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Officials Seeing a Rise in Drivers Under the Influence of Drugs

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It's something that the U.S. Department of Transportation is seeing and so are officials in our area, a rise in what they call "drugged driving".

The National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, which has been conducted six times since 1973, is showing that while drinking and driving is down, illegal drug use and getting behind the wheel is on the up. Locally, law enforcement agencies have begun training more officers to become what's called drug recognition experts. Experts say that while those driving under the influence of marijuana tend to be younger males, there's also the issue of opiate and prescription drug use.

Chris Marion, the Broome County Stop DWI Coordinator said: "One, they don't think officers will be able to detect they're stoned. They think that they put the visine in, put on the ace, they're going to cover up all of the signs. But the officers we have, especially the DRE's are well trained in looking for the impairment and looking for what your body's doing, things that you don't even know you're doing."
Kevin Griffiths, Broome County Sheriff's Deputy, said: "Unfortunately for our area, I see a lot of people who are impaired by opiates, whether that's a prescription opiates, whether that's a prescription drug medication or heroin. And I've seen a lot of impaired drivers on that, on heroin."


Testing for the presence of illegal drugs, prescription medicines and over the counter drugs was conducted for the first time in 2007, so officials say that the rise in arrests of those impaired behind the wheel may just be because the recognition has become better in recent years.