Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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Working Hard to Protect Your Rights As a Poughkeepsie criminal defense attorney, I have been serving the people of the Hudson Valley for more than 20 years through diligent, assertive and quality criminal defense. I am prepared to put my experience to work for you.

Opiate epidemic sparks surge in drugged driving

Drugged driving incidents are becoming far more common in New York and around the country according to reports from the nation's police departments and data from several federal agencies. Marijuana remains the most common illegal drug found in the systems of impaired motorists, but police in Rust Belt states like Ohio and Michigan say that they are far more concerned about an epidemic of opiate addiction.

Heroin and prescription opiates like oxycodone and fentanyl pose a particular threat to road users according to doctors. Individuals who take opiates must monitor their intakes carefully to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms, and police say that this often leads them to swallow, inject or smoke these drugs while behind the wheel. Media outlets around the country drew attention to the issue in September 2016 when images were published of an Ohio couple who had passed out in their car after using heroin while their young child looked on.

A number of federal agencies have looked into the issue of drugged driving, and the data suggests that the problem is both widespread and growing. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducts an annual survey of drug use and alcohol consumption in the United States, and 10 percent of the respondents in 2014 admitted to driving while under the influence of illicit drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also conducted research in this area. One in five of the drivers tested during a 2014 study conducted by the federal agency were found to be impaired by either illegal drugs or prescription medications.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may pay close attention to medical reports and toxicology test results in impaired driving cases where drug use is alleged. Drugs do not affect the human body in the same way alcohol does, and even blood tests that reveal elevated levels of substances like THC may not be sufficient to prove impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.

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