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1 in 4 traffic deaths in Washington area in 2016 linked to alcohol and drugs, says report

Consumption of alcohol and drugs affects various faculties of a person, impairing his/her ability to take quick decisions, much required when driving. The impairment can make driving a risky affair, putting both the driver and others in danger. A recent report on traffic crashes in Washington area revealed that one in every four fatal crashes in 2016 were linked to alcohol or drugs.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program report, recently presented before the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, said that more than 39,000 people were injured in traffic accidents in 2016, of which 245 were killed. Further, traffic related deaths rose significantly in Northern Virginia, increased slightly in the District of Columbia (DC) and dropped in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. A total of 92,000 crashes were registered in the region and about 4,400 were attributed to alcohol or drugs, while others were tied to various reasons like distracted driving. The number of crashes are outdoing population growth, said Kurt Erickson, president of nonprofit Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).

The report found that people under 21 years were also involved in impaired driving. Such drivers caused 331 crashes, three deaths, 194 injuries and 568 arrests. Moreover, there was a significant increase in the number of injuries and crashes survived by people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Alcohol and drug related crashes can be prevented

All such accidents can be prevented, said Erickson. Suggestions to check such fatalities and crashes include having a higher number of sobriety checkpoints and patrols and an increased number of anti-drunk driving campaigns, and encouraging calling a cab or making use of on-demand transportation services like Uber or Lyft.

Some of the strategies that can help in checking driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are:

  1. Ensuring that one has a friend or a companion who is not high on drugs or alcohol and who can drive one back.
  2. If the option of having a sober driver is not available, it is better to go for either public transport, car pools or on-call cab service.
  3. If one is high on drugs, alcohol or any other substance, one must not travel and should try sleeping over at either a nearby hotel or at the house of the host.
  4. The host of the party should take the keys of all the attendees, returning them to only those who are sober and capable of driving back home.
  5. If one has to drive back, stay away from drugs and alcohol and instead, consume non-alcoholic beverages.
  6. Eating a proper meal before drinking. This will fill one’s stomach, limiting the amount of alcohol consumed.

Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse

All said and done, it is a fact that alcohol and drug abuse can lead to dependence with devastating short- and long-term effects. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), 20.1 million Americans, aged 12 years or older, had a substance use disorder (SUD), including more than 15 million with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and nearly 7.5 million people with an illicit drug use disorder (DUD).

If you or a loved one is battling an addiction to alcohol, drugs or any other substance, professional help should be sought at the earliest. The 24/7 Recovery Helpline can help you learn more about inpatient alcohol treatment centers and get you connected to the best residential drug treatment centers offering evidence-based treatment programs. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 441-4405 or chat online with our trained representatives for further information.

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