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Mesa Police: DUI arrests for prescription drugs are on the rise

(Facebook photo/City of Mesa Police Department)

PHOENIX — Mesa police officers are encountering more people driving under the influence of substances other than alcohol.

“Impaired driving by alcohol is still around,” Mesa Police Officer George Chwe told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“But one of the most prevalent things out there right now are prescription drug medications and illicit drugs that people are consuming and operating a motor vehicle.”

Chwe said up to 70 percent of DUI arrests in Mesa are for drugs, and the rest are for alcohol. He said it’s similar to what’s happening across the state.

Xanax and Oxycodone are among the most common prescription drugs contributing to DUI arrests, according to Chwe.

He added that drugs like meth, heroin and marijuana are likewise fueling DUI arrests.

Chwe also serves as a state coordinator for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety’s drug enforcement and DUI programs, and advises people who need to take prescription drugs to check the side effects with their doctors to see if it could impair their driving.

“Just call them and let them know every effect that you have from it,” he said.

“If you just stay quiet and think that’s the norm, you never know if you’re involved in an accident and somebody dies and now you’re looking at a severe charge.”

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