Disturbing research shows car crashes involving narcotics, particularly synthetic opioids, are skyrocketing amid the national addiction crisis.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database reveals the opioid epidemic increasingly threatens the lives of everyone on American roadways. An analysis by Alcohol.org, a website for information on alcohol abuse, found that traffic accidents linked to fentanyl are experiencing a particularly sharp increase, up 304 percent since 2007, according to their report.
Roughly 170 accidents involving fentanyl proved fatal between 2015 and 2016. While fentanyl accidents had the largest spike, the analysis also found steep rises in accidents linked to a range of other substances over the past decade. Traffic fatalities linked to the painkiller oxycodone rose by 134 percent, traffic deaths from amphetamines increased by 110 percent and those linked to methamphetamines jumped by 110 percent.
“The number of fatal car crashes related to the opioid crisis is shocking-particularly with regard to the steep increase in accidents associated with fentanyl,” a spokesman for Alcohol.org told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “While a fatal overdose can have long lasting effects on the family and friends of a victim, drugged driving accidents impact a far wider audience and put everyone on the road at risk of being the next victim of an opioid overdose.”
The study results reflect previous research showing a surge in deaths linked to prescription painkillers as a result of the worsening opioid epidemic. A study released July 27, 2017 found the opioid scourge is making roadways across the U.S. more dangerous, accounting for a 700 percent increase in traffic deaths.
Researchers from Columbia University in New York City investigated more than two decades of data from the FARS database, with a specific focus on prescription opioids.
Authorities in states across the country say they are witnessing more accidents linked to drivers using painkillers, heroin and fentanyl due to the addiction crisis.
Fentanyl overtook heroin as the U.S.’s deadliest substance in 2016, claiming 19,413 lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.
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