Alcohol-based offenses are not the only reason you can be convicted for DUI. Driving under the influence of cannabis, or common prescription drugs that can impair your abilities, may also be considered a DUI offense, or result in similar penalties.
What are Common Drugs that Cause a DUI?
There are many different kinds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs that can impair driving and general motor skills. If you’re unsure, consult your doctor and/or pharmacist as they will be able to tell you both side effects and possible negative interactions with other medications you are taking.
Here are some of the most common prescription drugs that impair driving:
- Adderall — Adderall is typically prescribed to help people focus and maintain attentiveness. It works by stimulating the central nervous system, but the drawback is that after the medication is metabolized, users may feel extremely tired. This drowsiness can lead to dangerous driving and a potential DUI.
- Xanax — side effects for Xanax include trouble concentrating, slurred speech, poor balance, tiredness, dizziness, and more. All these side effects have the potential to impair driving ability.
- Percocet — this drug can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and light-headedness, all of which can create dangerous situations on the road.
- Ativan — this drug can cause blurred vision, loss of coordination, dizziness, and drowsiness, which combine to create unsafe driving conditions.
- Klonopin — typically prescribed for anxiety, this drug can cause side effects like drowsiness, unsteadiness, and a loss of orientation. These are a dangerous mix behind the wheel.
- Lorzapam — this drug can make people feel tired, weak, nauseous, and dizzy. This can cause people serious problems on the road.
- Clonidine — Clonidine can cause many side effects, but the relevant ones include drowsiness and a confusion as to the time, place, or person. Obviously, neither are terribly safe for drivers.
- Flexeril — this drug can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, and fatigue. Being tired and unable to see is clearly not great for driving.
- Vyvanse — this drug can cause anxiety and dizziness, so driving may be difficult.
- Valium — Valium can cause loss of balance, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, and muscle weakness, which can all be dangerous for drivers.
- Ambien — people report feeling “drugged” dizzy, tired, drowsy, lightheaded, and uncoordinated when on Ambien, among other side effects. These are all not conducive to safe driving.
These side effects are important to be aware of, but you should also verify if any new medication you’re taking will interact with other medications or alcohol. Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacists for more information.
As a reminder, even a valid prescription won’t prevent you from getting a DUI, if you’re pulled over while under the influence of any of these or other drugs.
Mixing Drugs and Alcohol
Many of these drugs are not meant to be paired with alcohol, and using both alcohol and prescription drugs can result in a severely impaired state. Some prescription drugs, for example, make you feel the effects of alcohol much sooner. Thus, if you are normally able to drive after one or two drinks, you should not if you are taking any prescriptions.