Drug Expert Weighs In on Safety of Alcohol Versus Marijuana

Drug Skilled Weighs In on Security of Alcohol Versus Marijuana

From left: Dougherty, Lopez, Simo and Hardie converse on the panel. (SunJae Smith/American Trucking Associations)

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MINNEAPOLIS — To drug professional Todd Simo, the assertion that the usage of marijuana is rather like alcohol, however safer, isn’t precisely correct.

OK, perhaps in a technique, sure, pot is safer: You can’t eat sufficient gummy bears laced with THC to die, says Simo, chief medical officer for HireRight.

THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the substance that makes customers excessive.

“However from a security perspective, marijuana has a for much longer interval of impairment, completely different from an occupational perspective than alcohol, and subsequently can have a a lot bigger impression on security,” Simo stated.

“Folks working into one another?” Certain, that occurs to alcohol abusers and pot customers. However most definitely it’s the pot customers who cease at inexperienced lights. When that occurs, there’s going to be an accident, Simo argues.

If a driver is tousled on grass, she or he is rapidly stopping on exit ramps, unable to spatially discriminate, and unable to make speedy decision-making, he added.

“Is that basically safer?” he requested.

Irrespective of which aspect you’re on within the alcohol vs. marijuana debate, one factor is obvious: The use — and acceptance — of marijuana is rising quick in america, in keeping with Simo and three different panelists who spoke at a current session of American Trucking Associations’ 2023 Security, Safety, Human Assets Nationwide Convention & Exhibition.

The opposite panelists had been Terri Dougherty, an editor with J.J. Keller & Associates; Tom Lopez, director of company security at FedEx Specific; and Holly Hardie, vp of human sources at Cardinal Logistics Administration Corp.

Whereas 21 states at the moment enable leisure use of pot, 36 states enable medical use of the Schedule I drug.

Federal legal guidelines for marijuana use haven’t but formally been taken off the books, however for the previous few years, the feds have chosen to not cost marijuana customers rising or utilizing pot in small portions, in keeping with the panel members.

It’s completely different for interstate truck drivers. Irrespective of the place they dwell or work, in the event that they fail a drug take a look at for marijuana, they lose their job, and may’t return till they efficiently full a return-to-work course of.

A 2021 survey by the Substance Abuse and Psychological Well being Providers Administration confirmed that 13% of People use marijuana — or 52 million individuals, in keeping with Dougherty. That’s greater than double the quantity logged in a 2002 SAMHSA survey.

“We proceed to check for marijuana,” FedEx Specific’ Lopez stated. “We have now 100% pre-employment testing and proceed to make use of a five-panel take a look at. We went via an extended course of with the corporate’s authorized workforce to find out which jobs are security delicate.”

Lopez added, “We do have an lodging course of if an applicant checks optimistic just for marijuana for potential nonsafety delicate jobs openings.”

“We needed to ramp up our ‘cheap suspicion’ coverage,” Hardie stated. “We had to verify the corporate’s supervisors knew the traits of drug use.”


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Whereas an alcohol consumer’s impairment might be measured by blowing right into a Breathalyzer, there are at the moment no methods to measure whether or not a marijuana consumer is impaired.

“Sadly we’re distant with the obtainable specimens now we have,” Simo stated. “The gold commonplace with impairment is blood. However what we’re seeing now with impairment research shouldn’t be associated to a blood stage. So blood is type of out.”

The Division of Transportation has stated that oral fluids can’t be used to measure if an individual is impaired with THC, Simo stated.

Researchers and builders in Germany and Austria are actually how briskly an individual’s pupil reacts. “That’s pretty much as good because it will get on this planet,” Simo added.

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