Young drivers? drugs problem


FORGET community concerns about young people getting behind the wheel after they've been drinking alcohol, it appears there is a new influence affecting drivers today ? illicit drugs.

According to new research by general insurer AAMI, one in four Australian men under 25 admit to driving under the influence of recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, speed or ecstasy.

The director of the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Professor Nick Crofts, said mixing marijunana and alcohol in particular was a lethal combination.

"If you are smoking dope, drinking alcohol, and then getting into a car you become, effectively, an accident waiting to happen," Prof. Crofts said.

Visiting Coffs Harbour yesterday, AAMI spokesperson John Crommie said young men were three times more likely to drive under the influence of drugs than women.

"It is of real concern that driving while impaired by the use of drugs is so widespread, particularly among young men," Mr Crommie said.

He said that most people on the Mid North Coast supported random drug testing of drivers.

"Our research shows support is high for ran- dom drug testing among those aged 18 to 24 years."

Mr Crommie said other findings from the research Australia-wide indicated that most people were not concerned about drug-driving, with twice as many young drivers as older drivers believing driving after taking drugs was safer than driving after drinking.

The research also showed that 73 per cent of the 1880 people surveyed think young drivers are too impatient and drive too fast.

n What do you think? Send your letters to the Coffs Coast Advocate email editor@coffscoastadvo-

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