Call to Action Drug-impaired Driving Campaign

Ventura County Behavioral Health


As part of a new effort to support personal and public safety, the Ventura County Behavioral Health Department aims to reduce DUIs due to marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter drugs using a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

Ventura County Behavioral Health Department announces enhanced collaboration with the California Office of Traffic Safety through a new grant aimed at preventing drug-impaired driving. Behavioral Health’s new “Call to Action” grant for 2015/16 is a continuation of its effort to reduce DUIs due to marijuana, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs by using targeted messaging and outreach efforts. Developed with local data that show an increasing trend in drug-impaired driving, Ventura County Behavioral Health is collaborating with other County agencies, prevention advocates, and the Office of Traffic Safety to build upon the momentum gained in the previous “Risks and Realities Campaign” 2014/15 grant.

“I am excited to continue our drug-impaired driving prevention efforts because we want to see this drug-impaired driving trend end. From 2009 to 2014  respondents to our surveys have shown a consistent increase in the use of drugs when driving,” said Patrick Zarate, Division Manager for Ventura County’s Drug and Alcohol Programs. “We are excited about continuing our efforts and the ability to reach a wider audience than ever before.”

Following the success of the WEEDUI Drugged Driving Summit held on September 17, 2015, the “Call to Action” grant is designed to empower everyone to start conversations about drug impaired driving. Driving impaired by drugs is just as deadly and dangerous as drinking and driving. In fact, local data suggests that the combination of both alcohol and drugs is particularly dangerous; surveys of DUI offenders confirm drugs and alcohol combinations double the chance of crashing when compared to only alcohol.

“Our goal is to inform the community about this growing issue and support safe and legal driving. A few seconds could mean the difference between life and death, so take a minute to talk with your doctor and pharmacist about your medications to see if they could impair your ability to drive,” said David Tovar, the grant’s manager. “Now is the time to start conversations about these issues, with changing laws in California and around the nation, there can be confusion about what is legal. We are standing firm – if you drive high, you can get a WEEDUI."

Ventura County’s 2014 Place of Last Drink Survey found that respondents who indicated using drugs other than alcohol on the day of their arrest were using prescription drugs and marijuana nearly 50% of the time. These findings underscore the need to change the perception in Ventura County when it comes to the use of drugs and driving.

Drug-impaired driving is on the rise in California and around the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drugs are involved in about 18% of vehicle accident deaths. A recent National Highway Traffic Administration study found that approximately one in eight weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illicit drugs.

Locally, in Ventura County, using collision data reported by Ventura County DUI Program, participants who indicated drug use on the day of their DUI arrest, 28% reported being involved in a collision in 2012, and 27% in 2013. The most recent Place of Last Drink Survey (POLD) data collected shows that fully 11% of the survey respondents reported using drugs other than alcohol on the day of their DUI arrest. Ventura County recognizes that marijuana, illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs, are dangerous intoxicants and strategically utilizes local data to guide drug-impaired driving prevention efforts. With these alarming facts Ventura County has chosen to take a stand to help change the social perceptions of driving under the influence of drugs.

"This marks a great extension of our ongoing prevention efforts," said Patrick Zarate, Division Manager for Ventura County's Alcohol and Drug Programs. "Driving under the influence of any substance, whether it's alcohol, pot or prescription drugs, is a significant personal and public safety risk, and receiving this funding will allow us to further educate the public about these dangers."

"It's a sad truth - many people don't realize that having a doctor's note to use a drug, doesn't mean you can safely drive after using," said Dan Hicks, Prevention Services Manager, "We aim to change local perceptions of risk and let people know that they're still looking at a criminal record and thousands of dollars in costs if convicted, not to mention the tragic crashes and other consequences that can result."


Billboard Campaign

> See the campaigns in Spanish
TAGS: Youth, Parents, College, Holiday DUI Enforcement
> Download Media Release: Crashed Car Trailer Now Sends Drugged Driving Prevention Message, December 31, 2015
> Download Media Release: Celebrate the Coming Year with Friends, Not in a Jail Cell, December 31, 2015
> Download Media Release: County Encourages Safe and Sober Driving over the Holidays, December 23, 2015
> Download Media Release: Okay to Drive? Your Prescription Medication and Driving, December 9, 2015
> Download Media Release: Ventura County Ramps up against Drug-impaired Driving, October 5, 2015
> Download Media Release: Calling Ventura County to Action, September 28, 2015
> Download Media Release: WEEDUI Drugged Driving Summit, September 14, 2015
> Download Media Release: WEEDUI, Marijuana and Driving Under the Influence, April 21, 2015
> Download Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do, GHSA
> DUI Checkpoint Brochure
> E-Newsletter November 2015
> Drugged-driving prevention spotlights prescription pills, pot, December 30, 2015, Ventura County Star
> WEEDUI Ventura County Drugged Driving Summit
> County behavioral health launches campaign aimed at reducing drugged driving arrests, April 21, 2015, Ventura County Star
Comments? • © 2017, All rights reserved.
Design:: Idea Engineering