Growth of Pill Mills May Foreshadow New DUI Accident Epidemic


December 03, 2011

A frightening new trend threatens to make the roads of Atlanta more dangerous. “Pill mills” that have proliferated in Florida are now starting to crop up in Georgia. A study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that during a recent ten-year period abuse of prescription painkillers increased 400 percent.

This rise in the use and abuse of prescription pain medications has fostered the development of so called pill mills. Pill mills have become widespread in Florida and are starting to spring up in the suburbs of Georgia. A pill mill was shutdown last month in Cartersville, the seat of Bartow County and a Cherokee County residence was found to have served as a distribution site for a counterfeit prescription drug operation.

There has long been speculation about the reasons that elderly drivers have such a high rate of being involved in serious auto accidents. Although there have been many theories advanced about why the accident rate amongst elderly drivers is so high, a Canadian study suggests that the widespread use and abuse of prescription drugs may play a role in high auto accident rates amongst elderly drivers.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal reviewed data associated with 225,000 people ages 67 to 84. The study revealed a 45 percent increase in car accidents resulting in injury involving elderly adults who took a long-acting group of prescription drugs. The prescription medications linked to higher auto accident rates are those that have a longer effect on the body, which can stay in the bloodstream in excess of 24 hours. The vulnerability of elderly to prescription abuse is reflected by the fact that older adults only constitute 13 percent of the population but account for a full third of all prescription medications, though this also is likely related to age-based health differences.

Many prescription drugs being abused by elderly drivers result in delayed reaction time and impaired nervous system function including pain medications, sleep aids and anti-anxiety drugs. Regardless of age, any drivers who are abusing certain prescription pain medications are not fully alert drivers that can help make our Georgia roadways safe from serious auto accidents.

A substantial number of law enforcement authorities view prescription drug abuse as a problem that is going to get much worse. “Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in America,” according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “Look in your family medicine cabinet and you’ll see the threat: Old and unused bottles of narcotic painkillers, sedatives, tranquilizers and stimulants.”

Habitual users of alcohol are disproportionately responsible for alcohol-related auto accidents. Unfortunately studies show that habitual users fighting an addiction are not as responsive to criminal penalties designed to keep drunk drivers off the roads. It is reasonable to presume that those suffering from prescription drug addiction may also be less responsive to DUI laws, but the data on this issue is not yet firmly established.

If you or someone close to you suffers serious injury or is a wrongful death victim, the Georgia DUI injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates fight for the financial compensation that our clients need in the aftermath of a serious Georgia DUI auto accident. Drug impaired drivers pose a serious risk to everyone on the road so we frequently seek punitive damages in such cases to discourage future acts of driving under the influence.

Our Atlanta DUI accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.