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January 2006
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Not Another Usual Drugged Driving Article

Surprise — an article about drugged driving that doesn’t blame marijuana or promote zero-tolerance drug testing (neither of which are the problems in real drugged driving).
Experts Concerned About `Drug Driving’, by Maggie Shepard in the Albuquerque Tribune focuses on — get this — those who are actually impaired when they drive.

Just before Christmas, a woman who says she was taking only the prescribed dose of her pain killer and anti-anxiety medication blacked out as she was driving to the grocery store.
She lost control of her SUV and caused a crash that killed Natasha Ruth, 69, according to Rio Rancho police. […]
New Mexico law does not differentiate between impairment from alcohol, legal narcotics or appropriately used prescription drugs.
“Impairment means impairment,” said Franklin Garcia, program director for the state Traffic Safety Bureau.

Exactly. And law enforcement should deal specifically with thoe who are impaired, regardless of the means of impairment.
In the article, the Police Lieutenant (Conrad Murray) called for more training for officers to be able to deal with identifying this kind of impairment. He didn’t call for more drug testing, or stricter laws based on identifying trace elements of illegal drugs in the bloodstream as we so often see.
Refreshing. Perhaps Murray really wants to make the roads safer, rather than following the Drug Czar’s political motivations.
We need more of this attitude. Sure, having to actually identify impairment on the road or in the workplace, in the context of the situation, requires skill and judgement. It takes more work than a blood test, or simply demonizing marijuana users because that particular drug happens to leave evidence in the blood longer.

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