According to The National Safety Council the odds of dying from an opioid overdose in America are 1 in 96. This chilling statistic was revealed in January and stole headlines as for the first time ever; people were more likely to die of an opioid overdose than they were in a vehicular accident.
Not surprisingly, these numbers correlate with the opioid addiction epidemic happening in the country. While many in America may look at the opioid addiction as someone else’s problem, the truth is that opioid addiction can have a major impact on anyone who chooses to get in a vehicle. A Columbia University study released in February stated that people who are taking prescription pain killers are more than two times as likely to be involved in a fatal car wreck.
The study shows that the increased risk associated with opioid use is largely due to driver’s being unable to focus and stay in the proper lane. More than half of the car crashes identified involved a car drifting, which led to a deadly crash.
While it’s true that driving under the influence of any opioid is illegal in every state, too many drivers do not realize it or do not choose to obey the law. It’s widely understood that alcohol and driving do not mix, but many feel as if they are “fine” to drive while taking a prescribed medication. Even at the lowest prescription level, opioid use has an impact on a person’s ability to focus, which obviously makes driving a risky proposition.
One of the most chilling thoughts that comes as a result of the study is that if those who are on prescription pain killers are more than two times as likely to cause a fatal accident, just imagine what those who have developed an addiction to stronger opioids such as heroin are capable of behind the wheel.
It’s up to physicians and loved ones to make sure that anyone they know who is taking prescription painkillers not only avoids driving but avoids a potential deadly addiction. Awareness is essential early on. Some people with more addictive personalities choose to ask for alternatives to prescription pain killers to avoid the risks. These decisions can potentially save multiple lives.
If you or someone you care about has formed an opioid addiction, it’s not too late. Call (866) 308-2090 to learn how our opioid addiction treatment facility can assist in the rehabilitation process.