The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on drugs and highway safety (December 2022) showing data from seven level-one trauma centers and four medical centers around the country. Of 7,279 road users tested, 20% of drivers had blood alcohol levels of .08% or higher, exceeding the legal limit in every state. However, they also found that 20% of those tested were positive for two or more drugs, so alcohol was only part of the problem. The studies also found that over 50% of injured pedestrians and just over 43% of injured bicyclists had a drug in their bloodstreams.
In addition to recreational drugs making highways unsafe for all of us, new studies released by the American Lung Association show the effect of long-term marijuana smoking. Data gathered at Ottawa Hospital in Canada show that 93% of older marijuana smokers had developed emphysema. That is higher than the rate in cigarette smokers, which was 67%. However, the data on non-smokers that have come out over the years suggests that emphysema is not a significant concern unless a person is around second-hand smoke.
Addiction to recreational drugs, including alcohol, is not just a problem for the users. Last week, here in Niles, Michigan, a friend was driving on Main Street with her child in a car seat. A person pulled out of the local marijuana distribution shop without looking, hitting, and totaling my friend’s car. I was putting groceries in my car at the local supermarket when a guy drove into the parking lot at high speed, doing wheelies and forcing me and several others to run into the grocery store to avoid being hit. The policeman later told me the driver had just come from the marijuana store and was using the drug as he drove.
This issue goes beyond drugs and highway safety. The further our society goes away from God, the more pain, suffering, disease, and abuse we can expect to see. Christians know that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and we should take care of them. Therefore, bringing the gospel of Christ to our society is not just a spiritual issue. It is also a clear road to a better and safer life for all of us.
— John N. Clayton © 2022