If you head to the theater tonight to catch the opening of the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker be on the lookout for a Star Wars themed 30 second “Most Steer Clear” Public Service Announcement. In it, a young woman uses “the force” to pull keys away from a friend who attempts to drive impaired. “We know a lot of young adults will be headed to the movies this winter break and we hope they come away knowing that most (89%) young adults DON’T drive after using marijuana,” says Mike Graham-Squire, Community Health Manager at Neighborhood House, one of the groups who helped develop the ad. “Marijuana impairs driving and combining alcohol and marijuana impairs driving even more. We hope this message hits home with young adults and that they keep themselves and their friends safe.
Shelly Baldwin a spokesperson from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, who helped fund the Most Steer Clear media campaign says, “We’ve seen an increase in the number of traffic deaths where the drivers involved were under the influence of two or more substances, or poly-drugs, usually cannabis and alcohol. The good news is most people in Washington believe driving impaired is unsafe and unacceptable.” According to a recent study by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission nine percent of Washingtonians report driving after marijuana and alcohol use. These people were also most likely to believe, mistakenly, that using cannabis after drinking helps sober them up.
“This mistaken belief is playing out with deadly consequences on our roadways,” said Baldwin. “The fact is using marijuana after drinking alcohol increases crash risk. While some people surveyed felt that using marijuana after drinking calms them, this feeling of calmness should not be interpreted as a sign they are safe to drive.”
The good news, says Mike Graham-Squire is that, “Most, 70%, of young adults in King County either do not use marijuana at all or use less than once per month. The myth that ‘everyone is doing it’ really isn’t true. Most are not using, and most steer clear if they do use. We hope our Most Steer Clear campaign will help all our young adults make healthy choices.”
The ad will run through January 9 at most major theaters in King County as well as on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The organizers estimate it will reach over 250,000 people. It can be viewed at www.facebook.com/moststeerclear and more information can be found at www.MostSteerClear.org and #moststeerclear. Follow the campaign @moststeerclear on Twitter and Instagram.
The Most Steer Clear campaign was developed by Neighborhood House and the SE Seattle P.E.A.C.E. Coalition along with other King County drug and alcohol prevention coalitions including: Mercer Island Healthy Youth Initiative, SW Seattle Youth Alliance, The Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse, Healthy Youth Central Area Network, Prevention WINS Coalition, The White Center North Highline Coalition for Drug Free Youth and the Auburn Prevention Coalition. The campaign was paid for by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, King County Department of Community and Human Services, and the Washington State Health Care Authority.