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Opioid crisis having impact on road safety

The opioid crisis that has gripped our nation for the better part of the last decade rages on, and there doesn't seem to be any significant movement or plan to fix the problems. While there are two specific effects that most people think of when they consider the opioid crisis -- i.e. overdose deaths and declining health -- there is mounting evidence that the opioid crisis has many other effects on society.

One of these effects is car accidents, as a recent study has found a dramatic increase in the number of people who have tested positive for opioids in car accidents. Consider, first of all, that roughly 100 million people allegedly took opioids in some form in 2015. And now consider that Columbia University researchers looked at 37,000 drivers from many states all across the country over a two decade span. How do you think the opioid numbers looked in this car accident study?

What researchers found is that from 1995 to 1999, just under one percent of men who died in car accidents were found to have opioids in their system. The rate was the same for women: about one percent. But when you look at the same metric for 2010 to 2015, the numbers spike. About 5 percent of men who died in car accidents during the more recent time period tested positive for opioids and 7 percent of women tested positive for opioids.

Drug use behind the wheel of a vehicle is not okay, as it can lead to intoxication and, ultimately, car accidents. This is negligence, plain and simple.

Source: The Drive, "Prescription Opioid-Related Fatal Car Crashes Spike in U.S., Study Says," Kyle Cheromcha, July 31, 2017

 

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