Southeast Missouri State University

Excessive use of alcohol and drugs is a prevalent problem in today’s society. Although the use of alcohol is not illegal, the abuse of it can be, and may result in a criminal offense. Drugs, other than prescription or over-the-counter, are illegal and you need to make yourself aware of the involvement of the law.

Driving skills are seriously impaired by the use of drugs and alcohol, and you can be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated. The judicial system is now invoking stronger penalties for this charge, as a result of the deaths and injuries that result from the intoxicated driver. In most states, a person is legally intoxicated when his/her blood-alcohol level reaches .10%. Alcohol’s effects depend on several factors that you need to be aware of when you have made the decision to drink. These include:

  1. Your weight
  2. How fast you drink
  3. Amount of food in your stomach
  4. Your mood

For some people, even one drink may be too many!

Drugs also interfere with driving skills, in many of the same ways that alcohol does, and the danger is not always gone after the feeling of being "high" passes. The following skills are seriously and dangerously impaired while one is under the influence of drugs:

  1. Coordination - Marijuana interferes with muscle coordination. This could affect the driver’s ability to maneuver the vehicle quickly and accurately, when necessary.
  2. Reasoning - Marijuana users may think they are in complete control and are perfectly capable of driving, but they are not.
  3. Vision - Drivers who use marijuana have trouble adjusting to the glare of oncoming headlights and may experience double vision.
  4. Tracking Ability - This essential skill, which involves the ability to follow a moving object with your eyes, is significantly impaired by the use of marijuana.

Marijuana is not the only drug that impairs driving or other skills. Pain relievers, stimulants, tranquilizers, and antihistamines are legal, but you need to be sensitive to the side effects while using them. Combining drugs or mixing drugs with alcohol can be especially dangerous.

Did You Know?

  1. About one half of all traffic deaths are alcohol related.
  2. Beer and wine are just as potent as hard liquor. Twelve ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor all contain the same amount of alcohol.
  3. Alcohol reaches the brain almost immediately after it is consumed and dulls the areas that enable decision-making to occur.
  4. Nationwide, about 450 lives could be saved every week if people did not drink, or use drugs, and then drive.

If you have made the conscious decision to use drugs and alcohol excessively, do not expect to get just "a slap on the hand." Results from getting arrested and charged for a crime resulting from drug and alcohol use include heavy fines, prison or jail time, and loss of driving privileges are becoming more utilized consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. For your own safety and the safety of others, make wise decisions if you must drink or take drugs, but above all, do not drink and drive!

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