Darlington police say painkillers are behind increase in DUI arrests

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – Darlington police say they’ve seen a big increase in driving under the influence arrests.

Corporal Anthony Boan’s has served as Darlington’s DUI officer for over a year. His job is to crack down on drivers under the influence.

“I’m driving up and down the street, actively looking for impaired drivers,” said Corporal Boan. “I was sent to DUI and instructor classes, which has to help me hone my skill set as far as looking for the DUIs.”

Chief Danny Watson says the city’s seen a 68 percent increase in the number of DUI arrests so far this year.

  • 11/14/2017 — 47 arrests for DUI
  • 11/14/2016 — 28 arrests for DUI

“Our biggest concern is not only interdicting, apprehending and prosecuting people that are driving under the influence but to educate people,” said Chief Watson.

In the last six weeks, the department has made nine arrests, including one Wednesday afternoon. In the same time period one year ago, the department had made just two DUI arrests.

Chief Watson says a trend his officers are seeing is an increase in DUI arrests for suspects driving after loading up on narcotics, like painkillers.

“It deadens the pain but it also is slowing down your reaction time. Different people react in different ways,” said Chief Watson of painkiller consumption.

The department expects to see the number of DUIs increase during the holidays.

“I get a lot of people that come and talk to me and say, ‘you know what, my family member was killed by a drunk driver…’ That just makes me feel like I’m out here doing the community justice by getting impaired drivers off the street,” said Boan.

For the second year, the department received an additional grant to buy Boan a car and pay his salary. The department plans to apply for grants to continue having a DUI officer.