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There are many ways to measure and analyze the opioid crisis that has shrouded the United States of America in discomfort and outrage for many years. It appears that few proactive and effective measures are being taken to address the crisis. This is reflected in this staggering statistic: about 100 million people in the U.S. took some form of prescription opioid in 2015. These drugs are too widely available and they do far too much damage to public health.

Beyond the obvious personal harm that opioids can do, how else does the opioid affect public safety? Researchers at Columbia University set out to discover just that by looking at car accidents, fatalities, and the people who tested positive for opioids over a multi-decade period of time.

According to this study, which looked at fatal traffic accidents in states that had drug testing laws, there was remarkable consistency (as well as very low rates) in the consumption of opioids from 1995 to 1999.

In traffic accidents, both men and women that died in these wrecks tested positive for opioids about 1 percent of the time. But if you fast forward to the time period of 2010 to 2015, the numbers explode. About 5 percent of men killed in accidents tested positive for opioids, and even more women (7 percent) tested positive for opioids under the same conditions.

Drivers that are under the influence of drugs are willfully taking their lives, and the lives of others, into their own intoxicated hands. Such behavior is negligent and can be established with a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: The Drive, “Prescription Opioid-Related Fatal Car Crashes Spike in U.S., Study Says,” Kyle Cheromcha, July 31, 2017

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Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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