Law Enforcement Sees Uptick In Drug DUI Cases

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says troopers are seeing a rise in prescription-related and THC related DUI's.

Sunday, January 1st 2023, 10:54 pm

This time of year, law enforcement is always working to crack down on drinking and driving.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had checkpoints set up across the state on New Year's weekend to ensure people are staying safe on the roads during the holidays. But they tell News 9 they're seeing an increase of people driving under the influence of more than just alcohol.

“When I say drunk driving, you immediately think alcohol, but the numbers don't indicate that. The numbers that we're seeing very much indicate other things as well," said Trooper Eric Foster with Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“The numbers are starting to shift where THC is very much involved in these crashes that we're seeing, where it's combined with alcohol," said Foster.

News9 legal analyst Irven Box says he’s also seen an increase of clients who were arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana.

“A lot of people think because they have a medical card, they can consume it, but the idea is still there that it's a hallucinogenic or something that affects their ability to drive, so it's still against the law," said Box.

Foster says they have also seen an increase in people driving under the influence of prescription pills or medication. He says when he pulls people over on the influence of these drugs, they commonly tell him that they have a prescription from a doctor; but he reminds us that it's still illegal to drive under the influence of those drugs.

“As troopers we see it all the time, these injury collisions on our interstates across Oklahoma that are involving not just illegal substances but legal substances and substances where people have been prescribed. It doesn't matter if it is intoxicating," said Foster.

Both Box and Foster say the safest course of action is not to drive at all if you're under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or anything that will impact your ability to drive.

“I tell clients all the time with this money that you're paying me today, you could have got an Uber, you could have done all sorts of things with the money instead of getting a DUI and facing penalties of going to jail and losing your license," said Box.

“With the technology we have today, there's absolutely no reason for you to be operating a motor vehicle on the roadway after being intoxicated," said Foster.

We are still waiting for the crash statistics from OHP from 2022, but according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2021 more than 400 people died in drug or alcohol related crashes in Oklahoma.

During the 2021 New Year’s holiday, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported 479 non-fatal crashes statewide, 34 of which involved alcohol or drugs.


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