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Opioid use becoming more of a problem on Colorado roads

Signs of suffering from the opioid epidemic are everywhere, and Colorado is no exception. In 2017, 357 residents died from an opioid overdose. Recent attempts to curb opioid abuse in Colorado include a lawsuit against drug companies responsible for marketing opioids to doctors and a $1.8 million campaign to de-stigmatize opioid addiction.

There are many reasons to help people suffering from opioid addiction get help. One of those reasons is the increasing number of car accidents involving illegal and prescription opioids.

Alcohol is not the most likely impairing substance to be involved in fatal crashes

According to a recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, more drivers involved in fatal accidents are likely to have either opioids or marijuana in their system than alcohol.

According to the GHSA, 44 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for a mood-altering drug other than alcohol, up from 28 percent a decade ago. The percentage of drivers with alcohol in their system decreased slightly, from 41 percent to 38 percent.

The number of DUIs involving opioids may even be larger, as police rarely test for other drugs if a driver measures over the legal BAC limit.

Prescription opioids can get you a DUI

There have been several national efforts to limit the number of prescribed opioids such as Oxycontin. From drug recalls to doctor education, the danger these drugs pose has become part of the national conversation. While prescriptions for opioids have fallen slightly from its peak in 2012, doctors continue to issue hundreds of millions of prescriptions for opioids annually.

Just because a drug is legal, and taken legally, it does not mean you can drive impaired. Opioids can significantly harm a person’s motor skills and cognition. Impaired driving is impaired driving, regardless of the substance used or how it is obtained.

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