Nobody is perfect in this world. Many of us may have
experienced going through life and have made a poor decision or two. A person
may have put a meal in the oven and put the timer on too long which ended up
burning the food. Another poor decision may be ironing one’s clothes, left the
iron on the garment to quickly answer the phone in the next room, come back,
and one has a permanent iron stain, which is not the current fashion trend. Or
a person could be making a meal, does not have one or two of the ingredients
that the receipt calls for, continues to prepare and cook the dish, just to end
up ordering Chinese takeout. Opportunities for poor decision making are
endless. Nonetheless, the aftermath of those decisions we are still to be held
accountable for. Some consequences behind poor decision making may go
unnoticed, however making the decision to drive under the influence of a
substance bears consequences that are very noticeable.
On October 24, 2015, Oklahoma State University was
having their annual homecoming parade preparing for a soon to be packed Boone
Pickens Stadium when tragedy struck. According to Cullinane & Conlon (2015)
at 10:31am Adacia Avery Chambers drove her car into a crowd full of people.
Four people were killed which consists of an infant, a 25 year old student, a
retired faulty member and his wife. The total number of individuals that were
hurt in the accident were 47 (Cullinane & Conlon, 2015). “Stillwater police
said Sunday that the car's driver, Adacia Avery Chambers of Stillwater, had
been charged with driving under the influence and remained in the city jail
(Cullinane & Conlon, 2015).”
In the Diagnostic Statistic Manuel 5th
Edition there are eleven behavioral criteria established to identify if a
person has a substance use disorder. The behavioral criteria is divided into
four categories. The 1st category is control impairment, 2nd
social impairment, 3rd self-harm, and 4th pharmacology.
Now a person has to meet at least two of the eleven to receive a substance use
disorder diagnosis. Self-harm has two criterion: 1) recurrent substance use in
situations in which it is physically hazardous, and 2) Substance use is
continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or
psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the
substance. The behavior of driving under the influence is putting oneself in
harm’s way and even if the person doesn’t’ meet the full criteria for having a
substance use disorder, the decision to drive under the influence is a very
poor decision. However driving under the influence happens more times than not.
When individuals drives under the influence their
initial decision to driving under the influence is not to hurt anybody. They
just want to get to where they are going. However, not realizing that they are
putting themselves as well as others in danger.
A seemingly irrelevant decision winds up costing a person their license,
their vehicle, their life, and/or the life or lives of others. It sounds very
disturbing to know that any substance regardless if it is legal or illegal,
people make poor decisions to drive under the influence. Are there substances
that are more likely to be used while driving under the influence? The answer
Bogstrand & Gjerde (2014) conducted a study and
found that certain substances were related to certain consequences while
driving under the influence. For individuals who were arrested due to causing
road crashes and/or suspected impairment, demonstrating dangerous driving or a
phone call was made by fellow motorist, marijuana was the most prevalent among
illicit drugs. For individuals who were arrested due to being involved in an
accident and/or suspected impairment, demonstrating dangerous driving or a
phone call was made by fellow motorist, amphetamine/methamphetamine was the
most prevalent. However, the substance that was the most prevalent among
drivers under the influence regardless of illicit or licit were “amphetamine/methamphetamine, alprazolam,
clonazepam and oxazepam (Bogstrand & Gjerde, 2014, p. 21).” In other words,
prescription medications. Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta are amphetamines.
Alprazolam is Xanax. Clonzepam is Klonopin and oxazepam doesn’t have a brand
name, just generic. Alprazolam, clonzepam, and oxazepam all belong to a family
of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines sedates the central nervous
system, which will enable a person to make slower reactions to stimuli. At the
time of this article, it has not been present to the public what substance the
Avery Chambers, had in her system.
A very simple decision such as taking a substance and
getting behind the wheel is just a dangerous as drinking and driving under the
influence. In either manner, a person does not have full function of their
mental or physical faculties. Those faculties are highly needed when operating
a vehicle. If one choses to use a substance, think of harm reduction and just
stay home. Other who are prescribed medications, take them as prescribed. By
not following one’s prescription, that is considered prescription abuse. Many
times a person never gives thought to what could happen, neither did Adacia
Bogstrand, S.T. & Gjerde, H.
(2014). Which drugs are associated with highest risk for being arrested for
driving under the influence? A case-control study. Forensic Science International. 21–28.
Cullinane, S. & Conlon K. (2015, October 25). Oklahoma state homecoming
crash: Many children, infants hurt. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/25/us/oklahoma-car-into-crowd/index.html
Sloan, F.A., Lindsey, M.E.,
& Davis, D. (2014). Addiction, drinking behavior, and driving under the
influence. Substance Use & Misuse, 49, 661 – 676.