Characteristics of Prescription-Opioid-Impaired and Other Substance-Impaired Drivers in Rural Appalachian Kentucky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Previous studies have highlighted the prescription opioid epidemic in rural Appalachia and its associated risk behaviors; however, no studies have examined prescription-opioid-impaired driving as a consequence of this epidemic. The purpose of the present study was to describe prescription-opioid-impaired drivers in rural Appalachian Kentucky and examine how they are similar to and different from other substance-impaired drivers from the region. A sample of convicted DUI offenders from rural Appalachian Kentucky completed a confidential research interview focused on their substance use, mental health, and criminal activity. Prescription-opioid-impaired drivers (n = 33) were compared to other drug-impaired drivers (n = 29) and to alcohol-only-impaired drivers (n = 44). Overall, prescription-opioid-impaired drivers had a similar prevalence of illicit substance use and criminal activity, including impaired driving frequency, to other drug-impaired drivers, but had a higher prevalence of illicit substance use and more frequent impaired driving when compared to alcohol-only-impaired drivers. Study implications include the importance of comprehensive substance abuse assessment and treatment for DUI offenders and the need for tailored interventions for prescription-opioid-impaired and other drug-impaired drivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 20 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Impaired driving
  • prescription opioids
  • rural Appalachia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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