One of the biggest trends we have seen in terms of drug use is that more and more people are using multiple substances at one time. From raves and concerts to college dorm room parties and cocktail hours at work functions, people are mixing it up – literally.
Possibly the most disconcerting effects of this type of drug-related behavior is that users, despite what drugs they are abusing, are still getting behind the wheel and driving from Point A to Point B – or attempting to, at least. A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that between 1993 and 2010, the rates of fatal automobile crashes increased significantly, and due to multiple drugs being consumed at once.
The study revealed that in 1993, one in every eight drivers were using more than one drug at a time when involved in a fatal car crash. By 2010, it rose to one in five.
One of the most interesting aspects about this study is that it revealed that these crashes were not typically at the hands of younger individuals, rather those between the ages of 30-49, who were more likely to be involved in this type of drug-related crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s study also showed that the majority of these crashes occurred in the South, and that 22% of people who were abusing prescription drugs while behind the wheel were abusing more than one kind at a time.
Fernando Wilson, author of the study, said that he expects to see an increase in fatal car crashes caused by multiple drug use in the future. “These trends are likely to continue into the future given the aging U.S. population, an increasing reliance on prescription medications by medical providers, and increasing initiatives to legalize marijuana,” he said.
This report did not just shed light on the statistics, rather it also included tips to help reduce the likelihood of these types of crashes from continually occurring. For example, the study suggested having physicians talk more honestly and openly with their patients about the types of drugs they are prescribing them so they are aware of the dangers. In addition, they also suggest testing those who are taking “multiple cognitive-impairing medications” to see if they are cognizant enough to get behind the wheel. The study also recommends implementing more cost-effective transportation systems so people do not have to rely on driving themselves from one place to the next.