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About One-Third of Recent High School Grads Have Ridden With Impaired Driver

Roughly a third of recent high school graduates have ridden in a motor vehicle with a substance-impaired driver, according to national study results announced Monday.

During the first two years after high school graduation, 23 percent of young adults had ridden with a marijuana-impaired driver at least once, while 20 percent had ridden with an alcohol-impaired driver, and 6 percent had ridden with a driver impaired by glue or solvents or harder, illicit drugs, such as amphetamines, opioids, cocaine, the study found.

Data from a seven-year study of more than 2,700 U.S. adolescents starting at grade 10 was analyzed.

Riding with an impaired driver in the past was linked to a higher risk of driving while impaired and of riding with an impaired driver in the future, the researchers found.

Living alone and not attending a four-year college also increased the risk for riding with an impaired driver.

For young adults in the study who attended a four-year college, living on campus increased their risk of riding with an impaired driver.

The authors called for enhancements to informational programs that educate young people on the risks of riding with impaired drivers.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Colorado State University; the Colorado School of Public Health, Denver; and Yale University. Their results appear in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

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