Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious problem in Florida and throughout the United States. While there are a number of drivers who routinely drive under the influence of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, there are even more people who continue to drive while taking dangerous prescription medications. These medications, while not illegal, can cause serious and often fatal accidents.
There are a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications that cause a number of side effects that make driving risky. Slower reaction times, aggressive behavior, difficulty concentrating, hallucinations, panic attacks, tremors, dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue are just a few of the reasons that drivers under the influence of prescription drugs should avoid driving.
While police officers can order a suspected drugged driver to submit to a drug or alcohol test, these tests often fail to detect the presence of a vast number of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Yet these drugs cause a significant degree of impairment for drivers and reduce the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. In addition, these effects can be amplified if taken improperly or if alcohol is consumed.
The majority of medications carry warning labels that tell patients of the risks associated with taking them and many even warn against driving or operating heavy machinery. Yet many drivers in Broward County and throughout South Florida fail to heed these warnings and routinely drive while on painkillers, muscle relaxers, and other dangerous cold and allergy medications.
Sadly, there are a large number of drivers who routinely abuse prescription medications, like painkillers. They take these drugs to obtain a “legal high” and the results can be deadly. The State of Florida has the 11th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States—the majority of which are from prescription drugs. It is estimated that 7 people die every day in Florida from a prescription drug overdose.