Prescription Drugs and DUIs
Treating an illness with drugs is always a tricky proposition. You want to target the illness, restoring quality of life for the patient, and potentially curing them of the root cause of their symptoms. At the same time, there’s always risks when giving a patient drugs. These risks range from individual health problems, like allergic reactions to the drug, to social harms, like the growing prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria. There are some drugs that can have both social and individual ramifications; the opioid crisis is well documented, as is the uptick in the use of prescription drugs like Xanax for recreation. When we talk about DUIs, the first thing that springs to mind is alcohol; with marijuana legalization, cannabis is becoming a close second. What about legally purchased prescription drugs?
The simple answer is that some prescription drugs will affect your ability to drive, and if you’re caught driving on those drugs, you can be charged with driving under the influence. To mitigate the risk of people not realizing the prescription drugs they’re consuming can impair them, there are a lot of warnings in place to raise awareness. When you purchase drugs that can adversely affect your cognition or motor skills in a way that could impact your driving, you’ll be warned by the pharmacist that you can’t operate machinery. There will also be a label on the bottle indicating that you should not drive machinery while under the drug’s effects.
The prescription drugs that affect your ability to operate motor vehicles often fall under two categories: opiates and benzodiazepines. The first category is probably well known to you by now; opiates are painkillers like Oxycontin. The second category is a bit more obscure, but you’ll probably know them by brand names like Valium and Xanax; these are a class of drugs that’s mostly used to help relieve anxiety and sleep disorders. These drugs are often used recreationally, which generates a number of problems. It’s more difficult to give information about potential harms and pitfalls of particular drugs to people who use them recreationally; someone who is on opiates without a prescription may not even realize how seriously they hamper your ability to drive.
Prescribed drugs aren’t the only way legal drugs can get you into trouble on the road. Over-the-counter medicines, including antihistamines, can make you drowsy. Drowsiness is, of course, quite a problem on the road. You won’t be so directly advised of the risk of these drugs by a pharmacist, because you might not even speak to a pharmacist when you purchase them. Look on the packaging for side-effects; if they include drowsiness, you should be cautious, and avoid driving after consuming them.
Should you be charged with a DUI for using legal drugs then driving, you should get in contact with a Winnipeg DUI attorney immediately. There are a number of strategies that can be employed in these peculiar cases, and an attorney with a wealth of knowledge about these tactics is your best defense.