Driving under the influence of opioids is becoming more common on our roads and highways.
Due to an increase in heroin and opioid use and abuse, the number of people who are getting behind the wheel under influence is also increasing. In this post, our St. Louis car accident lawyer will talk about the effects of opioid use on driving ability.
Effects of Opiates and Opioids
Opioids and opiates are drugs that affect the central nervous system and alleviate pain. These drugs are derived from opium poppy. The most common opioid is poppy, others are hydrocodane, fentanyl and OxyContin. These drugs are highly effective in alleviating pain. When used for a short period of time and as prescribed by a doctor, they are generally safe for patients. However, these drugs are highly addictive and can cause serious side effects such as:
- Lethargy and drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Liver and brain damage.
Those who use opiates or opioids, especially those who abuse them, can be dangerous while driving because of these side effects. A driver who is drowsy or lethargic because of opiate or opioid use will have a longer reaction time and will take longer to respond to traffic situations such as slowed or stopped traffic, traffic control signals, pedestrians crossing the streets and vehicles that are turning or changing lanes.
Overdose of opioids and opiates can also lead to unconsciousness and can even kill the person, which can turn the vehicle into an uncontrollable missile that can strike any other vehicle or person.
Liability for a Car Accident Caused by a Driver Under the Influence of Opioids or Opiates
Our St. Louis accident lawyer explains that people who use or abuse opioids and opiates, and cause a car accident as a result of the side effects of the drugs may be held liable for the injuries and damage they cause. This is because using drugs such as opioids and opiates that are known to cause drowsiness or lethargy while driving can be considered a negligent or careless act. In order to avoid causing a car accident and being held liable for the injuries and property damage, drivers should:
- Never use any illegal drugs
- Use only prescription medications as prescribed by the doctor
- Avoiding driving after taking an opioid or opiate
- Do not abuse opiates or opioids or any other pain relief drugs. Once you think you can manage your pain with a less addictive medication, you should discuss your options with your doctor
Get Legal Help From a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence of drugs are often serious. If you have been injured by a person driving under the influence of an opioid or opiate, speak with an experienced attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can evaluate your case for FREE and help you protect your legal rights after a car accident. Call (314) 361-4242 for free consultation.