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Driving under the influence of illicit drugs

Driving under the influence of drugs is risky business anywhere, but there continues to be an upsurge in reported drug use among drivers across the country, including Washington and the rest of the Pacific Northwest. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report points out that 20 percent of drivers tested in 2014 were under the influence of drugs while operating a vehicle. Another study in 2011 showed college students tend to be involved in drugged driving incidents as often as they are implicated in alcohol related cases.

Methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and a variety of prescription medications such as tranquilizers and opiate painkillers come under the category of illicit drugs. Operating a vehicle under the influence of any of these substances can lead to a conviction if the situation warrants severe penalties. Drivers with multiple DUI offenses on their record or a driver charged with intoxicated manslaughter could face significant penalties including incarceration.

While alcohol and marijuana continue to be a bigger problem according to a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the number of drivers abusing opiates and heroin may be on the rise and is definitely a statistic being watched. One incident of parents overdosing on heroin occurred in a vehicle in Ohio as a young child in the car observed the situation.

Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs can find someone facing an impaired driving charge. If the prosecution is able to obtain a conviction, the consequences could be severe. As a result, those who find themselves in this position may want to meet with an attorney as soon as possible so that a defense strategy can be constructed.

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