AUSTIN, Texas. According to CBS News, studies have found that opioid-related car accident deaths have increased sevenfold. More and more drivers are testing positive for prescription pain medications in their systems. This is no surprise, because as of 2014, 300 million people were issued prescriptions for opioid drugs. As many as 24 percent of drivers involved in deadly crashes tested positive for drugs.
Do opioids pose a risk for drivers? According to CBS News, drivers who use opioids could experience side-effects like drowsiness, impairment in their thinking, and experience slower reaction times. While we have heard quite a bit in the news about the risk of overdose due to opioid use, there hasn’t been much about the number of people who die in opioid-related car accidents.
So, what can victims do to protect themselves if they’ve been in a car accident. First of all, always report the accident to the police. Police can review the circumstances of the accident and test the other driver for the presence of drugs or narcotics. If you suspect that the other driver may have been using drugs or was taking opioids, mention this to the officer. Time can change the way a person behaves and if an officer arrives at the scene after the person has calmed down or regained his or her composure, the police may fail to perform adequate testing. Advocate for yourself.
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers are simply not aware of the risks that opioid use can cause. It is the responsibility of doctors and pharmacists to let their patients know what risks patients can face when taking opioid drugs. According to the Journal of Palliative Medicine, as many as 20-60% percent of patients may experience mild sedation when they first start taking these drugs or when their dose is increased. While these effects can be resolved after several days, patients should be advised about the risk while driving and be told to avoid driving especially if they experience sedative effects.
Despite the prevalence of prescription opioids, no major studies have been performed on whether it is safe to drive while taking opioid prescriptions. The expert consensus is that patients should avoid driving when they are first put on the drugs and when their dosages have been changed. Early studies indicate that once this adjustment period has passed, drivers can be safe behind the wheel, but this is only true if patients take their drugs as directed and don’t abuse the drugs. As we have seen in recent years, however, abuse is prevalent and the temptation to take extra doses can be high.
Connecting opioids to accidents can be challenging, but not impossible. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident and believe that the other driver may have been under the influence of drugs, you may have certain rights under the law. The Robson Law Firm are car accident lawyers in Austin, Texas who work closely with victims and families to determine the factors leading to their accident. If another person is found negligent for your crash, you may be entitled to seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Visit our firm at https://robsonlawfirm.com/ to learn more and to protect your rights.
Robson Law Firm
1114 Lost Creek Boulevard
Austin, TX 78746
Phone: (512) 345-8200
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