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The prevalence of drugged driving due to opioids

There have been numerous recent examples reported in the media of individuals who have been driving while under the influence of opioids. It is a trend that motorists in Tennessee and other states should be concerned about.

According to a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alcohol and marijuana are ranked first and second, respectively, as the drugs typically used by drugged drivers. However, the organization is keeping track of the instances in which drugged driving has involved the use of heroin and opioid drugs.

Responses to the 2014 National Survey of Drug Use and Health show that 10 million individuals who are 12 years of age or older have operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of illicit drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription medications and tranquilizers. In 2016, the National Highway Safety Administration reported that 20 percent of drivers in a 2014 survey received positive drug test results. A 2011 study that was cited by the agency indicated that drugged driving and drunk driving occurred with nearly the same frequency among college students.

The agency also posted a report on its website that described a 9.3-percent spike in traffic fatalities from January to September of 2015. The states that had the biggest increases included Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, places that have been battling drug overdoses. There were even bigger increases in the South and Pacific Northwest, areas that have also been trying to deal with a significant rise in methamphetamine and heroin abuse.

Individuals who are facing drunk driving charges or any other charges related to a DUI are at risk of being incarcerated. These individuals should protect their future by consulting a criminal law attorney who may work to determine if a client's rights were violated during any step of an arrest.

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