DUIs Spike Dramatically In Eugene

Oct 5, 2016

The rate of DUI arrests for drugs has shot up considerably in Eugene, according to police.  And as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the rate involving drugs and alcohol is even higher.

Credit Flickr.com's Del Scorcho

A Eugene police spokesman says cases of people driving under the influence of drugs are up 86 percent from a two-year average.  Cases of drugs and alcohol are up 138 percent.

EPD officer Travis Cooper says there’s been growth in such DUIs in states where cannabis has been legalized, namely Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.  

Eugene Police Department officer Travis Cooper.
Credit Brian Bull

“At the same time legalization has occurred, there’s been this growth in the marijuana concentrate industry.  And high THC strains," adds Cooper.  " So I don’t know how much of it has to do with legalization, people have been smoking marijuana here for a long time.  

"But the strains are just getting a lot stronger.  Which makes it easier for officers to recognize  the impairment because the impairment is a lot more significant.”

THC is the active substance that gives marijuana its “high”.

Cooper says there’s currently no breathalyzer test for cannabis. But police says bloodshot eyes and an inability to judge time and distance are things they look for when determining if a driver is under the influence of cannabis.