Many have called the illegal use and abuse of prescription opioids an epidemic. It can lead to criminal activity, injury and even fatal overdoses. People get addicted to these medications and cannot break it, doing things they never would have done while sober.

It is important to note that experts have now linked the opioid epidemic to car accidents. Researchers noted that there has been a “significant increase” in the amount of people who get involved in accidents and then test positive for these high-caliber painkillers. They called it an “urgent public health concern.”

Everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous. What you must understand is that driving while under the influence of prescription medications can be equally dangerous. As the amount of use and addiction continues to climb, that could lead to many traffic injuries and fatalities.

Even looking at prescription use shows a massive increase over the decades. For instance, in 1991, about 76 million people had prescriptions for drugs like hydrocodone (Vicoprofen), morphine and oxycodone (OxyContin). In 2014, research found that there were almost 300 million people with these prescriptions. The total amount had quadrupled.

Even those who use these medications legally, with a prescription, could cause accidents if they drive under the influence. On top of that, legal use often leads to addiction, which then leads to abuse. It is a dangerous cycle that puts everyone on the highway at risk.

If you do get involved in an accident with a driver who is under the influence, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek out financial compensation.