There has been a dramatic increase in the number of deaths caused due to driving under the influence of drugs, according to a new report by Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released last week. The study, an effort to examine how drugs increase the chance of accidents, also found that a majority of the fatally injured tested positive for marijuana, opioids or both in their system.
People are under the impression that marijuana or opioids cannot impair their ability to drive properly. However, what they fail to realize is that drugs affect the cognitive functioning in a big way and can impede one’s ability to think straight. Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the GHSA, said the myth that marijuana or opioids do not impair one’s ability to drive needs to be busted to show that ‘impairment is impairment’ regardless of the substance abused.
Titled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States,” the report also stated that while there has been a steep rise in the number of fatally injured drivers testing positive for drugs, there has been a decrease in the percentage of drivers killed in crash due to alcohol-related issues. For instance, compared to 41 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2006, 38 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol in 2016. However, compared to 28 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2006, almost 44 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs in 2016. The report also found a mix of narcotic substances in the system of fatally injured drivers, with 49 percent alcohol-impaired drivers testing positive for drugs too.
GHSA Report: Limitations and recommendations!
One of the reasons behind an increase in the number of drug-related impaired road accidents is that there is no nationally accepted method for testing the drivers for drug-impairment, number of drugs to test for and the range of effects of various drugs on drivers. According to AAA’s traffic safety director Jake Nelson, there have been more than three decades of research to establish the relationship between the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood and the odds of them being involved in a traffic crash, but there is hardly any research showing the relationship between drugs and road accidents.
The report also listed a number of recommendations to help reduce the number of drug-impaired driving incidents – educating the public that just like alcohol, marijuana and opioids can impair driving and cause crashes, increased training to identify signs and symptoms of drugged driving, roadside screening for drugs, authorization and execution of electronic search warrants, standard laboratory test procedures across the country as well as testing impaired drivers for both alcohol and drug impairment.
According to Jim Hedlund, the GHSA report author and a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, like drunken driving, being high on other substances should also be dealt with the iron hand of law. As per him, saying no to drunken driving has brought in a real social change and the same needs to happen with drug-impaired driving as well.
Recovery from addiction
The process of reducing or eliminating drugs from the system requires professional assistance and the first step of the treatment procedure is detoxification that helps the body get rid of harmful substances, prepares the patient for further treatment.
One of the leading rapid detox centers in California, Sovereign Health provides evidence-based treatment for drug and/or alcohol addiction by offering a holistic treatment that combines detox (medical and natural) with therapy or counseling sessions that allow patients to recover completely. To know more about detoxification or in order to locate the finest detox facilities California, call our 24/7 detox helpline number (855) 682-0103 or chat live online with a member of our team.