Some Prescription Drugs Are Illegal To Take While Driving In Sarasota Florida
Drivers in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice are fully aware that laws are in place in Florida against driving while drunk. In fact, unlike distracted driving which is illegal but not considered a criminal act, drunk driving is a criminal violation, not a civil one, with possible jail time attached to a drunk driving charge as a penalty. However, driving while under the influence applies to more than just alcohol. Driver impairment can arise from the use of illegal drugs as well, such as marijuana, and Sarasota drivers can be charged with driving under the influence if they are using drugs such as marijuana as well.
What may surprise some drivers in Bradenton and Venice, however, is that even drugs considered legal may also fall under the purview of being considered a substance that can result in charges if people have consumed them before driving.
Legal Doesn’t Mean Harmless
Drivers should always remember that whether a substance is considered legal or not has no bearing on its ability to impair driving ability. Alcohol is a prime example of this. Even though it is not illegal to purchase or consume alcohol, it is illegal to drink it, then drive. The same is true for marijuana. Other states have legalized it for recreational use, similar to alcohol or tobacco, while Florida only permits it for medicinal purposes with a prescription. However, marijuana’s ability to impair reflexes and judgment is well documented, so even with a prescription, consuming marijuana and then driving can result in accidents and criminal charges afterward.
The same is true for some other types of prescription medication. In Florida, the following medications, while legal to consume if prescribed by a doctor, are illegal to use if you plan to drive:
Hydrocodone, better known as Vicodin, codeine, Fentanyl, and morphine, are all considered opioids, usually prescribed as painkillers. In their function to help pain management, they work very well. However, they also bring side effects such as euphoria, drowsiness, and lightheadedness, which can severely impact situation awareness and reflexes.
People who drive while under the influence of opioids will be slower to react to road situations than those who drive sober.
Some medications are stimulants that are prescribed to help with focus and concentration. Adderall and Ritalin, for example, are sometimes prescribed to people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, to help improve focus and situation awareness. In theory, these drugs should help, not hinder driving, and to some extent, this can be the case.
However, the biggest risk with these stimulants is what happens after they wear off. The tiredness and fatigue that come several hours after consuming Adderall or Ritalin can leave drivers in the same state of poor awareness and drowsiness as someone awake all night.
Medications such as Diazepam, more popularly known as Valium, Alprazolam, or Xanax, are usually prescribed as anti-anxiety medications to help with issues such as alcohol withdrawal, depression, and a host of other problems.
However, similar to opioids, these types of medications can severely impair judgment and reflexes. In addition to their anti-anxiety properties, tranquilizers have a host of potential side effects, including lightheadedness, difficulty with coordination, clumsiness and unsteadiness, drowsiness, and a host of others, depending on the specific medication that has been taken.
If you’ve been in a traffic accident where the other driver claims they did not consume alcohol but were under the influence of prescription medication, you may have been injured by someone committing a criminal act. Talk to an experienced auto accident attorney about what’s happened to you. You can get the help you need to get compensation for an injury that happened to you while someone else was committing an illegal act.