49 percent).

    They concluded: “The lower prevalence of alcohol in the Netherlands is associated with a much lower number of crashes and killed and injured drivers. … Despite the high prevalence of THC found in the general driving population, surprisingly almost no THC was found in the Dutch injured driver population.”

    The abstract of the study, “Prevalence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances in injured drivers: Comparison between Belgium and the Netherlands,” appears online here. NORML’s white paper, “Cannabis and Driving: A Scientific and Rational Review,” is available online here.

    23 Responses to “New Study: THC Seldom Detected In Injured Dutch Drivers”

    1. HG says:

      Nice! And alcohol is legal, marijuana is shunned. I get where this comes from ($$$) but that doesn’t make it right. Someday!!!!! I think legalization will happen in my lifetime (I’m 30) and I hope to see it become common in medicinal use.

    2. Anonymous says:

      People refuse to accept that, unlike Alcohol, Cannabis keeps your judgement intact and hardly affects motor skills.

    3. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Alcohol makes a person bold and take risk easily while on the other hand, cannabis makes a person more cautious. If you want proof; allow research.

      A person who do both wants to safely crash out in some place.

    4. bhonze says:

      Just goes to show, THC impaired is not the same as alcohol or prescription drugs. Once a person is on MMJ for a few weeks driving is not usually a problem. You maybe shouldn’t drive right after smoking a fatty but 30min to an hour your good to go! This cannot be said for alcohol and other drugs.

    5. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Most likely a person who is high on cannabis would rather stop the car and enjoy the scenery.

    6. […] New Study: THC Seldom Detected In Injured Dutch Drivers [Editor's note: This post is excerpted from today's NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML's news alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here.] Belgian drivers injured in traffic accidents are far more likely to possess drugs and alcohol in their systems than are Dutch drivers, according to data to be published in the journal Forensic Science International. Investigators from Belgium and the Netherlands compared the prevalence of alcohol, licit and illicit drugs in the blood of seriously injured drivers over 18 years of age. A […] […]

    7. Galileo Galilei says:

      So, legal weed is inversely correlated with driving mishaps.

      Now all we need to do is tell the Feds. Surely, they’re serious about public safety.

      Seriously, I wonder why that is. People on THC are notoriously cautious behind the wheel, but you would think this would be less the case when weed is common.

    8. Brandon Boucher says:

      another pencil-whipped, falsified study by the government saying that legalizing cannabis would cause more accidents has now been crushed!

      just to add more fuel to the “gov’ment hate” fire…

      http://articles.courant.com/2012-01-16/business/hc-marijuana-traffic-deaths-0117-20120116_1_medical-marijuana-law-medical-marijuana-fatal-accidents

      thanks!

    9. Brandon Boucher says:

      and some more, lol:

      Myth #5: Legalizing marijuana would cause
      carnage on the highways

      This myth is FALSE
      Because,

      Early studies showed that people who smoke marijuana have about the same amount of car accidents then people who drink alcohol.

      However, a more closer examination revealed that 85% of the people who used marijuana and had a car accident also consumed alcohol!

      For people only intoxicated on marijuana, the rate was much lower than for alcohol alone. This finding has been supported by other research using completely different methods.

      For example, states that had reduced penalties for marijuana possession experienced a rise in marijuana use and a decline in alcohol use with the result that fatal highway accidents decreased.

      This would suggest that, instead of causing a “carnage” on the highways, legalizing marijuana might actually save lives!

      Tests have also shown that people intoxicated on alcohol drive a lot faster then people who didn’t used alcohol, while marijuana smokers drive a lot slower and approach other cars more cautiously.

      This is because the effects of marijuana makes you more aware of your surrounding so you pay more attention to the things happening around you, it also feels like you are going 60 miles a hour while only driving 30 miles.

      Also I would like to add that I drive my car at least a few times a week after I smoked some joints. The funny part is that I have had my share of car accidents but never while I was high on weed, isn’t that something?

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