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Auto Accidents

Drugged Driving: The Danger of Opioids

August 11, 2014 | Michael Barasch

Drugged driving continues to cause injury and fatality in New York and across the United States.

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, more than 10 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in 2012. Increasingly, drugged drivers are using opioid and prescription medication in addition to so-called recreational drugs such as alcohol and marijuana.

Recently, Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) addressed opioid use and abuse in this country. Ms. Hamburg noted more than 16,000 people die each year from opioid overdose. That number does not reflect those killed by drug-impaired motorists.

In many fatal accidents, alcohol and drugs are present in the bloodstream of the at-fault driver. Statistically men and young adults are more likely to drive drunk or drugged. Alcohol and opioid narcotics are sedatives. Their physical effects on a motorist include the following:

  • Increased reaction time
  • Loss of spatial awareness
  • Decline in motor and visual coordination
  • Loss of decision-making ability

Our firm represents clients injured or killed by motorists who drive impaired. Driving drugged is driving impaired — regardless of whether it is a lawfully prescribed drug. Opioid overdose and drugged driving is a serious problem in New York. The recent acquittal of Kerry Kennedy on charges of drugged driving highlights the danger posed by some prescription medications.

When you drive, be sure you are not under the influence. If injured by an impaired driver in New York, talk to a skilled personal injury attorney in the city.

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