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Substance Abuse Centers Say Evidence Shows More Coloradans Are Driving Stoned

DENVER (CBS4) - It's been almost seven months since stores in Colorado began selling legal pot, and one substance abuse treatment center says it is seeing a growing number of people who have been arrested for being high and driving since then.

Art Schut, CEO of the Arapahoe House, told CBS4 marijuana abusers used to be a small percentage of his patients. Now he says they are a noticeable part of the program.

He says with marijuana legal, users need to take a harder stance on what they do after they have consumed the drug.

"There's this perception that I've used a little bit so it's okay. And, just in general, if you're a driver you shouldn't use anything," he said.

The Arapahoe House has three centers in the Denver metro area. Schut says they looked at their intake data and found that by this time in 2013 112 people were admitted to his detox facility after DUIs involving marijuana. He has seen 197 people so far this year for the same issue.

Schut says receiving a driving under the influence citation for a marijuana user is "cause for concern that a substance use problem is emerging."

Officials with the Colorado State Patrol so far haven't said if they have seen a noticeable spike in marijuana abuse among Colorado drivers. On the roads and at DUI checkpoints, though, intoxicated drivers are learning that law enforcement was ready before pot was made legal. State troopers say stoned drivers fail the same test as drunk drivers.

"It's looking at the person, asking them questions and how they react ... seeing what kind of stimuli they're on and how they react," Trooper Josh Lewis said.

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