Press Release – Candor Trust
Sensational papers like the recent rave about medpot availability reducing drink drive crashes are an obvious prong of a campaign by the powerful drug legalizing lobby, as it seeks to smooth a way without the inconveniences of providing for appropriate …
Times Publication of Medpot Myth Immoral
Sensational papers like the recent rave about medpot availability reducing drink drive crashes are an obvious prong of a campaign by the powerful drug legalizing lobby, as it seeks to smooth a way without the inconveniences of providing for appropriate traffic safety responses. A head line grabbing IZA preliminary discussion paper , virtually hailing medpot as something MADD should be selling at charity auctions, ignores a huge body of work now revealing a global cannabis crash epidemic. And worrying research shows sole cannabis users are more likely than non users to drink and drinkers are more inclined to smoke cannabis than others and combiners like to get behind the wheel.
The medpot paper by Anderson and Rees at IZA fails to demonstrate that other factors of well demonstrated ability to continue the existing downtrend in alcohol related deaths were not responsible. It builds dubious assumptions upon yet more dubious ones –before offering its unsound conclusion. And like Drs Sewell and Nutt it adds to an orchestrated anti life campaign of harm denial seen only amongst the drug policy discipline – apparently immune to acknowledging hard findings of real traffic scientists The first issue issue with the authors musings is that the small numbers of medical cannabis users could not possibly have bought about the claimed double figure percentage reduction in crash numbers, as it could not have possibly been responsible for anything like the numbers of crashes that were trimmed.
The second problem is that one would not see the claimed scope of reductions in alcohol crashes result from the cited reduction in beer consumed. A proper literature review would have tipped the writers of that paper have shown only a microscopic impact of increased or reduced alcohol intake on road crashes. Ingestion does not equal getting behind the wheel, and alcohol consumption has skyrocketed parallel to drink driving deaths plummeting in the first world over the last decade.
A 20 year study of road deaths by Economist Dr Sen found that the number of liquor stores per capita inversely correlates with legally intoxicated deaths, so increasing liquor outlets is more effective to reduce road deaths than reduced speeds etc. It reduces mileages driven drunk, but even if taken too far by creating outlet saturation it’s been shown that large rises in the order of more than a 1% increased availability plus bargain prices correlate to a rise in road trauma of only between 0.1-0.4%. Big alterations in alcohol consumption result in minor road toll falls and rises, not adjustments in the order of 10% as claimed in Anderson and Rees discussion paper for IZA to perhaps be traceable to free flowing medpot taking some market share .
Even if born again medpot users did all of a sudden stop drinking half the beer in the country then driving and we could swallow the nonsense that the tiny med pot group actually had some significant role in the road toll, prior to law change, despite the relative low incidence of crashes as a function of vehicle miles, we’d have to be concerned their likely level of debility from the severe type of illness necessitating medicinal cannabis use would have mitigated against many from driving in the first place. Furthermore, that the probable advancing years of these patients would have been protective against having crashes.
It is under 25’s who are the main crashers, a survey reported by SAM in Traffic Injury Prevention, 2008, found that 17% among the under-25s drivers had active cannabis aboard with the chance of users causing crashes most raised at ages 14 to 24, so it’s their cohort where any safety benefits would be evident and that is needed to prove the medpot helps theory. But even if medpot users were utra youthful the literature makes clear that it is under 25s which would gain little benefit in risk reduction if they were the bulk of prospective med pot users and they had previously driven drunk but stopped, because this group is the one also suffering high crash risk when it’s under influence of cannabis.
The authors have not established that the decreases in the number of drinks consumed, especially among 20- through 29-year-olds aided road safety nor that it was due to availability of med pot, and many much more likely explanations present. The Economist J Williams has noted that decriminalization only increases cannabis use in males over 25 so it hardly seems likely medpot availability would reduce boozing by upping smoko’s in under 25’s.
The authors try to lull us into a false sense of security that might help bolster their unlikely theory as they say “neither simulator nor driving-course studies provide consistent evidence (of cannabis risk) but they fail to mention that such studies are trumped by real world epidemiological studies which leave no doubt as to raised risk for youth especially being a real phenomenon, one now accepted by consensus.
From the frying pan into the fat is the most likely scenario for this youth group given that most studies show no evidence of this age group substituting (as the study promotes) but rather of it being oblivious, dying from cannabis driving or dangerously “complementing” if given wider substance choice ie just cocktailing substances rather than switching preference. Country experiences clearly demonstrate that this group mixes incautiously and is at considerable risk from cannabis, whether used alone or mixed with other drugs eg in Christchurch N.Z. teens crash more often on cannabis than booze.
The authors blinkered reading of cannabis driving literature is shockingly out of date; they suggest the jury is still out on whether cannabis is a significant crash risk because drivers can compensate. That is a superseded paradigm and well groomed myth that has seized the public imagination, that any traffic safety expert worth their salt knows is garbage. They are on even thinner ground asserting that reduced general alcohol consumption (even if due to medpot) is the mechanism by which U.S. drink drive traffic fatalities are being reduced fast. The research, as noted above, does not support any strong linear consumption/crash connection – perhaps MADD and Police have been more active confronting impaired drivers including ones using cannabis?
Police power is impactful. Keeping up the trend of ignoring much evidence that counters their hypotheses, the authors ignore the experience in W.A. which decriminalised marijuana use several years ago, only adding random drug testing of drivers in late 2007. W.A. has fared worse in road safety death reduction per capita than the Australian States which have not decriminalised, some of which also drug test drivers and have reported a reduced prevalence of drug impaired driving.
It may be that a free market could tend more to enabling the mixing of cannabis, alcohol and other illicits with ill impact on road safety. Or that prohibition combined with random roadside drug testing is most deterrent because people fear that being apprehended for drug driving could result in pressure to inform on dealers or other compromising situations, hence users are motivated to drive safe by prohibitions big stick when capture for DUI is a prospect.
In July 2008 the 55th session Working Party on Road Traffic Safety (WP.1), UNECE resolved in response to a preponderance of evidence that Governments should enforce a complete programme, including roadside drug testing, to reduce the toll inflicted by driving under the influence of drugs. The authors of the “medpot can save the world” paper risk setting back the correct goal of changing safety terminology from drunk to the more inclusive impaired driving in trying to present one form of impairment as a desirable option to another.
Trust members regard the Times as grossly irresponsible in giving the half baked discussion paper creedance and by its moronic headlines leading the Public to believe it is a study backed by some form of scientific method. The Times can share in the blood on the authors’ hands, as many impaired drivers will take encouragement from the least robust paper Candor Trust has seen written about drug driving matters. It should realize that shadow funders like Billionaire George Soros will be sitting back having a laugh at the prostitution of media and scientific institutions, so often pawns in a rich mans chess set.