A sevenfold increase in opioid-related car crash deaths has recently been reported by researchers. Yet another sure sign the U.S. opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever. More drivers than ever before are dying in crashes while under the influence of prescription painkillers. Columbia University researchers released a statement discussing how prescriptions for opioids like morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone have more than quadrupled in recent years. Seventy-six million were reported in 1991 compared to the 300 million in 2014.
With numbers soaring to such heights, it isn’t surprising we are beginning to see a connection to highway deaths. The increase in drivers testing positive for prescription opioids has become a public health concern in 2017. These types of drugs are used to kill pain from serious injury. Their effects include slowed reaction times, impaired cognitive skills, and drowsiness. All things that add a significant risk while driving. While it’s true that these prescription painkiller users are driving under the influence with more regularity than ever before, researchers say they still need to do more research before any clear facts are established.
This rising epidemic has caught the eye of more than one activist organization, including MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They have voiced their concerns over the lack of reliable testing for opioids on the road and committed themselves to fighting the problem along with all impairing drugs.