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The growing problem of driving while drugged

Abuse of painkillers continues to be a growing problem throughout the nation. The smallest overdose can lead to serious fatalities in their homes. However, those using or addicted to various drugs also put others at risk when they choose to drive under the influence.

Wisconsin is not immune to the opioid epidemic. The state has seen an increase in the number of motorists arrested for driving while drugged. A current estimate by State Department of Transportation officials reveals 25% of residents pulled over for impaired driving are under the influence of opioids.

Problems That Need Solutions

In 2015, 149 fatal accidents were caused by drugged driving, a 200 percent increase over 10 years. In response to this growing epidemic, Wisconsin’s DOT has implemented initiatives in collaboration with local partners and the traffic safety community.

Similar campaigns for drunk driving succeeded in reducing alcohol-related deaths by 38 percent and injuries by 50 percent over the past 10 years.

A Dose Of Reality

The state Department of Justice is hoping to accomplish similar results in reducing DUIs involving dangerous and addictive drugs. Their Dose of Reality campaign strives to educate drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence of painkillers and other opioids, even when a doctor legally prescribes those drugs.

In early December, state justice and transportation officials unveiled a public service announcement to show that drugged driving is as equally illegal and dangerous as drunk driving. In the ad, a refrigerator is well stocked, not with six-packs of beer, but with six-packs filled with painkillers.

While anti-drug campaigns can make a difference in making the roads safer, addiction requires a different type of assistance. Additionally, those facing criminal DUI charges need immediate representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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