Stay Away From Prescription Drugs and Avoid Fatal Car Accidents

A new CDC report offers just another reason to avoid prescription drugs, particularly with so many people hitting the roads in a couple of weeks for the Christmas holidays: A higher incidence of fatal car accidents.

In a marked increase from earlier studies comparing the various causes of death in American car accidents, the prevalence of drug use in fatalities was virtually equal to that of excessive alcohol. What's more, about 11 percent of drivers tested positive for both substances.

If you thought the majority of drugs associated with fatal car crashes were illegal ones, up to this newest study, you'd be right. Unfortunately, opioid analgesics (Oxycontin) and depressants (Diazepam) were far more common (about 16 percent) than marijuana (8.5 percent) or cocaine and amphetamines (5.5 percent). And, more than 9 percent of deaths were related to antihistamines and antidepressants.

Before you prepare for a trip across town or to Grandmother's house a thousand miles away, I urge you to take a look at my general guidelines for avoiding drug dependency and staying healthy safely.

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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report December 8, 2006 Free Full Text Study