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The Opioid Crisis and Truck Drivers

Pills falling out of prescription pill bottle

It’s no secret that the opioid crisis in the U.S. has skyrocketed immensely. As of March 2018 it was estimated that over 115 people die each day due to an opioid overdose. This extreme epidemic is not concentrated to one area of the nation or to one group of people, it’s widespread. This, unfortunately, does not exclude truck drivers around the U.S. Opioid users that drive commercial and cargo trucks are a danger to everyone. They endanger their own life, others on the road, and the company they work for, as they become a liability when they are not following safe driving laws.

Currently, the truck driving industry is facing issues with current or past opioid users. Drivers are claiming safety under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to avoid being fired for drug usage. You may be shocked as to how this could happen. As were we. Not all opioids are considered illegal drugs, some are prescription drugs. They become an issue or an addiction when they are misused or taken without a prescription. The ADA has somewhat loose definitions of disabilities, of which people can claim to be using opioids for, such as:

  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as asthma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Epilepsy
  • Mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety

While these are by no means minor conditions, they do not specify to the degree or length of time experienced. All that a person is required to provide in order to be protected by the ADA is one of the following:

  • A physician examination
  • Treatment notes or reports by a professional
  • MRI
  • CAT scan
  • X-ray
  • Mental health records
  • Blood work

What all this means is that it is risky for a trucking and/or cargo business to fire someone based on past or current opioid usage if they are protected by the ADA. They will have to thoroughly prove that their employee is either using on the job to a dangerous degree, abusing their prescription or that they are unable to successfully complete their work duties due to their opioid addiction/usage.

Prescription drug abuse can greatly alter a person’s cognitive decision making skills, and therefore pose a great threat to fellow pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on the road. If you or someone you love has been involved in an accident caused by a person using drugs, get help today. Your family should not suffer due to the carelessness of another. Even if the driver is protected by the ADA, we will be able to guide you through your case with justice as a result. For more information or for a consultation, please do not hesitate to call our offices today.

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