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Report links recreational cannabis to high pedestrian deaths in US
Posted in Marijuana

For the second straight year, pedestrian fatalities in the United States remained high at about 6,000 in 2017, according to the preliminary data released recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Significantly, the GHSA report finds that pedestrian deaths increased sharply in states that had legalized marijuana for recreational use, whereas the number of such fatalities dropped in the rest of the country. Another reason cited by the GHSA for high pedestrian deaths is the greater use of smartphones.

As per the GHSA report, seven U.S. states — Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Washington — and the District of Columbia that legalized recreational pot between 2012 and 2016 reported a collective 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first six months (January-June) of 2017. Given that all the other states reported a collective 5.8 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities, there is no doubt about the possible role played by recreational cannabis in adding to the number of pedestrian fatalities.

As marijuana significantly impairs one’s judgment, motor coordination and reaction time, pot legalization was considered a factor that might be responsible for the increasing pedestrian fatalities across the states. Prior studies have also found a direct relationship between concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in blood and one’s impaired driving ability. According to a research, drivers with THC in their blood are three to seven times more likely to have a motor crash compared to those who had not used drugs and/or alcohol.

According to Richard Retting, who authored the report for GHSA, the increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities is “downright disturbing” as walkers are being killed at levels not witnessed in 25 years. “The data is a marker for concern. It may be a canary in a coal mine, an early indicator to address,” he said.

The GHSA data also reported that the number of states with a pedestrian fatality rate at or above 2 per 100,000 had more than doubled from 7 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2016. As per the report, the top five states that accounted for 43 percent of all pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2017 included Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas. The report has used preliminary data provided by all 50 State Highway Safety Offices and the District of Columbia.

Seeking treatment for marijuana addiction

Marijuana is a highly addictive drug that affects the parts of the brain responsible for learning, memory, decision making, coordination, and reaction time. Research shows that about one in 10 pot users will get addicted to the drug. Besides, 1 in 6 individuals who start using cannabis before the age of 18 is likely to hooked on the drug. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), nearly 4 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year.

However, marijuana addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. A leading addiction treatment provider in Texas, Sovereign Health of El Paso offers evidence-based programs focused on a patient’s wellness and complete recovery. Depending on a patient’s symptoms and medical history, our treatment for marijuana addiction may combine residential detox and behavioral therapies. For more information about our effective treatment programs or to locate our finest marijuana detox centers, please call our 24/7 helpline. You can even chat online with one of our representatives for further assistance.

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