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The Rise of Drug and Alcohol Fatalities

May 17, 2018

 

TAMARIA WILLIAMS
Staff Reporter | tmw055@ latech.edu

 

Driving under the influence has become a growing problem for Americans today.

 

According to alcohol.org, methamphetamine was the top substance involved in car fatalities in Louisiana two years ago.

 

“Louisiana is ranked third in the U.S. for the most drugged fatalities according to our data,” a representative from alcohol.org said. “This may be due to the massive increase in amphetamine-related accidents in Louisiana, which is up 2,200 percent since 2006.”

 

Louisiana is ranked fourth in the U.S. for the most fatal accidents caused by drugs or alcohol. Since 2007, marijuana has taken a significant increase by 61.1 percent of being the top cause of car accidents.

 

“Marijuana accidents are up 471 percent in the last decade, while fatal accidents due to amphetamines are up over 2,000 percent,” the alcohol.org representative said. “The deadliest days and hours to be a driver in Louisiana are between 11 p.m. Saturday night and 3 a.m. Sunday morning, when many bars close their doors.”

 

The deadly opioid fentanyl caused more than 170 car crashes in 2015 and 2016. Since 2007, there has been an increase of this drug involvement in car fatalities by over 304 percent.

 

Although Louisiana ranks lower in car crashes involving alcohol only, fatalities involving drugs are steadily on the rise.

 

“As the number of fatalities from drugged driving accidents rises, the need for more immediate drug intervention as well as education about the effects of intoxicating substances becomes essential,” they said. “Being armed with as much information as possible will hopefully lead to a decrease in drug related road deaths.”

 

Emily Thibodeaux, counselor and coordinator of alcohol and other drug education at Louisiana Tech, said the CORE survey administered last year to Tech students reported different forms of misconduct, including troubles with driving while under the influence and driving while intoxicated.

 

“20.3 percent of our students reported some form of public misconduct at least once during the past year as a result of drinking or drug use,” she said. “.3 percent of students have been arrested for DWI or DUI and 13.8 percent have driven a car while under the influence.”

 

Thibodeaux said students are more prone to alcohol and drugs now more than ever.

 

“I believe that children do not fully understand the consequences that they could face with getting in the car under the influence,” she said. “There are also drive-thru daiquiris shops that other states do not have. I think that this makes the drug and alcohol fatalities increase throughout our state.”

 

Thibodeaux said she believes there should be more education on how drugs and alcohol can affect your ability to think clearly.

 

“The counseling center here at Tech is also trying to begin a campus collation to have students and faculty begin the process of finding different ways to educate and improve the drug and alcohol awareness on campus,” she said. “My goal in being the drug and alcohol counselor is to make sure that students are educated on what can happen if they continue down the path of ‘experimenting’ with illegal drugs and testing the limits with their alcohol use.”

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