Driving Under the Influence: FAQs
Q. How long do the effects of marijuana last?
Although the typical user feels the effects for about 2 to 3 hours, studies indicate that the user may be impaired long after the euphoric feelings have ceased.
Q. What are the long-term effects of using marijuana?
Marijuana has been observed to produce sharp personality changes, especially in adolescents. It can create paranoia and possible psychosis.
Other long-term effects: Lung damage, chronic bronchitis, lowering of testosterone levels, possible birth defects, stillbirths and infant deaths, acute anxiety attacks and chronic reduction of attention span.
Research indicates that physical dependence can occur with chronic use, and that withdrawal is similar to alcohol dependence withdrawal.
Q. Because drugs only effect those who use them, and I don't use drugs, why should I be concerned?
A recent study of inmates in state prisons conducted by the Bureau of Justice indicated that:
- About 49% of the inmates reported being under the influence of drugs or drugs and alcohol while committing the offense for which they were incarcerated.
- 17% of the inmates reported committing the offense to get money to buy drugs.
A study of fatally injured drivers found that nearly 20% had drugs or drugs and alcohol in their system at the time of the crash.
Q. What can I do to sober up?
There is nothing you can do to speed up the process - it just takes time. The body metabolizes alcohol at a rate of about .015% per hour. Drinking coffee won't help; a cold shower won't help, nor will exercise.
Q. What will get me drunk the fastest, beer, wine or distilled spirits?
A 12-oz. beer, a 4-oz. glass of wine, and 1 1/4 oz. of an 80-proof distilled beverage all have about the same alcohol content. Each drink will raise your blood alcohol level .02%.
Q. If a man and woman have the same amount to drink, why does the woman get drunk faster?
It comes down to the way men's and women's bodies naturally differ. Pound-for-pound, the average man has more muscle and less fatty tissue than the average woman. Muscle is mostly water and water has a chemical affinity for alcohol, i.e., water "absorbs" alcohol. Fatty tissue, on the other hand, contains less water than muscle.
So, when an "average" man and woman take a drink containing alcohol:
A man's body (having more water-bearing muscle) has more tissue to absorb the alcohol, which leaves less alcohol available to travel through the bloodstream to the brain.
A woman's body, having less muscle and more fatty tissue, has less water-bearing tissue to absorb the alcohol, leaving more of it to affect the brain and its functions.