Pubdate: Tue, 27 Mar 2012
Source: San Bernardino Sun (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: Paul Chabot
Note: Paul Chabot, MPA, Ed.D, is the president of Coalition for a 
Drug Free California and Chabot Strategies LLC. He is the author of 
"Eternal Battle against Evil."


Assemblywoman Norma Torres has it right, and we thank her for paying 
attention to an issue affecting every single community in California 
- - drugged driving. We have more people driving "high" on our highways 
than we do driving drunk. While great strides have been made for 
decades to reduce drunken driving, virtually nothing has been done to 
address "drugged driving." With the explosion of domestic marijuana 
cartels in California selling pot out of storefronts, Californians 
are largely not surprised to learn that an ever-increasing number of 
traffic incidents involve people under the influence of marijuana - 
especially those driving to and from marijuana dispensaries.

In California, it is estimated that well over 2,500 marijuana stores 
are in operation, and an estimated 1 million people now have pot ID 
cards for so-called "medical reasons" - a complete fraud-initiative 
that has caused California's youth great harm.

Let's dig deeper into the drugged driving research.

In 2007, the National Roadside Survey on Alcohol and Drug Use by 
Drivers found 1 in 8 weekend nighttime drivers tested positive for 
illicit drugs, nationally. Sadly, 1 in 8 high school seniors reported 
in 2010 (Monitoring the Future Study) that they smoked marijuana 
within two weeks prior to the interview for the survey. The Office of 
National Drug Control Strategy performed an analysis of 2009 data 
from the National Highway Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting

System that showed approximately 1 in 4 of those killed in a motor 
vehicle accident tested positive for illegal drugs and were under the 
age of 25. Digging deeper into the data revealed a rather shocking 
statistic - almost half of fatally injured drivers who tested 
positive for marijuana were under 25 years of age.

In 2010, the National Highway Safety Administration report showed 
that overall, 3,952 fatally injured drivers tested positive for 
drugs. The Institute for Behavior and Health, along with the National 
Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control 
Policy, formulated a white paper on this issue which revealed that 33 
percent of fatally injured drivers with known drug test results were 
positive for drugs other than alcohol, and, among randomly stopped 
weekend nighttime drivers who provided blood specimens, 16.3 percent 
were positive for drugs.

Protecting our communities from drivers who are "high" requires a 
multi-prong approach, including: improving drugged driving education; 
identifying and evaluating promising models for drugged driver 
identification; conducting more drug impairment research; piloting 
more drugged driving behavioral research; shepherding more related 
treatment research (such as treatment for drug use), and a 
standardized drugged driving process.

Assemblywoman Norma Torres should not only be congratulated for 
introducing legislation to crack down on "high" drivers, but must 
receive our support.

I have been a longtime conservative Republican fighting the drug 
issue in California and around the nation. It wasn't too long ago 
that I simply assumed Sacramento was lost to liberals who wanted to 
legalize drugs. While some do exist, like Sen. Leno out of San 
Francisco and Assemblyman Ammiano, also out of San Francisco, we as 
conservatives have a few nuts on our side of the aisle as well who 
believe America should legalize drugs despite all common sense otherwise.

Assemblywoman Norma Torres will need our support for another reason. 
The extremely wealthy pro-drug organizations and lobby groups have 
begun to target her because of this bill. They will harass her office 
to no end. We must stand united and not only call our elected 
officials to support her bill, but encourage other like-minded 
legislation go to the governor for signature - and a very good place 
to start is by ending the plague of marijuana dispensaries in our state.

In short, Assemblywoman Norma Torres' bill levels the playing field 
against drugged drivers, will make our streets and communities safer, 
and raises awareness about the overall marijuana epidemic facing 
California. I strongly encourage my Republican friends to stand 
united in support of this Democrat-introduced bill.

Peace and prayers to all who lost a loved one to an impaired driver.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom