Many opioid users are too impaired to drive safely and are endangering themselves and others when they’re on the road says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Use of legal and illegal narcotics and opioid use has risen dramatically. Given this increase in use it should come as no surprise that drivers impaired by opioid use are causing more fatal traffic accidents says Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne.
Gov. Scott declared opioid use a public health emergency in May, reports NBC News.
- Use of heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone caused the deaths of 3,896 Floridians in 2015, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics.
- Palm Beach County morgues were filled to capacity with 525 fatal opioid overdoses last year.
- Use of heroin combined with fentanyl or carfentanil caused 220 deaths in Miami-Dade County in 2016 and 90% of Broward County’s fatal drug overdoses involved heroin, fentanyl or other opioids.
About 92 million adults in the U.S. used prescription opioids in 2015 according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August, reports USA Today.
- Ninety-two million people is about the same as the population of Florida, New York, California and Illinois combined.
- An estimated 12 million people (or about the same number as 60% of Florida’s population) misused prescription opioids by using them without a prescription, taking them more often than prescribed or for reasons other than what was intended by their physicians.
- About two million Americans have an opioid use disorder. That’s defined as being unable to control or reduce opioid use, having social problems or being unable to fulfill family, work or school obligations because of opioid use.
For some opioid users it’s not the drug that’s the direct cause of their deaths, it’s the fatal injuries they suffer in vehicle accidents when they drive while impaired. Columbia University researchers reviewed drug testing results for 36,729 drivers in six states who died within an hour of being in a vehicle accident.
The percentage of drivers with prescription opioids found in their systems when they died increased from 1.0% in 1995 to 7.2% in 2015, according to a study published in July in the American Journal of Public Health.
- The most common opioids were oxycodone, morphine and codeine.
- Close to 70% of drivers testing positive for prescription opioids also tested positive for other drugs and 30% showed signs they were also drinking alcohol.
No matter what impairs a driver, whether that’s drug or alcohol use or fatigue, that driver is a hazard to him or herself and everyone else on the road. Driving while impaired increases the chances of an accident because drivers aren’t fully aware of what’s going on and their ability to make safe decisions decreases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a driver impaired by drug use, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.