Driving under the influence of any drug: alcohol, cannabis or any other substance, prescribed or not, which affects the brain, the conscious mind, is a serious offense. It's an offense to all the other drivers on the road, even to one's other best self. There are lots of collisions with one driver hitting a tree, lightpole, a fence or a building. When driving a powerful automobile it's essential, to be alert, focused, totally aware of what's going on around you.

Some months ago I wrote about the dangers of marijuana after reading about a speech made by journalist Alex Berenson. His wife is a senior psychiatrist at a hospital for the criminally insane in upper New York. She told him about patients who were in the institution as a result of the use of cannabis- also known as marijuana. His curiosity aroused, he did extensive research, which led to writing his book: "Tell Your Children: The Truth About Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence."

Sometimes the more "macho" a man and foolish a woman is, the more deluded they can be about their abilities to drive after drinking to excess, smoking cannabis or using other drugs. It's just not true.

Jobs are lost, families broken. In addition to the high a person on a substance also experiences accompanying lows as sights and sounds around that person are not registering in the consciousness and muscle reflexes are slowed. Over indulgence especially in a young person, is hazardous to himself and all the others on the road.

Statistics, in addition to the in-depth studies of highly educated researchers, have proven the dreadful consequences of using marijuana. It leads the way to even more habit forming, more dangerous drugs⎯as does alcohol. The fact that it is now a legal drug, puts those consequences clearly upon the user.

When I was an instructor in the reading and writing labs for the San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, there was one special paper students read about tobacco, which called cigarettes an easy way to commit suicide. It is mind-affecting drugs of any kind that hasten the end of life. They may seem to be an immediate escape from an intolerable reality, a hurtful circumstance, emotional upset (which is to say a physical pain since emotions are a physical response in the body.) Not only a danger to oneself, those substances are a dangerous way to try to cope with life's downers.

There are better ways: seek the counsel of a trusted clergy person, minister, priest or rabbi, a sensitive, caring parent, the psychologist at school, even a friend. Feelings are transient, not lasting. They change sometimes quickly. It's possible to endure and choose the better ways to live well. To make the more difficult choice is perhaps the easier choice in the long run. We have choices to make all day long, every day. Make yours wisely.

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