Lee County Sheriff's Office says drugged driving on the rise - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lee County Sheriff's Office says drugged driving on the rise

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Patrol ramp up for campaign. Patrol ramp up for campaign.
Vehicles headed north on Hwy 61. Vehicles headed north on Hwy 61.
Deputy Wheatley and K-9 Gunner have been hard at work. Deputy Wheatley and K-9 Gunner have been hard at work.
Distractions happen all the time on the road, like calling on the phone while driving in this picture. Distractions happen all the time on the road, like calling on the phone while driving in this picture.
Busy city streets in Lee County during the spring. Busy city streets in Lee County during the spring.
LEE COUNTY, Ia. (WGEM) -

Lee County Sheriff's Office Deputies said they're seeing more drugged drivers than ever before. 

Next week, they're beefing up efforts to fight it. 

According to a 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.8 million people drove under the influence of drugs.

Deputies in Lee County said they are seeing more and more of it and they are getting updated on how to handle drivers under the influence, when they are pulled over on the side of the road. 

Drivers in Lee County have seen people driving under the influence.

Don Epperson saw it one time in Wever, Iowa.

"He was all over the road in the grass on the left side, it was a two lane road," Epperson said. 

The Lee County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrest a lot of people for DUI but have seen a lot more people drugged driving. 

"Yeah, a definite increase on people who have drank alcohol and have been on prescription medication at the same time," Sheriff Stacy Weber said. "Sometimes it is intentional and other times it is inadvertent, they don't realize it."

Deputy Uriah Wheatley said there are some necessary steps when conducting a drugged driver traffic stop. 

"I start with a standardized field sobriety test and then we pick up clues," Wheatley said. "Some clues are similar and others are different than alcohol."

The office has two DRE deputies which is Drug Recognition Experts.

He said they go to training in Phoenix, Arizona and then train the staff.

Sheriff Weber said marijuana use is on the rise.  

"It impairs their thought process and that's the thought process with this campaign is to just think before getting behind the wheel," Weber said. 

The campaign is called 'Drive High? Kiss you license good bye!' Six states are participating in it next week and more enforcement will be out patrolling. 

"It's real important, I really enjoy seeing them out there watching," Epperson said. 

Deputy Wheatley has been busy with K-9 Gunner to get drugs off the street. 

"We've had well over a dozen busts and we have been working all the time," Wheatley said. "It's a tool that if we didn't have this, there would probably be a lot of cars that go by and we didn't know that it is in there."

The national study also found a higher percentage of 18 to 25 year old's taking drugs before driving.

Patrols will increase April 20-22.

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