A hearse was struck and subsequently flipped over several times when it was part of a funeral procession in metro Atlanta. Troy Hickey was the driver of the vehicle that caused the crash and is accused of ignoring officers who were directing traffic, causing him to slam into the funeral procession. The funeral was for 90-year-old Evelyn Mary Osborne, whose family commented that she protected them in death as her vehicle was hit rather than the limo they were riding in.
As a result of the accident, two funeral directors were taken to the hospital and their conditions are unknown. After investigating the accident, police suspect Hickey of using Methadone, a synthetic opioid. Hickey admitted to using Methadone three weeks before the accident, but police observed "fresh track marks" on his arms.
A drug DUI charge, whether as a result of Methadone or another drug is extremely serious. An experienced Georgia DUI attorney can defend your case to protect your rights.
What is Methadone?
Created during World War II, Methadone is an opioid and was previously used to treat people with extreme pain. Today, physicians use the drug to help treat individuals addicted to heroin or other narcotic painkillers.
How Does Methadone Work?
Methadone works similarly to morphine. It changes the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain, causing a feeling of "relief" of the pain. It is slower-acting than morphine but blocks the feelings of pain caused by injury or other causes of pain.
It is also used to block the intoxicating effects of other opioids, such as codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone.
Because of this "blocking" effect, methadone is commonly used in place of these other drugs, preventing withdrawal symptoms, and allowing a person to wean themselves off of harder drugs.
Side Effects of Methadone
When methadone is used as prescribed, it is unlikely to affect a person's ability to drive, but abuse of the drug can cause side effects which may lead to an accident, such as
- depressed respiration,
- loss of consciousness, and
- cardiac issues.
Extremely high use of methadone, well above prescribed levels, can even result in death. These side effects may lead a person to be intoxicated while driving, and therefore subject to a charge of DUI or other related offense, such as
- vehicular homicide,
- following too closely,
- failure to maintain lane,
- hit and run, and
- fleeing or attempting to elude police officers.
Contact an Experienced Georgia DUI Attorney
The use of methadone and other drugs can have a serious effect on a person's ability to drive. However, the legal use of methadone as part of your treatment may not have had an effect on your ability to drive, meaning you were not intoxicated.