The opioid crisis, by nearly all accounts, has turned into an epidemic. While opioid medication may be prescribed with the best of intentions, the addictive nature of the medication too often results in patients becoming dependent on the medication. Indeed, it is estimated that 20-30% of all patients who are prescribed opioids abuse the medication. Considering that there are approximately 214 million prescriptions written each year for opioid medication, the number of people who abuse the medication is staggering.
The “high” that opioid users get from the medication impairs their ability to drive. It is commonly understood that opioids cause drowsiness and impair cognitive functioning. Users may have a hard time fighting off sleep, and they can “nod off” unexpectedly. At the same time, the drug reduces the user’s ability to make rational decisions. Given the number of people who take opioid medication and the significant effects it has on their ability to drive a car safely, it is no surprise that opioids are involved in an estimated 20% of all drugged driving accidents.
If a driver who is under the effects of opioid medication causes a Maryland motorcycle accident, victims who were injured in the accident can pursue a claim for compensation against the driver. Importantly, it is not essential for the purposes of a personal injury case for the victim to prove that the at-fault driver was taking the drug illegally; the relevant question is whether the driver was legally negligent. Driving under the influence of opioid medication – even if prescribed – may constitute negligence and can be the basis of a Maryland personal injury lawsuit.