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Drugged Driving Becoming More Prevalent Than Drunk Driving

National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to Focus on Growing Epidemic

December 17, 2015
Chicago, IL

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and also the time of year for holiday parties, family gatherings and travel. During this time, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers wants to provide a reminder of the risks associated with driving under the influence of alcohol as well as drugs – not just illicit drugs, but prescription and over the counter medications too.

Unfortunately, many people have the misconception that driving under the influence of alcohol is worse than driving while impaired by substances such as marijuana or prescription medication.

"There has been a reduction in drinking and driving due to decades of concerted efforts between local, state and federal governments, safety advocates and law enforcement," said Gateway President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Britton. "During National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, Gateway wants to continue to highlight drunk driving issues, while also exercising the same vigilance towards the issue of drugged driving."

As the overall number of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States declines, the percentage of drugged drivers involved in these accidents increases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey, more than 22 percent of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

The spike in the percentage of drugged drivers is concerning, and in recent years, safety advocates and political figures, including the President of the United States, have done their part to emphasize this topic.

In his 2014 National Impaired Driving Prevention Month Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama stated that his administration is working to keep drugged drivers off the road and help bolster law enforcement officials' ability to identify drug-impaired drivers.

"One of the first steps to overcoming this drugged driving epidemic is to educate the public about substance abuse and treatment options," said Britton. "Efforts like National Impaired Driving Prevention Month help bring these issues to the forefront and provide Gateway with an opportunity to educate."

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Reporters and Editors, for more information, please call Leslie Colman, Marketing Director, at 630-776-5725.