Along with the increased use of marijuana and driving due to its legalization across the country, there is a growing concern about the use of opiates and driving due to several factors. First and foremost is the increase in opiate use and abuse to the level of epidemic proportions particularly in the North East region of the country. For years doctors doled out prescription “pain killers” without recrimination giving rise to the recent advisory from the federal government to physicians to be more careful. This has led to more and more people addicted to opiates like oxycodone.
As a prosecution or defense team, you build your case on your witnesses. Judge Mary Celeste (Ret.) is available as an expert witness in marijuana and driving and drugged driving. She is also a consultant for toxicologists.
As Afghanistan produced more and more opiates and exported them with more ease, suddenly it became cheaper to buy street opioids than prescription opioids. Hence the heroine epidemic. Unlike the cannabinoid receptors that were identified in the 1990s, we have known about the opioid receptors since the 1970s. Science understands the interplay of opiates and the brain and the dopamine system, but, not until recently has there been an interest in how opiates affect driving.
Drugged driving as a concept is gaining traction as a perfect storm emerges. The aging population requiring more prescription medications, the overuse and abuse of prescription medication, the always prevalent alcohol as another drug, illicit drug use, the legalization of marijuana, designer drugs, and the most lethal and concerning combinations of drugs and drugs and drugs and alcohol. It is estimated that in 10 years, drugged driving will surpass alcohol and driving.