Marijuana Makes Drinking And Driving More Dangerous For Teens

Teen with licenseFor a teen, drinking and driving isn’t just a risky behavior, it can be a fatal decision. Drinking alcohol reduces response time, inhibits coordination, and can affect motor skills and memory function as the teen grows older. If you pair alcohol with brand new driving skills, the teen definitely has an increased chance of ending up in a fatal crash.

A recent study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs highlighted an even more dangerous problem for teens – drinking alcohol and mixing marijuana. They found when teens mixed the two, they were more likely to be involved in a crash or receive a traffic ticket.

The study surveyed more than 72,000 U.S. high school seniors from 1997 to 2011. The teens were asked to report their drug and alcohol use for the past year and indicate whether they had been involved in a crash or received a traffic ticket. The teens that only drank alcohol were 40 percent more likely to receive a ticket and 24 percent more likely to be in a crash, but the teens that drank alcohol and smoked marijuana were 90 percent more likely to receive a ticket and 50 percent more likely to be in a crash.

The information provided by the study highlights how parents need to continually talk to their teens about the effects of underage drinking. A few things you can share with your teen includes:

  • Beer and wine are not ‘milder’ than hard liquor, and a can of beer equals one glass of wine or a 1.5 ounces of hard liquor in regards to the effect they have on your body.
  • It takes several hours for a drink to leave your system, and coffee, showers, or walking in fresh air won’t help speed up the process.
  • Anyone can develop a serious alcohol problem, including teens.

If you’re worried that your teen may consider drinking alcohol, let them know that alcohol is powerful enough to slow down their mind and body, it will impair their judgment and reaction time, and that it’s vital they never drink alcohol and drive a vehicle.