Page 7 - April 12, 2023
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{ 6 }  SNJ Today  |  APRIL 12, 2023                                                                                 APRIL 12, 2023  |  SNJToday.com  { 7 }

                                                                                    AMI AtlantiCare in Hammonton:

     annual fatal motor vehicle crash report.   Experts say exploring a link between
     The sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman   marijuana use and car crashes may not be   Fighting Lung Cancer Together
     Kevin Rooney, said it’s important to   easy.
     quantify cannabis-related car crashes to   “Studies looking for a direct causal   Screening | Diagnosis | Treatment | Supportive and Recovery Care
     see if recreational marijuana is contrib-  link between marijuana use and crash
     uting to more deadly encounters on our   risk have been inconclusive,” said    Lung cancer causes more than 4,000 deaths per year in New Jersey —
     roadways.                            Charles Farmer, lead researcher with the   up to 90% of which are attributable to smoking.  For that reason,
                                                                                                                             *
        “In order to fully understand whether   Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.   AMI AtlantiCare is urging long-time smokers who meet certain criteria
     or not it really is a major concern in New   “Unlike alcohol, there is no good objective   to get screened for lung cancer. The screening is done via low-dose
     Jersey, we need to work alongside the   measure of just how impaired a marijuana   CT scan and is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans.
     state police and our local police depart-  user has become. Until we can accurately
     ments and find out if they’re experi-  measure marijuana impairment, we won’t
     encing these types of crashes,” Rooney   be able to link it to crash risk.”    Current Screening Guidelines for Lung Cancer
     (R-Bergen) said in an interview.       Alcohol intoxication can be easier to   If all of the following apply to you, it’s time to get screened. **
        Drivers under the influence were   spot and test for just after a crash, and it   • You’re between the ages of 50 and 80.
     the leading cause of fatal traffic crashes   lasts for a few hours in someone’s system,
     in the state in 2021, according to the   while cannabis impairment is harder to   • You don’t have signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
     annual report released in January, mark-  measure. It can stay in a person’s system   •  You’ve smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day
     ing the third year in a row car crashes   for more than a month, depending on   for 20 years.
     were up compared to the previous year.   the person’s usage, and impairment can   •  You currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.
     Intoxication, including drugs and alco-  manifest differently.
     hol, was the top contributing factor in   Drug recognition experts — police    Visit www.amiatlanticare.com or call 609-878-XRAY (9729)
     more than 200 fatal car crashes in 2021,   officers with special training to rec-
     a 30 percent increase from 2020, the   ognize intoxication — can determine     to learn more or schedule a lung cancer screening.
     report says.                         whether someone is under the influence
        In August, prosecutors said a Toms   of marijuana, and their testimony can be
     River woman was under the influence of   accepted in court. But there aren’t many.
     cannabis when her car was involved in a   In 2022, fewer than 6 percent of police
     four-car crash that left two people dead.  officers were certified drug recognition
        Marijuana has been available for adult   experts, according to the Asbury Park
     use for just under a year, so it’s hard   Press.
     to know its impact on deadly crashes,   Rooney said there needs to be more
     Rooney noted. But if there’s an issue, it   of these experts accessible to state and
     should be known so the Legislature can   local police so they can properly deter-  219 North White Horse Pike
     take action, Rooney said.            mine whether or not a crash was fueled    Hammonton Health Park
        “We can look at the data and deter-  by marijuana impairment. He said he
     mine whether or not we should change   expects that in the near future, there will   517 Route 72 West
     some of the laws or should there be more   be breakthroughs in ways to test for mar-  Manahawkin Health Park
     restrictions,” he said. “I don’t know the   ijuana impairment, like a breathalyzer
     answer to that question yet. We need   test used for alcohol.                  *  According to the NJ Department of Health
     to know whether there’s an increase or   He added that there needs to be more   **  You will need a prescription from your
     not.”                                general education about the dangers of     primary care provider
        This has been an issue in other states   using marijuana and driving under the
     that have legalized marijuana for adults.   influence. Rooney abstained from voting
     From 2013 to 2017, fatal crashes involving   on the bill that set up New Jersey’s rec-
     drivers who tested positive for marijuana   reational marijuana market.
     doubled in Colorado, where recreational   “With a stroke of a pen, something
     sales began in 2014, according to the   that was bad the day prior became OK
     Denver Post.                         the day after,” he said. “I don’t think we
        And a 2022 report published by    did enough educating, and from that
     Rutgers University found that five states   point, putting out more information to
     that legalized recreational marijuana saw   the public.”
     an increase in traffic accidents and deadly   The Cannabis Regulatory Committee
     crashes. While Colorado had the biggest   did not respond to a request for comment.
     jump, fatal crashes decreased in Nevada   A Senate companion bill to Rooney’s
     by nearly 10 percent.                measure has been introduced. n
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