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Study: Drugged driving on the rise

Drunk driving has dropped over recent years, a new report states, while drugged driving is on the rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association study says that marijuana legalization and surging prescription medication use leading causes of in the increase in drivers impaired by drugs -- though it notes that illegal drug use is a major contributor to the problem as well.

According to the report, 12.4 percent of drivers in 2007 tested positive for marijuana or illegal drugs. Last year, the figure had risen to 15.1 percent.

Among the legal drugs that can cause impairment, a CNN report on the newly released study listed marijuana, ADHD stimulants and nasal decongestants. While marijuana has been legalized in Colorado and three other states, it has been decriminalized in nearly two dozen others.

Some ADHD medications include amphetamines such as Adderall and Dexedrine, a methamphetamine known by its brand name Desoxyn, and a milder stimulant drug type, methylphenidate, known by brand names such as Ritalin, Concerta and Daytrana. While the drugs are prescribed by doctors and perfectly legally, they can reportedly cause impairment that can lead to a DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) arrest.

Nearly 10 percent of tested drivers had detectable amounts of amphetamines in their systems, according to CNN. In addition, hydrocodone (an opioid pain medication) was found in 6.9 percent of drivers, while oxycodone (another opioid painkiller) was detected in 3.6 percent of drivers. Common anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) were detected in 4.5 percent, while a detectable level of cocaine was found in 4.5 percent of people behind the wheel.

DUID charges are just as serious as DUI charges, with the same harsh penalties awaiting those convicted. Denver attorneys experienced in DUID defense represent you in DMV hearings and in negotiations with prosecutors and at trial.


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