Arizona drug-related DUIs rising

Arizona Republic as well as other news outlets reported some stats recently; year-over-year alcohol DUI arrests were down, while drug DUI were up. The comparison to 2003 was startling — the number of arrests is up some twenty fold(! can that really be?). Actually looking at the (limited amount of) data, it looks like for some reason, 2011 was unusually high — perhaps some extra funding for DUI task force activity? Just a guess.

Coincidentally, i am reading One for the Road: Drunk Driving Since 1900 / Barron H. Lerner. There is a presentation here that sort of outlines the book. Though the author is an epidemiologist, the book is written more from a historian’s point of view. Very interesting. lots of non-obvious twists and turns and unlikely alliances. For example, in the early 1980’s both MADD (whom everybody knows) and RID (Remove Intoxicated Drivers) were both rapidly growing grassroots movements; MADD when on to grow enormously and achieved national stature whereas RID withered. MADD choose to take (beverage) industry money and also aligned themselves with media groups (e.g. NAB, National Assoc of Broadcasters) whereas RID went the opposite way. Media groups were opposed to nascent advertizing limitation. As a result MADD got infinite exposure, and RID got none.

Arizona drug-related DUIs rising

By Jim Walsh The Republic |
Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:55 AM

A growing percentage of arrests statewide for driving under the influence are related to prescription and illicit drugs, not alcohol, authorities say.

Overall DUI arrests are down, but authorities attribute the surge in DUI drug arrests to a combination of better enforcement and the continuing fallout from the prescription-drug epidemic.

Arizona has nearly 500 officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment, compared with only a few two decades ago. [called a DRE, Drug Recognition Expert; see here for more about DREs and here for more in particular about rising impairment via prescription drugs ] … read the rest of the Arizona Republi article…

also: SE Valley task force makes DUI drug arrests

Since the AZ republic graphic is bound to disappear, here is the data from the bar chart:

  • year: 2003 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012
  • # of alcohol DUI arrests statewide: 1008 / 17679 / 28865 / 24103
  • # of drug DUI arrests statewide: 221 / 1674 / 3576 / 4001