Addiction and Truck Drivers: Opioid Use Can Pose a Risk
VAN ZANDT, Texas. According to Trucking Info, truck safety organizations are pushing to increase drug testing among truck drivers to include opioid use. The opioid epidemic has affected individuals across the country from all walks of life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every day, approximately 115 people die due to opioid overdose. Opioid addiction and misuse has been estimated to lead to $78.5 billion in lost productivity, healthcare costs, and other losses.
Truck drivers are not immune. In fact, their long work hours, long periods of time sitting, and the fact that they may be required to occasionally perform heavy lifting tasks, may make them more likely to experience pain. When truck drivers visit the doctor, they might be prescribed prescription opioids, which could later put them at risk for addiction. In fact, as many as 21 to 29 percent of patients who are prescribed opioids end up misusing them at some point. Some of these individuals can go on to develop an opioid use disorder, and as many as 6 percent of people on prescription opioids will switch to using heroin. Safety experts want to perform more detailed tests on truck drivers to ensure that they are not addicted or abusing opioids. After all, opioid use can affect a person’s alertness and ability to perform well behind the wheel.
Experts believe that current drug testing methods for truck drivers are not sufficient to identify problems. There was a disparity found between hair analysis positive results and urine testing results. Truck drivers are required to pass urine tests. When Brazil required its truck drivers to pass hair tests, 1 million drivers failed this test. How many truck drivers might be driving in America who would fail a hair test? Opioids can leave a person’s system after just a few hours, unable to be detected with a urine test. However, the evidence of opioids in a person’s system can be found as long as three months after a person has used. Currently, truck drivers are tested for four opioids by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a pre-employment requirement. Yet, unless drivers took these drugs just hours before testing, a simple urine test might not be sufficient to identify a problem.
The trucking industry notes that its drivers may be suffering from hidden (and even not hidden, in some cases) opioid addiction. More frequent testing and more rigorous testing that includes hair analysis methods could increase detection rates.
Until the truck industry gets better at detecting addicted drivers, individuals will continue to get hurt due to drugged drivers. If you or a loved one was hurt in a truck accident due to the negligence of a drugged driver, you may have the right to seek compensation under the law. Speak to the truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm in Van Zandt, Texas today. There are many factors that can contribute to a truck accident. Drug addiction is one of them. Visit us at https://www.cooper-law-firm.com/. Our lawyers can review your case and offer you an honest assessment of your claim.
Cooper Law Firm
501 N Third St,
Longview, TX 75601
Telephone: (903) 297-0037