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Getting a Prescription Drug DUI

In today’s world, it’s easy to gain access to prescription drugs, especially if you live in the United States. America’s love affair with prescription drugs has led to a pattern of abuse, and it’s affecting people of all ages, even children as young as eleven or twelve.

Using any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it unsafe to drive a vehicle and that is why each state has enacted laws making drugged driving illegal – just like driving after drinking alcoholic drinks. Drugged driving is a form of “impaired driving” and it puts the driver, the passengers, and others who share the road at risk of serious injury and death.

WHY DRUGGED DRIVING SO DANGEROUS

Drugged driving can be as dangerousas drunk driving, but people are less aware of the hazards of driving while under the influence of prescription medications. While each drug affects the brain differently, all drugs impair the faculties necessary to operate a vehicle safely. That said, controlled substances (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications) affect:

· Motor skills

· Balance

· Coordination

· Attention

· Reaction time

· Perception

· Judgment

Drivers beware: even small amounts of certain types of drugs can have a measurable effect on your ability to drive safely, which is why it’s illegal to drive under the influence of illegal and prescription drugs. To learn about California’s drugged driving law, we suggest reading VC Section 23153 (e).

HOW BIG IS THE PROBLEM?

The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that approximately 9.9 million people age 12 and older admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs within a year before being surveyed. That figure does not include how many people drove under the influence of legally prescribed medications.

According to NSDUH data, men are more inclined to drive under the influence of alcohol or an illicit drug than women, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were more likely to drive under the influence of drugs than any other age group.

WARNINGS AGAINST OPERATING MACHINERY

Many prescription drugs, such as opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, which are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders include warnings against operating heavy machinery – including motor vehicles – for a specific period after taking them.

These warnings cannot be ignored, they are there for a good reason. Unfortunately, when such prescription drugs are taken without medical supervision, there’s a greater risk of impaired driving and what often follows – a DUI.