It is one of the fastest growing epidemics throughout the nation. The use of opioids has skyrocketed in the past decades. Although opioid medications are effective for treating chronic pain, they are also some of the most addictive substances available. Opiate addiction has become so widespread and mainstream, it affects everybody–including those on Utah’s roadways. While the high numbers of overdoses have been well documented, another scary statistic has been underpublicized. Researchers from Columbia University recently discovered the number of people involved in car accidents with opioids in their system has jumped from 1% in 1995 to 7% in 2015. Although 7% may not seem like a high percentage,the numbers are growing rapidly.
There are several different types of opiate medications. But according to the Columbia University study, 70 percent of drivers involved in car accidents who tested positive for opioids had oxycodone, morphine and codeine in their system. The study was based on drug testing conducted on 36,729 drivers in California, Illinois, West Virginia, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
The war on drugs is alive and well in Utah. While illegal drugs such as crystal meth, cocaine, heroin and marijuana continue to be an epidemic, the use of prescription painkillers has gotten much worse. Because these drugs are easily available through a doctor’s prescription, it is easy to get a false sense of security. Unfortunately, drugs such as oxycodone and codeine can be extremely dangerous when overused. Far too many people are getting behind the wheel while under the influence of opioids. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, opioids can become a deadly cocktail. It doesn’t just affect drivers, it also affects everyone else on the road.
Drug addiction and substance abuse has been around since humans have walked the earth. Fortunately, there is now greater awareness about opioid abuse. In 2015, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) expanded its mission statement to include drug impaired driving. The problem has become so widespread, it is estimated that nearly 92 million American adults used prescription opioids in 2015. To put it into proper perspective, that is more than the entire populations of California, Florida, New York and New Jersey combined. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established new guidelines for prescribing opioids to treat chronic pain. Among the suggestions is for primary care physicians to recommend physical therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy as alternatives for prescription medication. Recently, President Trump met with health leaders to discuss future solutions.
Car accidents never announce when they are going to happen. It can happen to even the safest drivers. But if you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident in Utah due to the negligence of others, it is vital to seek representation from an experienced and knowledgeable Salt Lake City car accident attorney with a track record for protecting the rights of each client and looking after their best interests. The legal team at the Christian Burridge Law Firm utilize an aggressive and comprehensive to help place car accident victims in the best position to succeed. To learn more, contact their Salt Lake City law office and schedule a consultation to discuss your case.