Ohio roads saw over 4,500 drug-related vehicles crashes in 2016, an increase of 11 percent over 2015 and 21 percent over 2013. Ohio State Highway Patrol crime lab toxicology director, Joseph Jones said at the Ohio Drugged Driving Summit that the epidemic is unprecedented, according to the Record Courier.

Opioids show no signs of slowing down, at least by the account of the state patrol crime lab. Ohio drivers are at an increased risk of being involved in a drug-related accident, and so are pedestrians, who may be struck and killed by a drugged driver.

There is no safe way to operate a vehicle while abusing prescription or street opioids. As addictions continue to climb, the only safe direction is toward drug rehab in Ohio.

Opioids Are a Newer Problem for Ohio Drivers and It Is Growing

Until recently, the volume of people driving while under the influence of prescription or illicit opioids was minimal, especially compared to the number of drunk drivers. Maple Heights police officer, Lt. Don Grossmyer, explained to NBC News that it is a disturbing trend.

As for the numbers of drivers under the influence of opioids, Grossmyer suggested that it is such a new situation that statistics are not widely available yet. “Just recently, within the last year, we’ve been seeing this.” He said his department is “definitely keeping an eye on it.”

The National Highway Safety Administration reported that in 2014, 20 percent of drivers tested had drugs in their system. Among college students, the numbers are close to that of drunk drivers.

Driving Under the Influence of Opioids Results in Numerous Deaths

A 2017 study published by the American Public Health Association reveals an alarming spike in deaths as a result of driving while under the influence of opioids. In 1995, the “prevalence of prescription opioids detected in fatally injured drivers” was 1 percent. In 2015, that number increased to 7.5 percent. To compound the problem, 30 percent of drivers who tested positive for opioids also tested positive for alcohol. “Sixty-six percent also tested positive for other drugs,” the study said.

The Rust Belt in Ohio is experiencing a dramatic increase in traffic accident related deaths. That is much different from years past when officers say incidents were very rare. “Addicts aren’t waiting to get home to get high. And heroin addicts, in particular, have to keep a fixed schedule,” says NBC. The schedule keeps addicts from going into withdrawal.

Drivers under the influence of drugs are not the only victims. A now-famous photo of an Ohio couple overdosing on heroin shows a frightened and confused four-year-old child looking on from the backseat of their vehicle. Police said the vehicle narrowly missed school children exiting a bus before coming to a stop as the couple passed out. They were the fortunate ones. Many addicts in Ohio have lost their lives to drugged driving and they have taken the lives of others who innocently crossed their path.

The opioid epidemic in Ohio is growing in an unexpected way. Now, more addicts are getting behind the wheel, putting themselves and the public at risk of a crash. Your life does not have to follow the same path. Drug rehab in Ohio can help you regain control and find recovery that lasts a lifetime.

Treatment options include:

Within each rehabilitation stage, you have access to group therapy, nutritious meals, recreational and art therapy, comfortable accommodations and much more. A trained, caring staff who understands the struggles that accompany addiction recovery is there for 24-hour-a-day support.

If you or someone you love is battling an opioid addiction, the time is right for making that call. Contact us today to learn about admissions and the different treatment options available.

RELATED: The Dangers of Drugged Driving

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.