Prevalence of Use of Other Drugs by Drivers in the US, 2013
"The 2013–2014 study examined the use of drugs, focusing on drugs with the potential to impair driving skills, including over-the-counter, prescription, and illegal drugs. Participants were asked to provide an oral fluid and blood sample in addition to a breath sample. The oral fluid and blood samples were tested for the presence of a large number of potentially impairing drugs including cannabinoids, stimulants, sedatives, antidepressants, and narcotic analgesics. Not all drivers provided both an oral fluid and blood sample; some drivers provided just one sample but many provided both.
"The reader is cautioned that drug presence does not necessarily imply impairment. For many drug substances, drug presence can be detected after impairment that might affect driving has passed. For example, traces of marijuana use can be detected in blood samples several weeks after heavy chronic users stop ingestion. In this study, for marijuana, we tested only for THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana, and 11-OH-THC, its active metabolite. When marijuana is smoked or ingested, THC is absorbed into the blood stream and is distributed into areas of the body, including the brain. There are over 100 marijuana metabolites detectable in blood that research has not associated with the psychoactive effects of marijuana use. Whereas the impairment effects for various concentration levels of alcohol in the blood or breath are well understood, there is little evidence available to link concentrations of other drugs to driver performance."
Berning, A., Compton, R., & Wochinger, K. (2015, February). Results of the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers. (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 118). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.