Driving Under The Influence of Prescription Drugs

drugged-drivingWith more people than ever taking prescription narcotics, the likelihood that people will drive under the influence is that much greater. Even though prescription drugs are legal, it does not remotely mean that they are safe to drive with in one’s system. Developed nations have requirements that prescription bottles warn of the dangers of operating heavy machinery while taking the drug. Unfortunately, a number of people choose to drive despite the warning labels, meaning that the labels are not a strong deterrent.

New research suggest that warning labels are not enough and most people drive while under the influence of the prescription drugs, ScienceDaily reports. The findings will be presented at the Tackling Drug Driving in Queensland: Leading Research and Contextual Issues symposium in Brisbane, Australia.

Use Care When Operating A Vehicle

Road safety researcher Dr Tanya Smyth, from the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety, said that driving while taking some prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of illegal drugs. Smythe found that warning labels and pharmacist consultations were the chief systems used for controlling drugged driving, according to the article. Such methods are ineffective when you consider that prescription drug users have to self-assess their impairment, a subjective gauge to say the least.

“The biggest problem is that research has shown drivers are unable to accurately self-assess their impairment when taking medication and are overconfident in assessing their abilities,” said Smythe.

May Cause Drowsiness

In the 21st Century, many prescriptions are filled online and are sent to people’s home. This means that a number of patients are not being consulted with by pharmacists. Dr Smyth said prescription drug users were not receiving important advice from pharmacists, the article reports.

“This limits their exposure to verbal warnings, and increases the likelihood of people having to rely on labels.”

Smyth added that more research is required to fully understand how medications affect individuals.

“Some medications can cause a variety of impairments including drowsiness, increased reaction time, loss of mental concentration, shakiness and affect coordination and these all make it unsafe to drive, cycle or use machinery”.

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