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Calls involving overdoses behind the wheel on the rise

With an increasing number of people switching from prescription opioids to cheaper heroin to get the high, more and more people are fatally overdosing behind the wheel.

Looking at the opioid epidemic striking the United States, the number of overdose calls to the police is only increasing day by day. In Louisville, Kentucky, in the second week of February, the police responded to 52 overdose calls in a 32-hour period, and a bulk of these involved heroin. According to Louisville Police Department, one driver crashed into another vehicle after overdosing behind the wheel. When the police arrived, the driver was reportedly dead. Such a situation is becoming more and more common across the country.

In East Syracuse, New York, the police discovered a man passed out behind his wheel. They concluded he had overdosed on heroin. Luckily, his foot was on the brake pedal. The police administered naloxone and managed to revive the man.

Drugging and driving

Various quarters are trying to understand why the situation has been worsening over time. One can find an answer to the puzzle in an AM radio station broadcast in New Bedford, Connecticut. According to 1420 WBSM, the simple answer is impatience. The station quoted New Bedford Police Detective Captain Steven Vicente – “In all probability, they’re not waiting to get home. They’re injecting or doing the drugs and it’s kicking in, so to speak, as they’re driving.”

Vicente added, “The person is overdosing, so they’re becoming unconscious and they’ve lost complete control of the vehicle they’re driving. The vehicle has to come to a stop somehow, either hitting a parked car or a fence. Something’s got to stop the momentum.”

Need for timely treatment

While most people know about the dangers of overdosing, now that overdoses fatalities have soared over 30,000 per year, but many drug users don’t realize the danger of drug-related accidents. A 2009 survey found that 33 percent of fatal auto collisions involved drugs. Addiction treatment protects recovered drug abusers not just from the drugs themselves, but from their actions while too high to function.

Sovereign Health of El Paso treats addiction. We carefully assess each patient who enters treatment. The assessment takes into account all physical and mental conditions. Any treatment regimen that ignores the psychological factors fueling addiction does a considerable disservice to the patient. A patient who comes to us can be sure of receiving the highest caliber evidence-based treatment. Contact our 24/7 helpline for more information.

About the author

Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club, Fichte and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at

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