Connecticut hosts first ever summit on drugged driving - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Connecticut hosts first ever summit on drugged driving

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According to Vernon police, illegal drugs played a role in this crash in July (WFSB) According to Vernon police, illegal drugs played a role in this crash in July (WFSB)
Gov. Dannel Malloy addresses law enforcement and other officials at a 'drugged driving' summit. (WFSB photo) Gov. Dannel Malloy addresses law enforcement and other officials at a 'drugged driving' summit. (WFSB photo)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

It looks like more drivers have a new and unsettling reason to be careful when behind the wheel. As a result, the state held a first-of-its kind meeting to tackle the issue.

According to a AAA poll, more drivers in Connecticut are concerned about drivers who are under the influence of illegal drugs rather than alcohol. Seventy-two percent said those driving while on illegal drugs pose a serious threat to their safety. Only 42 percent felt those driving using marijuana posed a serious threat to their personal safety.

AAA held the first Drugged Driving Summit at Goodwin College in East Hartford on Tuesday morning. More than 100 members of law enforcement, lawmakers and public health officials were on hand to discuss what they call a growing threat to personal safety.

“A lot of people are of the mindset that they feel they're in control and they're really not,” Trooper First Class Donald Comstock said. 

Gov. Dannel Malloy was on hand as well. The governor said drugged driving was out of control in Connecticut, but state leaders were investing in programs to address it including family intervention and support programs.

“It's out of hand,” Malloy said. 

Mental health and supportive treatment are two strategies Malloy said the state is using to counteract the trend of drugged driving in addition to a recently expanded family intervention program.

AAA said that a deadly crash in October that took the life of a 46-year-old man emphasizes the need for quick action. According to police, the woman responsible for that incident was under the influence of heroin and cocaine.

AAA believes the road ahead has some challenges like developing a way to measure the influence of drugs while driving. There is no test yet similar to the Blood Alcohol Content test.

Officials are also concerned about how the legalization of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts could contribute to the issue.

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