Jump in deadly crashes involving drug use, new report says

Montpelier Vt. Nevada. A new report finds that close to two-thirds of the drivers who were killed in highway crashes and tested for drugs afterward had opio

Montpelier Vt. Nevada. A new report finds that close to two-thirds of the drivers who were killed in highway crashes and tested for drugs afterward had opio

As legal marijuana spreads and the opioid epidemic rages on, the number of drugged drivers killed in auto crashes is rising dramatically, according to a report released Thursday.

In 2006, almost 28 percent of drivers who were tested, tested positive for drugs.

Close to two-thirds of the drivers who were killed in highway crashes and tested for drugs afterward had opioids, marijuana or some combination of the two in their bodies, according to a new report on driving drugged in the United States. "People should not be driving while they're impaired by anything and these two drugs can impair you".

The short supply of evidence against it has undoubtedly helped to persuade 29 states in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use. Opioid addiction has been deemed a national crisis, with an average of 115 deaths a day.

'Busting this myth requires states to expand their impaired driving campaigns to include marijuana and opioids along with alcohol to show drivers that impairment is impairment, regardless of substance'. The report also mentioned that the testing rates for deceased drivers in America varied. Overall, drug driving was estimated to be responsible for as much as 8% of driver fatalities in the European Union. And there is no definitive data linking drugged driving to crashes.

Earlier this year, Ron's fiancee Barb talked about the crash. "For drugs, that relationship is not known".

Estimating the effect on crash risk is even more hard for opioids than for marijuana, according to the authors, who write that the "most supportable conclusion" is that opioids can increase crash risk by a factor of no more than about 2.

Alcohol is also part of the mix, the report found: About half the dead drivers who tested positive for alcohol also tested positive for drugs. In 2006, the number was 35 percent.

A new report by the Governor's Highway Safety Association says there has been an increase in deadly crashes involving drug use over the past decade.

The death data found that among drivers with drugs in their system, 41.1 percent had used marijuana. The breath tests used for alcohol do not yet exist for marijuana.

About 20 percent of drivers killed in crashes in 2016 tested positive for some kind of opioid, including oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl.

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"Drugs can impair, and drug-impaired drivers can crash".

According to FARS data, in 2016, 54.3 percent of the fatally-injured drivers were tested for marijuana. States don't all test for the same drugs or use the same testing methods.

Police who stop drivers they think are impaired typically use standard sobriety tests, such as asking the person to walk heel to toe and stand on one leg.

But these standard sobriety tests don't work for drugs, which can only be detected by testing blood, urine or saliva. But when they do, they're often found to have been using alcohol, as well, according to Dr. Jim Hedlund, the author of the GHSA report and a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

States have dealt with drugged driving in different ways.

"We definitely see states liberalizing marijuana laws".

"The presence of marijuana doesn't necessarily mean impairment", Romer said. "You could be releasing drivers who are unsafe and imprisoning people who are not impaired".

While there are many recent studies on marijuana, they tend to have methodological flaws and are complicated by the difficulty in estimating a driver's THC at the time of a crash, the authors say.

It remains unclear whether marijuana affects a driver's risk of crashing.

An online survey in April by the department found that 69 percent of pot users said they had driven under the influence of marijuana at least once in the past year and 27 percent said they drove high nearly daily. They assert the general conclusions that opioids are present about half as frequently as marijuana in fatally-injured drivers and opioid presence has increased in the past decade. And at the police station, some officers trained as drug examiners do a more extensive series of tests to identify the type of drug.

"Too many people operate under the false belief that marijuana or opioids don't impair their ability to drive, or even that these drugs make them safer drivers", said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. In both Colorado and Washington, drivers reported an increase in marijuana usage before driving after the drug became legal. Now, "we have to think about the combination of substances drivers are often putting into their systems at the same time", said Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org, a Virginia-based non-profit focused on drunk driving.

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