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Associations between young adults’ co-use of alcohol and marijuana and risky driving

Car accidents are the leading cause of death among young adults, and 30% of college students report driving under the influence in the past year. Identifying specific risk factors such as substance use is important to prevent future accidents.

A recent study looks into a sample of young adults to examine if simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana (SAM) is associated with risky driving. In this study, over 500 young adults were asked about their risky driving behaviors and their perceptions of such behaviors. Examples include driving over the speed limit and driving after smoking marijuana. Participants also reported past month alcohol, marijuana, and SAM use. The results indicate that on average, students believed it was unsafe to drive under the influence of alcohol and/or marijuana. SAM users had higher risky driving scores, indicating they were more likely to engage in risky behaviors. SAM users were also far more likely to drive after use of alcohol or marijuana individually compared to single substance users. These findings may be due to the fact that co-users often use marijuana to “sober up” from alcohol, leading them to believe it is safer to drive. This information is important to add to existing research to prevent young adult car accidents.

Take Away:  Young adults who use alcohol and marijuana simultaneously are far more likely to engage in risky driving after using alcohol, marijuana, or both.

Tags: young adult, college, marijuana, alcohol, driving

Duckworth, J.C., Lee, C.M. (2019). Associations among simultaneous and co-occurring use of alcohol and marijuana, risky driving, and perceived risk. Addictive Behaviors. doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.09.19

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