Most of us have an idea in our head of when we hear about drunk drivers. For most of us, that idea does not include people overdosing on opioids while they are behind the wheel. But, with the current epidemic of opioid abuse, this is a reality that police are facing.
Two recent accidents in our area highlight the changing face of driving while intoxicated. A father recently went off the road and struck a utility pole and cement wall. Another driver crashed into the side of a restaurant. Both drivers appeared to be experiencing drug overdoses and the police had to administer Narcan, also known as Naxolone, to help the drivers.
Unforeseen Impacts Of The Opioid Epidemic
As illicit opioid use spreads, it is becoming a part of more common criminal charges such as DUI and how the police respond to it. In the past, the police had to deal with intoxicated drivers. Most of them were not facing life-threatening alcohol poisoning. These new situations where opioid users are getting behind the wheel while high are creating a new set of situations and risks for the police, those on the roads and the drivers themselves.
The police need to be prepared to deal with overdosing drivers and the accidents they will cause on our roads. This means carrying Narcan, but it may also means different enforcement methods.
Anyone who is facing DUI charges, whether related to alcohol or drug use should take all available steps to ensure his or her rights are protected, including securing experienced criminal defense representation.