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Law enforcement now targeting more than just drunk drivers

In the not-so-distant past, most discussions about drug use and drug crimes centered around such substances as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy. Fast forward to the present, however, and these same discussions have expanded to include prescription drugs.

While it may seem strange to lump otherwise legal drugs with clearly defined medical purposes in with well-known illegal street drugs, the reality is that prescription drugs -- particularly prescription opiates -- have become increasingly problematic thanks to their addictive qualities and widespread abuse.

Indeed, statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that otherwise legal purchases of prescription painkillers have increased fourfold over the last 16 years.

Unfortunately, health officials have recently indicated that these prescription painkillers are becoming more of a problem as far as the safe operation of motor vehicles is concerned.

If you don't believe it, consider that statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association reveal that as many as 40 percent of all drivers who sustain fatal injuries in car accidents now test positive for some sort of prescription drug.

In light of these types of numbers, law enforcement across the nation are now making a concerted effort to crack down on drivers under the influence of prescription drugs.

Indeed, the Georgia State Patrol recently set out to remind motorists that they can still be arrested for impaired driving despite having a valid prescription for a drug that can affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, they reminded people that, contrary to popular belief, there are field sobriety tests that can help them identify those driving under the influence of prescription drugs. For instance, troopers are now being trained to carefully evaluate the eyes of motorists, looking for telltale signs of pain medication impairment such as constricting pupils.  

As we discussed in our last post, the penalties for impaired driving here in the Peach State can be incredibly severe. As such, anyone facing these types of charges must give very serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible. 

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