The idea of "impaired driving" mostly conjures up thoughts of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or illegal narcotics. While true, many do not consider that every day, millions of people get behind the wheel under the influence of strong prescription medications that can have dangerous consequences if used incorrectly.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported on an April incident that involved a car crashing into a school bus. The driver of the car, Phillip Smith, who died at the scene, was found to have had morphine and diazepam in his system. According to the source, Smith had been dealing with severe pain for many years, and possessed a valid prescription for his medications. Dr. Jerrold Leikin, a toxicologist, told the Tribune that anyone taking those drugs should not be operating a vehicle.
"These are all central nervous system depressants […] that can slow down reaction time, impair your judgment, [create] issues with multitasking, with coordination and perception, primarily visual perception," Leikin told the source. "All those things can be affected by drugs of this type."
Even if you are taking medications as prescribed, individuals should also be aware that they can have negative interactions with other substances, including over-the-counter drugs. Patients should discuss with their doctors any and all drugs that they are currently using.
If you know someone who is abusing prescription drugs, please think about the many people who could be put in danger because of their actions To learn about how you can arrange a substance abuse intervention, contact Intervention Services today.