It’s Not Either Or — Many Drivers are Both Stoned and Drunk
Read Part 1 For Ansley Rayborn, 14, it was a fatal decision to go into the car with another teenager who had been drinking and smoking pot. Ansley was a freshman at Chiles High School in Florida. She was spending the night at a friend’s house when the two girls met up with other kids. The 15-year-old driver was stoned, drunk and only had a learner’s permit. Ansley died while the driver and three other teens escaped from the crash with minor injuries.
Why are so many drivers are both drunk and stoned? In their fight for addiction equality with alcohol, the marijuana advocates pretend it’s either/or, not both. The reality is that stoners also tend to be heavier drinkers than the rest of us, too. The other reality is that the shameless promotion of marijuana as an alternative is promoting the recreational use of pot and alcohol together.
Using marijuana within three hours of driving doubles the risk of having an accident. Many marijuana DUID fatalities include stoned drivers who are also drunk. Doing pot while drinking accelerates the effects of each and makes a driver way, way out of control. The chances for an accident are so much stronger than it would be if a person had only been drinking or just smoking pot. A driver who smelled of alcohol and had used marijuana probably caused a 6-car accident in Denver in August 3. One man died in the fiery wreck.
Let’s not forget that the worst car accident in the US within the last decade involved a wrong-way driver who was both stoned and drunk. It was the Taconic State Parkway crash in New York which killed 8, including 5 children, on July 26, 2009. There’s much mystery as to why the driver, Diane Schuler, was so intoxicated, but it appears she was in pain. She used marijuana regularly to deal with insomnia. Schuler, her 2-year old daughter and three men in the oncoming minivan died. Her nieces, Alyson, Katie and Emma Hance died, too, although Emma had just called her parents to warn that something was terribly wrong with Aunt Diane.
Recently, a wrong-way driver who was high on marijuana and may have been drunk killed an NYPD police officer on the Sprain Brook Parkway in New York. Policeman Paul Duncan was 10 months away from retirement. (See photo above)
Stoned and Drunk Boating Accidents, Too
The marijuana – alcohol combination has also contributed to tragic boating accidents, like when a speedboat crashed into a houseboat in British Columbia. Both the boat driver and the deceased had the deadly marijuana-alcohol combination.
In April there was a horrific boating accident in which 900 migrants going from Libya to Lampedusa, an island off Italy, perished. According to reports, the two captains were like madmen, both drunk and stoned. “He was drunk and he smoked hashish while he was at the helm a little while before the boat hit the Portuguese container ship,” one survivor said.
Stoned and Drugged, More Accidents
Many marijuana driving fatalities are caused by drivers on a cocktail of drugs in addition to pot. The driver in a recent 3-car crash in Indiana had marijuana, Xanax and drug paraphernalia on him.
Two years ago, the crane operator in Philadelphia killed 6 people while high on marijuana and a codeine painkiller pill. This accident highlights the difficulties in seeing proper perception of depth when stoned. The crane operator hit the wall of the Salvation Army thrift store next to the building he was demolishing. He had no intention to harm them. Operating any type of heavy machinery under the influence of drugs puts all of us in danger.
Some who died were quite young: Kimberly Finnegan, Anne Bryan and Mary Simpson. Juanita Harmon was retired. Borbor Davis and Roseline Conteh were immigrants from Liberia and Sierra Leone. An additional 13 people suffered injuries in this accident.
We condemn those policies that pretend marijuana is an alternative to opiate abuse. We condemn those shameless promoters who encourage people to use marijuana because it doesn’t cause toxic overdose as drinking can do. Recent deaths have put a dent into that theory, however.
Instead of introducing and promoting marijuana as an herb from nature, and the huge profits that can be made, why isn’t the US embarking on a policy of discouraging addictive behaviors such as binge drinking, marijuana and opiate abuse? That would be too easy.
(Other blog articles about traffic deaths caused by stoned driving include pedestrians and cyclists and the 5 deaths in Vancouver, Washington.)
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