When one uses illicit drugs or misuses prescription drugs behind the wheel,
driving can be unsafe just as drunk driving is unsafe. Drugged driving puts
all who share the road at risk, including the driver and any passengers.
According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in
2016, 11.8 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of
illicit drugs. Driving while under the influence of drugs is dangerous
because of the effects that different drugs have on the brain. For example,
marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and
decrease coordination. In addition, drivers who have used cocaine or
methamphetamine can be aggressive and reckless when driving. Certain kinds
of sedatives, called benzodiazepines, can cause dizziness and drowsiness.
All of these impairments can lead to vehicle crashes. Because drugged
driving puts people at a higher risk for crashes, public health experts urge
people who use drugs and alcohol to develop social strategies to prevent
them from getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired.