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Opioid use and intoxicated driving crashes a growing problem

Researchers have revealed new statistics that show how dangerous opioid use is when it's combined with driving. Since 1995, the number of drivers killed while using prescription opioid drugs has increased by seven times. The Columbia University study looked at drug test results for nearly 37,000 drivers to reveal these statistics.

Usually, when we think of the current opioid epidemic that is plaguing the United States, we consider the overdose deaths. However, the dangerous use and abuse of opioid drugs can also cause car accident deaths. The worst part about this is that these deaths include innocent people who were following traffic laws and completely sober.

The most common opioids involved in fatal accidents are morphine, codeine and oxycodone. Among the drivers who tested positive for having opioids in their systems, 70 percent had been taking other drugs and 30 percent had noteworthy amounts of alcohol in their systems.

One problem contributing to the many drivers found with opioids in their systems is the widespread prescription of opioids by doctors. Many patients do not realize that it's dangerous to drive and engage in other kinds of activities while they're taking these powerful and intoxicating pain medications. Also, many patients may not realize that it's against the law to drive while intoxicated by these drugs.

When a drugged driver injures a Virginia resident, the drugged river could be held liable in court to pay for the injured party's damages and injuries. If the injured plaintiff successfully navigates his or her personal injury claims in this regard, compensation may include money to pay for medical care, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages.

Source: USA Today, "Proportion of drivers killed while under influence of opioids shows huge spike," Sara Toy, Aug. 03, 2017

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