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Non-Alcohol DUIs On the Rise in Oklahoma

by Will Long

January 18, 2023
Woman blowing into breathalyzer.

Drugged Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges are on the rise in Oklahoma. These arrests are quickly gaining ground statistically and making a significant impact on roadways throughout the state, so much so that law enforcement is taking note. With recent New Year’s DUI checkpoints having been successful in mitigating the risk on the road over the holiday weekend, Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is on a mission to get the word out about the increasingly prevalent issue.

Arrests For “Drugged Driving” Increase in OK

“When I say drunk driving, you immediately think alcohol, but the numbers don’t indicate that,” State Trooper Eric Foster told Oklahoma City’s News 9. “The numbers that we’re seeing very much indicate other things as well. As troopers we see it all the time, these injury collisions on our interstates across Oklahoma that are involving not just illegal substances but legal substances and substances where people have been prescribed. It doesn’t matter if it is intoxicating.”

Marijuana Showing Up as an Intoxicant During Stops in Oklahoma

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is showing up more and more in crashes investigated by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that causes the symptoms of use commonly referred to as a marijuana high. Those who use medical marijuana are getting high and then behind the wheel, only to find out that it’s very much illegal despite being aware of the risks. One reason for this is the prevalence of medical marijuana cards that give users the impression it makes driving after suing legal marijuana products legal.

A Prescription Doesn’t Make It Okay to Drive

For those who may have taken a mind-altering prescription drug, make sure you make wise choices and check with your doctor about whether it’s fine for you to drive on a particular medication. This may include making use of ride-sharing apps like Uber or Lyft so you can avoid the possibility of legal penalties if caught. This prevents embarrassing situations where you end up with a DUI charge during a traffic stop because you didn’t realize that a prescription medication you took that morning was causing you to drive recklessly.

Just because you have a prescription for a particular drug doesn’t mean that you have permission to drive on the roads under the influence of a mind-altering substance. Still, refraining from driving under the influence of alcohol is paramount. The number of those who drive under the influence of alcohol is much higher than those who drive under the influence of drugs, like marijuana or prescription drugs.

Alcohol-Related Crashes in Oklahoma

In 2021, Oklahoma had over 400 drug- and alcohol-related vehicular crash deaths. During New Year’s 2021, OHP reported that there were 479 non-fatal crashes over the weekend, with 34 being drug- and alcohol-related.

Oklahoma Vehicle Crash Summary

Crash Types Statewide 2020 Statewide 2021 Alcohol-Related Crashes 2020 Alcohol-Related Crashes 2021
Total Crashes 61,739 66,074 2,949 2,869
Injury Crashes 18,808 20,678 1,142 1,191
Fatal Crashes 602 681 176 175


Learn More About Addiction Treatment

If you have an issue with driving under the influence and need help achieving recovery, give Landmark Recovery of Oklahoma City a call at 405-896-8426 today. Our dedicated admissions specialists can help you get the treatment you need as soon as possible. We’re on a mission to save a million lives in the next century, starting with those in our very own Oklahoma backyard.

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About the Author

Will Long

Will Long

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Long has been a writer for Landmark Recovery since 2021. He specializes in research and writing about substance abuse from a scientific and social perspective. Unearthing information from underexplored, far-flung corners of the Internet, Long’s passion is finding emerging trends in substance use and treatment that the public should know about.