SOURCE: Hound Foundation

Hound Foundation

April 20, 2016 08:00 ET

The Hound Foundation Launches to Spread the Word About the Dangers of Driving Stoned

Nonprofit to Focus on Education and Research; Announces Pledge to Avoid Driving High

OAKLAND, CA--(Marketwired - Apr 20, 2016) - Nonprofit organization, the Hound Foundation (www.houndfoundation.org), launched today to help educate the public about the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving and to fund additional independent research on how marijuana use impacts driving. According to a recent study1, 75 percent of 11th and 12th graders polled mistakenly believe they drive better under the influence of marijuana, or that marijuana has no influence on their driving. Yet data shows that fatal collisions double2 with the use of marijuana, and may increase more than 20 times for people who combine marijuana with alcohol3.

"Teens and parents need to understand that marijuana absolutely impacts a person's driving ability in a negative way," said Bob McGrory, a lieutenant with a sheriff's office and a retired lieutenant with the California Highway Patrol (CHP). McGrory's son, a former CHP officer, was killed at the age of 28 by a driver who admitted to being stoned at the time of the accident. "We need increased education and awareness of this issue, especially when as many as 20 states have pot legalization measures on the ballot in the 2016 election."

Coinciding with 420, a day and time historically associated with smoking marijuana, the Hound Foundation will launch the "Sit or Get off the Pot: Don't Drive Stoned" campaign to encourage marijuana users to pledge to make good driving decisions and to avoid driving while under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, or any drug that impairs driving. Instead, participants commit to taking a cab, using a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or just staying put if they're high, drunk, or both.

"There's limited knowledge and awareness of the dangers of marijuana use and driving and some groups have even suggested that marijuana has no impact on driving," said Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs, Inc. and founder of the Hound Foundation. "This belief defies common sense. Marijuana is a mind-altering drug. As a society, do we want our pilots flying planes after smoking a joint? Or our surgeons eating a pot brownie before operating on a patient? Of course we don't -- for the very same reasons we don't want people under the influence of marijuana driving next to us on our local roads and busy freeways. As an ER physician and reserve deputy sheriff, I've witnessed the consequences of impaired driving. It's highly preventable."

Education about the dangers of driving stoned and the creation and enforcement of marijuana driving under the influence (DUI) laws haven't kept pace with the rapidly growing base of users. Fatal car crashes involving marijuana have tripled in the last decade4, while overall motor vehicle fatalities have been declining since 19735.

"We know that marijuana impairs driving, but we can't yet measure it the way we can measure alcohol. There isn't an equivalent to 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)," commented Jennifer Whitehill, Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "In the meantime, we should build on public health success with alcohol and try to move social norms to a place where 'friends don't let friends drive high.'"

Visit www.houndfoundation.org/pledge to take the "Sit or Get off the Pot" pledge and join the movement through a financial donation.

About the Hound Foundation
Founded in 2016 by Dr. Mike Lynn, an ER physician and reserve deputy sheriff, the Hound Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to champion the national dialogue on marijuana-impaired driving by funding new research on the impact of driving under the influence of marijuana. Working with young people, the Hound Foundation will also use social media and a variety of video, photographic, and musical assets to share the facts about driving stoned. For more information or to donate, please visit www.houndfoundation.org.

1 http://sadd.org/pdf/Teen_Driving-Summer_Press_Release-FINAL_040413.pdf and http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/04/25/teens-drunken-driving-impaired-survey/2106325/

2 Volkow, Nora D., et al., "Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use," The New England Journal of Medicine 370;23, June 5, 2014.

3 Columbia Magazine interview with Guohua Li, M.D., Dr. PH, professor of epidemiology and anesthesiology and director, Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, Columbia University, New York. Spring 2014.

4 Matt Schmitz and Chris Woodyard, "Marijuana playing larger role in fatal crashes," USA Today, June 9, 2014.

5 http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-releases-2-impaired-driving-studies-02-2015

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