Quarter of All Drivers Under the Influence

A new Nationwide Report Estimates that also reveals that 6-7 percent of adults in several states and the District of Columbia drove under the influence of illicit drugs at least once in the past year.

A first-of-its-kind national report reveals that 15.1 percent of the nation’s drivers age 18 and older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year. The report says that in some states the levels are far higher – about one in four drivers.

Nationwide, an estimated 30.5 million people aged 12 or older drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year according to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Driving under the influence ranged from a low of 9.5 percent in Utah, to highs of 26.4 percent in Wisconsin, 24.9 percent in North Dakota and 23.5 percent in Minnesota.

The report also shows that nationwide nearly one in 20 adult drivers aged 18 or older drove under the influence of illicit drugs such as marijuana/hashish, cocaine/crack, inhalants, hallucinogens, heroin or prescription drugs used nonmedically.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were almost 16,700 deaths in 2004 caused by accidents related to driving under the influence of alcohol. Overall, driving under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs is among the leading sources of preventable death by injury in the United States.

“This report highlights the enormous public health risk posed by this problem – one threatening the lives of many Americans every day,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “By highlighting the scope and nature of this problem in each state we can help communities best use their efforts and resources to address this preventable menace.”

Read more about substance abuse.

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