Drugged Driving: The Disconnect Between Theory and Behavior Among Teens

Decades of drug education and addiction awareness efforts in the schools have gone a long way toward helping kids to sidestep drug and alcohol abuse and its risks. However, the focus – especially when it comes to driving – has long been on alcohol. Drunk driving is a deadly problem among teens, but unfortunately, many don’t make the connection that driving under the influence of any drug is dangerous as well. Drugged driving among teens who smoke marijuana, use synthetic drugs like spice or K2 or club drugs like ecstasy, and even those who take over-the-counter medications like Robitussin can result in an accident that can be life-changing if not life-ending.

Parents, too, often don’t realize that drugged driving is as threatening to their teen as drinking and driving. While many harp on the risks of getting in the car with someone who has been drinking alcohol, they may not place as much emphasis upon the risks of driving with someone under the influence of any mind-altering substance.

What do you need to know to keep your teen safe?

Dangers of Drugged Driving

Even if your son is taking cold medication in the correct dosage, it can be dangerous for him to get behind the wheel. His reaction time will be slower and his ability to process changes on the road will be slower as well. Imagine how much more difficult it will be for him to drive safely if he has just smoked a joint or taken a large dose of cough medicine in order to get high or taken a pill.

To help your son avoid drugged driving, your can:

  • Talk about the issue with your son
  • Be a good example
  • Check in and make sure that your son is sober when he comes home
  • Let your son know that he will always have a ride home if he needs it (e.g., cab money or the knowledge that he can call you without getting into trouble)

Red Flags

If your son drives while under the influence of any substance, it is a huge red flag that he needs help. Medical and/or therapeutic intervention may be called for if he is unable to stop drinking or using drugs on his own. Both psychological and physical dependence should be addressed at a professional treatment center, and if your child is under the age of 18, it is recommended that he attend a teen-specific rehabilitation center.

Here at Muir Wood, we provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment solely for teenage boys. Contact us today to learn more about our unique and effective program.