Marijuana and Alcohol Combined Double Risk of Drinking and Driving

alcclerWhen people drink alcohol their ability to make rational decisions is lowered, thus leading to dangerous behavior such as drinking and driving. A recent study found that people who smoke marijuana in addition to consuming alcohol are twice as likely to get behind the wheel.

The study, conducted by the Alcohol Research Group found this information after comparing three groups of people. Data was gathered from people who only drank alcohol, from people that only smoked marijuana and from people that combined alcohol and marijuana together. Based on answers to questions posed to all three groups, researchers were able to determine the likelihood of the different groups getting behind the wheel while being under the influence.

“If cannabis use becomes more prevalent as U.S. states and other countries continue to legalize it, then we need to be prepared to advise people appropriately. If you use both substances together, your risk of drunk driving, and possibly other consequences, may be higher than if you stick to using one at a time,” explained Meenakshi Subbaraman, the lead author of the study.

The study, which was published in the May issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, also showed that people that used both alcohol and marijuana at the same time were six times more likely to binge drink. Binge drinking is a major factor in many drunk driving incidents. Other data compiled from the research stated that those that used both substances simultaneously were more likely to engage in physical fights, aggressive arguments, experience relationship problems, struggle in their careers and have more problems with the law.

It may not come as a surprise that there are more problems for those who use more substances, however, it is interesting that the change in behavior is so dramatic. Given that many of the young people today who become addicted are poly-substance abusers, the need for successful treatment centers is that much more defined.