Much has been written about drunk driving, but another dangerous form of driving that hasn’t been promoted as much is “drugged driving.” Drugged driving is driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs, which is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Prescription medication is not looked down upon by society, as is the use of alcohol, because these drugs help people control pain or assist in restoring their mental health or help them to sleep. However, in using medication daily, individuals can become addicted to these drugs just as they can become addicted to alcohol. In fact, prescription drugs can be just as harmful as illegal drugs. According to a 2009 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 18 percent of drivers who died in vehicle crashes tested positive for either a prescription, over-the-counter, or an illicit drug.
Drug Side-Effects can be Dangerous on and off the Road
Drugged driving increases the risk of vehicle crashes, says a July 10 article in the New York Times. The article went on to say that drivers who take anti-anxiety drugs are more than likely to be less alert and have slow reaction times while drivers using stimulants may take risks and have difficulty judging distances. The article also pointed out that it’s difficult to measure how much drugs in a person’s blood will impair that person’s driving.
Not only is there a chance of a variety of physically and mentally damaging side-effects for many meds, but some of the side-effects aren’t discovered until after the drug has already been approved for use. Also, some prescription drugs are more addictive and easier to build up a tolerance to than many
Medication Users are Arrested, too
Drivers taking valid prescription drugs who are arrested should immediately hire a criminal attorney to represent them. “None of these substances will show up on a breathalyzer. But that doesn’t mean the state won’t try to convict you,” says Katz & Phillips, P.A.
, Florida criminal lawyer firm. With assistance from their clients, attorneys will argue in court that the medication their clients had was from a valid prescription and not illegal drugs. Criminal attorneys can also work with prosecutors to either have the charges dismissed or reduced since illegal drugs were not involved.Alternatives to Prescription Drugs
With more information being released about the dangerous side effects of prescription drugs, some people are choosing the herbal or dietetic alternatives for their health conditions. For instance, St. John’s Wort, a herb, and tryptophan, an essential amino acid found in certain foods, are all used to treat depression. Light therapy, dietary changes and taking nutritional supplements, such as vitamin D and omega-3, are also used as alternatives to anti-depressant drugs.Other individuals have turned to holistic medical practices in which doctors treat the “whole” person – mind, body and soul. Rather than use prescription drugs, doctors recommend a variety of treatments and remedies such as chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, and homeopathy.
Depending on your health condition, finding alternatives to prescription drugs may become a challenge, especially if your health insurer will not pay for non-traditional medical treatment. But, you should consider the risk you are taking when your reaction to prescription medications interferes with your ability to drive. If you believe you are possibly addicted to your medication, contact your doctor immediately about your concerns. Otherwise, you may have to hire an attorney to help you with both your health and legal problems.
As a former healthcare professional, Molly Pearce has an understanding of both the necessity and danger presented by different prescription medications. After consulting the legal site of criminal defense firm, Katz & Phillips P.A., and various medical sources, she suggests that readers get a second opinion and consider any natural alternatives before committing to a regimen of prescribed meds.