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Baby Boomers Driving under the Influence of Prescription Drugs

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney, drugged driving, DUID, legalize marijuana, medical providers, methamphetamines, prescription drug, prescription medicationsReported in a recent study funded by the Public Health Law Research, today’s driver who is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is much different than those arrested for the same criminal offense in 1993. Twenty years ago, a driver convicted of DUID was most likely younger and under the influence of cocaine or methamphetamines. But today’s DUID driver is more likely to be 50 years or older and most often tests positive for either marijuana or prescription drugs.

Researchers analyzed fatal crash statistics that occurred between the years 1993 to 2010 where the driver had tested positive for DUID. One of the findings revealed was that the number of drivers who tested positive for three or more drugs has doubled, going from 11.5 percent in 1993 to 21.5 percent in 2010.

Back in 1993, only one in eight drivers were found to be using three or more drugs. Today, that number is one in five drivers. Other findings included:

  • The number of drivers combining alcohol with drugs has also increased. Fifty percent of drivers had both alcohol and marijuana in their system when tested. Seventy percent of drivers had alcohol and cocaine in their system;
  • Sixty percent of those drivers who only tested positive for marijuana were 30 years old or younger;
  • Almost forty percent of those drivers who tested positive for prescription drugs were 50 years or older; and
  • According to the study, prescription drug use has now surpassed marijuana use.

In a statement, lead researcher Fernando Wilson, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said, "These trends are likely to continue into the future given the aging U.S. population, an increasing reliance on prescription medications by medical providers and increasing initiatives to legalize marijuana."

Wilson notes a lack in clarity as to whether or not current state policies will address this increasing problem of driving while under the influence of drugs.

If you were arrested when driving under the influence of a prescription drug, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options.

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