Stuff co.nz 30 May 2015
More than a third of cannabis smokers have admitted driving while high, sparking calls for random roadside saliva testing.
A report surveying cannabis consumption, published by the Ministry of Health, shows about one in 10 Kiwis say they have smoked marijuana in the past year. Of these, 37 per cent admitted driving stoned .
Men were most likely to drive high, with half of those between 35 and 44 reporting getting behind the wheel after a smoke.
The results come as the Government considers tougher enforcement of drug-driving laws, including introducing saliva testing, which is used in some Australian states.
Police have been testing for drug-driving since law changes in 2009, but critics say drivers need to be “off their face” before they are picked up.
Only a few hundred drug-driving “impairment” tests are carried out each year, compared with about three million alcohol breath tests. The drug tests consist of physical checks such as pupil dilution and balance.
Automobile Association spokesman Dylan Thomsen said drugs, particularly cannabis, were a “silent killer” on the roads but “hardly anything” was being done to tackle the problem.
“There are a lot more crashes involving cannabis that we realise.”
42 per of adults have smoked cannabis, 11 per cent in the past year and about 4 per cent at least once a week.
36 per cent of those people have driven while high in the past year
42 per cent said they smoked for “medicinal purposes”
2 per cent had experienced legal hassles linked to their habit
8 per cent said cannabis had negatively affected their mental health
6 per cent said cannabis had negatively affected their work, study or employment opportunities.
Source: The New Zealand Health Survey, Cannabis Use 2012-13