Am I Driving Under the Influence?

Blurred motion car drivers view traveling through tunnelDUI, Driving Under the Influence, is a defined as the act or crime of driving while affected by alcohol or drugs. “Drunk Driving” is the more commonly used term. While a DUI refers to a driver with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, we tend to forgot that being under the influence can happen with other drugs as well; even prescription and Over The Counter (OTC) drugs.

There are many prescription drugs that when taken as prescribed, can cause you to be legally impaired.   Ingesting multiple prescribed medications at once may also present an additional hazard, as they have the possibility to interact with each other. The introduction of alcohol to a mix of drugs undoubtedly enhances a driver’s vulnerability as well behind the wheel.

Reliable data on how many drivers are impaired by prescription drugs is hard to find, but law enforcement officials agree that the problem is increasing.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), common prescription and OTC drugs that can impair drivers are:
Anxiety Medications
Some Antidepressants
Products containing codeine
Some cold remedies and allergy products
Tranquilizers
Sleeping Pills
Pain Relievers
Diet Pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)

As a consumer, be sure to carefully read all drug information. If you must take prescription and/or OTC medications and drive, consult with your physician for further direction or alternatives.

Gateway Foundation is here to help educate the community about substance use in any realm, as well as providing treatment for those who may need substance use disorder treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder of any kind, visit recoverygateway.org or call 877-505-HOPE (4673) to learn about treatment options.

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