Crash Highlights Problem of Drugged Driving - 8 News NOW

Crash Highlights Problem of Drugged Driving

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LAS VEGAS - Prescription drugs are partially to blame for a crash last month during which a driver drove his vehicle into the Egg & I restaurant, injuring 10 people.

The Egg & I is scheduled to reopen Monday, but the problem of drugged driving in Las  Vegas persists.

Police say 18-year-old Gage Lindsey told them he blacked out and awoke with his car sticking out of the restaurant. Police say he abused Xanax and drove.

While Nevada Highway Patrol says the number of people driving on prescription medication is not increasing, it remains consistent around the valley and among all age groups.

A blood test determines a person's impairment from medication. If someone is driving erratically, he or she can be charged with DUI. Sometimes, a driver can be high on medication in the middle of the day. Other times, it could be someone taking his or her recommended dosage.

"Those that have grown a tolerance to that medication, they will increase those dosage," said Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Loy Hixson. "From there, they get the misconception that they can operate a vehicle safely, and they get behind a wheel, and they can cause an accident or other and can be arrested."

Young people have been behind the wheel during many of these crashes. Dr. Mel Pohl with Las Vegas Recovery Center calls prescription drug abuse an epidemic. He says enough pain killers circulate the U.S. to give every adult a pill six times a day for a month. He says curbing prescription drug abuse starts in your medicine cabinet.

"Treat them with respect. Treat them as a weapon," he said. "Would you leave an open knife around your youngster? These can be used as weapons, and that's what happened in this case. A young man got intoxicated, drove a car out of control and hurt people."

Studies show more than half of teens get their hands on pills through their parents' medicine cabinets. Dr. Pohl says people can call local police stations to see if they can take any unused medication.

If you want to keep your medication, lock it up and hide it from other people. Studies also show talking with your kids about prescription drug abuse can be beneficial.

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