PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
333 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

11/15/2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM;111517B
Subject:
Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Receives Grant for Drug Impaired Driving Prevention
Contact:
Morgan Venter
Marijuana Education Program
Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
562.570.4204
Morgan.Venter@longbeach.gov




The City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a $239,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), that for the period of one year will fund the City’s special projects and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries. These projects will be implemented through the City’s new Marijuana Education Program.

The Marijuana Education Program serves those who live, work and play in Long Beach by seeking to be an unbiased and trusted resource for health and safety information related to marijuana, and by ensuring that everyone can make informed decisions about marijuana use. Program activities will include: participation in outreach events, distributing educational materials, online presence and social media campaigns, and partnering with local businesses to reach target audiences. The program will be a resource for youth and their parents, current users, and curious adults.

“We are happy to receive this OTS grant, and look forward to fueling the City’s ongoing efforts to keep pedestrians safe on our roadways and improve quality of life through education,” said Mayor Robert Garcia.

According to the 2013-2014 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Roadside Survey, 22.5 percent of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs that could cause driving impairment. More than 15 percent tested positive for illicit drugs, and more than 12 percent tested positive for the active drug in cannabis, THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a 4 percent increase from the 2007 survey.

“People are aware they should not drive drunk but many are unaware that it is also unsafe and illegal to drive high on marijuana and other drugs,” said Kelly Colopy, Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Director. “With the shifts in marijuana policy in our City and state, we intend to do everything we can to prevent high driving and reduce the number of people injured or killed in drug-involved collisions.” 

“Drug-impaired driving and the crashes that result are rapidly growing problems,” said Rhonda Craft, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “The rise in crashes where prescription medications or marijuana are involved is serious and alarming. The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, is working to make the streets of Long Beach safe for all users.”

Long Beach is a leader in promoting active transportation and livability initiatives. In May 2016, Long Beach City Council adopted the goal of Vision Zero: to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries among all road users by 2026. The Marijuana Education Program, funded by the OTS grant, will be a key contributor to the realization of this goal.

Currently, the Marijuana Education Program is conducting a survey to better understand behaviors and perceptions of marijuana and prescription drugs. The community is encouraged to take the survey by going to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/CPDULB

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information, contact Morgan Venter by calling 562.570.4204, sending an email to Morgan.Venter@longbeach.gov, or visiting: http://www.longbeach.gov/health/services/directory2/marijuana-education-program/. Follow the Marijuana Education Program on Facebook at @LBHealthDeptMEP.

About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services

The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health & Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, allowing for better engagement with its people, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and a greater understanding of the city's strengths and needs. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.