WV Law Enforcement Sees a Spike in Drugged Drivers

Archives
13423466_G_1342346671

After the Beckley Police Department makes more than 200 DUI arrests last year, officers said it’s not just drunk drivers out on the roads. Law enforcement agencies are starting to see more drugged drivers out on the roads compared to drunk drivers.

As a police officer for more than seven years, Joey Koher is no stranger to the drug problem throughout the state. Koher said he seen an impaired driver out on the road almost every week during DUI checks .

“We used to see blood shot eyes, slurred speech, and alcohol odor, the catch all phrase for impaired drivers,” said the West Virginia State Coordinator for the Drug Recognition Expert Program, Joey Koher. 

Koher said there’s been a change in what they see in drivers during DUI checks. Officers see less drunk drivers, but more drivers who are drugged up. “Burns on the lips with injection marks,” said Koher.

It’s those drug-related symptoms police now see in drivers on a day-to-day basis. “Since 2011, we’ve had a little under 4% of our DUI arrests were drug related and now in 2016 it’s 32%” said Koher.

Law enforcement throughout West Virginia said the most common drugs they see are opioids, heroin and methamphetamine. Departments said this isn’t only concerning but it’s a danger to everyone out on the road. “There are going to be additional crashes- there are going to be people passed out on intersections, there’s just a huge highway safety that they offer,” said Koher.

While there’s no simple breathalyzer test to determine if a person is high on drugs, there are measures law enforcement takes to see if a driver’s impaired. “We look at some of their cognitive issues, their physical issues, their speech patterns,” said Koher.

By taking those precautions, Koher hopes to educate other law enforcement agencies on what to do and to prevent what could be a deadly situation on the road.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Stories

Two men caught on camera, wanted in Beckley burglary case

Thumbnail for the video titled "Two men caught on camera, wanted in Beckley burglary case"

Princeton wrestling on the rise

Thumbnail for the video titled "Princeton wrestling on the rise"

Investigators believe gang activity involved in Mercer County homicide

Thumbnail for the video titled "Investigators believe gang activity involved in Mercer County homicide"

New recovery facility opens in Princeton

Thumbnail for the video titled "New recovery facility opens in Princeton"

New three digit hotline to prevent suicide

Thumbnail for the video titled "New three digit hotline to prevent suicide"

No charges filed in Greenbrier County shooting

Thumbnail for the video titled "No charges filed in Greenbrier County shooting"