Drugged Driving: Unexpected DUI Charges

It’s impossible to drive safely while under the influence. That’s why drunk driving is so dangerous. However, drugged driving can be just as risky. Still, not too many people believe that it’s something they need to worry about…

Drugged Driving: How It’s Dangerous

Impairing substances

Drugged driving, as you may expect, occurs when you take a substance that impairs your ability to drive safely. For example, marijuana impacts your ability to focus, coordinate, and react to changes on the road. Meanwhile, something such as cocaine will make a driver much more aggressive and reckless then they normally would be.

Recently, prescription and over-the-counter medications have also become prevalent causes of drugged driving. Aside from general abuse, those who do take them correctly aren’t aware of the side-effects and try to drive anyways. These side-effects, like drowsiness and dizziness, can be just as dangerous as those caused by more-illicit drugs.

Spotting issues

Just like with drunk driving, drugged driving is illegal in every state. Despite this, many drivers don’t view it as being as “bad” as driving drunk. Mainly, this is because of how hard it can be to recognize the potential signs of impairment.

For instance, it’s pretty easy for you to tell when someone is too drunk to drive. For other drugs, though, their effects can be a lot harder to spot, or they take longer to show up. As a result, someone may think they’re safe to drive, until they realize too late that isn’t the case.

What to do

Preventing drugged driving is mainly about awareness. Both those who take these drugs and those who are around them need to know how dangerous it can be if they were to drive. This is especially true for those who take prescription medication. You’ll want to be fully aware of the side-effects and how they can limit your ability to drive safely.

Additionally, it helps to have other driving options to choose from. This could be a close friend, or something like a ride sharing service. That way, you can get to where you need to go without needing to get behind the wheel yourself.

Opioid Abuse Behavior: Common Indicators

It can be a bit easy to tell when someone has had too much to drink. However, noticing opioid abuse behavior can be a lot trickier. However, there are a few common indicators which can help you see if someone is abusing their pills…

Opioid Abuse Behavior: Noticeable Signs

Sudden mood swings

One example of opioid abuse behavior can be sudden mood swings. You may notice that at first, this person appears to be pretty spaced out and relaxed. Then, they’ll suddenly become irritated and get angry at everyone. Or, they could go from being happy and motivated to depressed and with no motivation.

This could be a result of the dopamine opioid pills release. This high can make a person feel very happy or relaxed while it lasts. Yet when it wears off, they can suddenly find themselves crashing and doing a total reversal. If you know the person in question has some kind of prescription, then this could be a sign there’s some misuse going on.

Secrecy and dishonesty

Another common example of opioid abuse behavior is when someone acts very shady. They may not want to share personal info with you or those close to them because they want to hide their abuse. Due to this, they’ll try and make up excuses as to why they can’t go do thing or why you can’t come over. They may even spend nearly all their time inside and away from others.

Even if you present them with evidence of their misuse, they may still try to deny it. For example, you could find a lot of empty pill bottles scattered around their house or car. However, when you ask them about it, they’ll try and make some excuse. The reality is that they’re probably abusing their pills.

Constant pill taking

Of course, one of the most apparent forms of opioid abuse behavior is when someone is constantly taking pills. Usually, most people will take their prescriptions when they’re at home, before going out. Sometimes, if they’re out for a while, they’ll bring their prescription just in case. That way, they can take a new dose when it’s time.

For someone who is abusing their pills, they’ll bring them pretty much everywhere. They may constantly come up with excuses to go somewhere for a moment in order to take them. It could be that they reach a point where they take them whenever they want. This is a pretty clear sign that their intake has gotten out of control.

Youth Opioid Use

When most people think about the opioid crisis, they imagine it mainly involving adults. However, youth opioid use is also a serious thing. In fact, there’s a few reasons in particular why younger people might start abusing opioids…

Youth Opioid Use: Prevailing Factors

Usage rates

In general, opioid abuse is one of the fastest growing issues in the United States. Sadly, younger people can also abuse these opioids as well. In 2016, 3.6% of those ages 12-17 had reported that they misused opioids. For those who were 18-25, this percentage was twice as high. Most of this misuse is due to prescription pills, rather than alternatives like heroin.

Fortunately, misuse rates are going down, especially for those in high school. For example, among high school seniors, abuse rates peaked in 2004 at 9.5%. By 2018, these rates had been lowered all the way to 3.4%. Still, overdose deaths are an issue; half of the 4,235 youth overdose deaths in 2015 were due to pill abuse.

Risk factors

The risks factors behind youth opioid use are both similar and different to those for adults. Chronic pain is the most common reason for youth abuse, much like with adults. For younger people, usually it’s something like a sports injury which leads to a doctor giving them an opioid prescription.

However, there are also some other unique reasons. Many younger users of opioids reported that they got their pills from close friends or relatives. In fact, those who have family members that abuse opioids are at a higher risk of abuse themselves. Also, there’s school-related factors, as kids who either struggle in school or are bullied are also at a higher risk of abuse.

Preventing abuse

There’s a number of ways to help prevent youth opioid use. For starters, pain management through medication for younger people should be cautious. Doctors have been more receptive to alternative pain treatments rather than just prescribing opioids, in order to help keep these pills out of the hands of younger people.

The home environment also plays a big role. Youth who have strong connections with their parents, and are informed of the risks these pills come with, have much lower rates of abuse. Therefore, parents should also talk to their kids about these pills to help keep them safe.