Tackling drink and drug-driving – Adrian Galea
The annual festive season has a tendency of raising the level of awareness about the perils of drink-driving. In his interview on TVM, George Grech (who faces the extent and reality of drug abuse on a daily basis) reminds us that drug-driving is, on top of drink-driving, another phenomenon to be reckoned with.
Although the association I represent does not have access to any statistics about the extent of the problem, Grech’s affirmations and those of others who regularly contribute opinions to the public domain, certainly point at a situation which is close to critical and requires immediate attention.
Alcohol impairs the ability to drive and once alcohol enters the bloodstream, this inability will vary from one individual to another. Alcohol may impact concentration levels, reaction times, coordination abilities and reduce concentration and judgment capabilities.
Drugs, which include strong prescription drugs (where driving and/or operating heavy machinery is not recommended) will also impair the ability to drive, even if very low doses are taken.
From research conducted, ‘depressant’ drugs (cannabis, heroin, benzodiazepines) tend to slow down the activity of the nervous system – hence slower reaction times, reduced concentration etc. On the other hand, ‘stimulant drugs’ (amphetamines, cocaine and ecstasy) do the exact opposite – they tend to rev up the activity of the central nervous system, which may give rise to erratic, aggressive and dangerous driving.
Finally, ‘hallucinogenic’ drugs (ketamine, LSD etc) distort a person’s perception of reality, may induce blurred vision, reduce concentration and ….
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As reported on the Times of Malta, Saturday, January 12, 2019, by Mr