DUIs from prescription drugs rising as DUIs from alcohol decline

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — The Utah Highway Patrol said they are seeing a growing number of DUI arrests, not for alcohol, but people under the influence of prescription drugs.DUIs from prescription drugs rising as DUIs from alcohol decline

 Kelly Vaughen reports — DUIs from prescription drugs rising as DUIs from alcohol decline. (KUTV)

Utah Highway Patrol sees around 10,000 arrests each year statewide. That number is staying steady, even as the number of drunk driving arrests goes down.

The reason illegal, and prescription drug use.

Sergeant Nick Street, with Utah Highway Patrol, says:

We’re finding more and more often in fatalities as we do blood draws after the fact, we’re seeing more impairing substances coming from prescriptions, coming from illicit drugs. And those are definitely contributing to fatal crashes.

Sergeant Nick Street, with Utah Highway Patrol chats with 2News reporter Kelly Vaughen on December 30, 2019. (KUTV)

Sgt. Street said he sees a lot of arrests from people with Xanax, Ambien, and prescription opioids in their system. Street says:

A lot of times they’re called in as reckless drivers. You know we’ll meet up with them, we’ll see their poor driving pattern and we’ll pull them over and sure enough, it’s the result of prescription drugs maybe not quite right, and they are shocked that they are exhibiting that behavior and unfortunately they do get arrested.

David Rosenbloom is a DUI attorney in Salt Lake City. He said 20 years ago his practice was made up of 80% alcohol DUIs, 10% illegal drug DUIs, and 10% prescription drug DUIs.

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“Fast forward to today, I would say, at least my practice, is less than 50% alcohol, just under, 40% prescription drug, and 10% illegal. Illegal might be higher now and then,” said Rosenbloom

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He said many of his clients were only on drugs prescribed to them, and most thought they were fine to drive. Rosenbloom says:

I have that happening now with a client who has a mental disability and got a DUI for just taking his medication, his prescription medication for schizophrenia. And then he drove afterwards, after his suspended license, and now he has six cases.

One reason drunk driving is on the decline, while drug-impaired driving is on the rise may be from social changes.

Sgt. Street said now drinking and driving is looked down upon in most social settings, but that shift hasn’t happened with prescription or illegal drugs.

In Utah it’s possible to get a DUI without driving, or even being in your car at all. I spoke with a lawyer about some of the cases like that he’s dealt with.

Law enforcement says to check all prescription labels, and don’t drive until you know how you are affected. Also, be aware of mixing your prescriptions and alcohol. 

UHP said they see a great number of DUIs as a result of that. https://kjzz.com/news/local/duis-from-prescription-drugs-rising-as-duis-from-alcohol-decline

Man arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol

A Hamlin man was arrested last week following an incident in Jane Lew during which police allege they found him driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, troopers with the W.Va. State Police were dispatched to the Go Mart in Jane Lew for a domestic situation in progress.

The troopers were advised the vehicle had left the convenience store and was traveling on Interstate 79 south.

According to the criminal complaint, the troopers discovered the vehicle, a red Chevy Cobalt, that was parked alongside the road near mile marker 103. The vehicle was not parked normally as the front of the vehicle was pointed toward the woods along the side of the freeway.

Officers then observed the driver of the vehicle, Edward G. Adkins, age 70, in the front seat moving about and slurring his speech. According to the complaint, the trooper also noticed the female passenger was “all over the vehicle and appeared to be tweaking as they could not control themselves.” Troopers wrote in the complaint that they could smell an alcoholic beverage on Adkins’ breath and that he admitted to drinking two beers earlier in the day.

According to the complaint, the Adkins’ pupils were very constricted. After taking the female passenger to the cruiser, she advised the officers that a third female passenger in the vehicle had overdosed and that she had administered two doses of Narcan.

The female told law enforcement personnel that Adkins and the other female passenger had taken heroin at a location somewhere north of Lewis County.

Adkins then admitted to police that he had “ate some meth” about 30 minutes prior to this incident.

Officers noted that Adkins could not focus on the task at hand and held his license in his hand as he continued to look for it in his wallet and car. Adkins also advised the troopers that he had some serious medical conditions and is on other medications as well.

The complaint continues by saying that Adkins stated to police that he felt a little intoxicated and probably should not have been driving. He continued by saying he had fallen asleep and had to be woken up on numerous occasions.

Adkins refused all FST tests by law enforcement and was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances.

Adkins also failed to submit an obtainable sample on the Intoximeter. According to the criminal complaint, Adkins was then taken to Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital, where a blood sample was obtained.

The female passenger was arrested for possession of meth, and the second female was transported to SJMH.

Adkins was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, improper registration and having no insurance. He was arraigned, with bail set at $10,000. Adkins is currently being held in Central Regional Jail in lieu of bail. https://www.wvnews.com/westondemocrat/news/man-arrested-for-driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs-and/article_0c3b69d4-30cf-5c9e-8760-cd1d603b90b2.html

12 Million U.S. Residents Drove Under Influence of Marijuana in 2018

TUESDAY, Dec. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — In 2018, 12 million U.S. residents reported driving under the influence of marijuana in the previous 12 months, according to research published in the Dec. 20 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Alejandro Azofeifa, D.D.S., a consultant from Washington, D.C., and colleagues provide the most recent national estimates of self-reported driving under the influence of marijuana and illicit drugs other than marijuana for persons aged ≥16 years using 2018 data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

The researchers found that during 2018, 12 and 2.3 million U.S. residents (4.7 and 0.9 percent) reported driving under the influence of marijuana and under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana, respectively, in the previous 12 months. The prevalence of driving under the influence was increased among men and persons aged 16 to 34 years.

“Impaired driving is a serious public health concern that needs to be addressed to safeguard the health and safety of all who use the road, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists,” the authors write. “Collaboration among public health, transportation safety, law enforcement, and federal and state officials is needed for the development, evaluation, and further implementation of strategies to prevent alcohol-, drug-, and polysubstance-impaired driving.” https://www.physiciansweekly.com/12-million-u-s-residents-drove-under-influence-of-marijuana-in-2018/

13,000 caught driving under influence of alcohol

BEIJING, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — Chinese police caught 13,000 drivers drinking and driving from Tuesday to Wednesday in a nationwide intensified check.

The number includes 1,027 drunk driving cases, in which drivers may face criminal punishment once convicted.

The checks will continue nationwide to curb such violations, especially during the approaching festival season, according to the traffic management division under the Ministry of Public Security.

Following the New Year’s Day, the Spring Festival, or Chinese Lunar New Year, falls on Jan. 25 in 2020. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-12/26/c_138659910.htm

Man dressed as Santa Claus arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KABC) — A man dressed as Santa Claus added an accessory to his Santa suit – a pair of handcuffs.

Chula Vista police said the man crashed into several parked cars, wrecked his own vehicle, and then ran off.

Witnesses had called police describing the driver as a man in a Santa suit.

Officers found part of the costume and an identification inside the vehicle that led them to the suspect. He was arrested at his home.

Police believe he may have been driving under the influence. https://abc7.com/man-dressed-as-santa-arrested-for-suspected-dui/5783170/