By now almost everyone is familiar with the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Though driving intoxicated was once a very common thing in America, it has become socially unacceptable in many circles, and is legally unacceptable across the country. People have grown accustomed to using taxis, Ubers, and other public transportation when drinking, and have learned to take away a friend’s keys if necessary.
As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage much of the country, people have become familiar with the risks of accidental Fentanyl overdose, along with many of the other ways that opioid addiction results in early death. But one often overlooked factor is the increased number of deadly car accidents attributed to driving under the influence of these pharmaceuticals.
Because opioids stay in the system longer than alcohol, determining the level of impairment caused by these dangerous drugs is more difficult. It is well-established that opioids carry a risk of fatigue and delayed reaction time, both major risk factors for automobile accidents. Individuals with legal prescriptions for these drugs are advised not to drive when under the influence. With the number of people abusing the drug, there are likely thousands of drivers on the road at any given time under the effects of opioids.
Another risk factor for those abusing opioids is the interaction between these drugs and alcohol. Even a single drink can dangerously impair a person for hours if they are also taking other drugs. People abusing one substance rarely have the wherewithal to understand the dangers of mixing. And there is no breathalyzer for opioids as there is with alcohol.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, and you suspect the other driver was impaired, you will need the help of an experienced attorney to pursue your case. Determining what drugs the person has access to is often only the first step in making your case.