Pubdate: Tue, 29 Apr 2014
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
Note: Paper does not publish LTE's outside its circulation area
Author: Sheila Burke, The Associated Press
Page: B1


NASHVILLE (AP) - The White House drug policy director is offering a 
sobering message about driving while under the influence of drugs. 
Despite significant progress in the last few decades when it comes to 
getting drunken drivers off the road, an alarming number of people 
get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs, Michael 
Botticelli said Monday in Nashville.

"We see this as a major public health and public safety issue," 
Botticelli told The Associated Press after speaking at the largest 
meeting of public safety officials in the nation. It's important, he 
said, that communities raise awareness of the problem. Botticelli is 
acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

He cited surveys that show an alarming number of people are taking 
drugs and getting behind the wheel of a car, especially young people.

A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed 
that one in eight people driving on the weekend at night tested 
positive for illegal drugs. Additionally, an Office of Drug Control 
Policy analysis of NHTSA data from 2009 showed that one in four 
drivers who was killed in a crash and tested positive for drugs was 
under the age of 25.

The data also pointed to a significant number of teenagers who smoke 
pot and then drive. One study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse 
found that one in eight high school seniors said they had driven 
after smoking marijuana in the two weeks before they took the survey.

One of the Obama administration's priorities is to get the number of 
drugged drivers off the road, he said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom