Tag Archives: prescription drugs

prescription-drug-overdoseThere are so many Americans taking medication for pain and other ailments that we may not even think to ask whether we are safe to drive while on the prescription. In truth, it is safe to drive while taking most medication but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that it’s best to be absolutely sure before you get behind the wheel.

Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can cause reactions that may make it unsafe to drive.

Reactions to medications can include:

  • Slowed movement or reaction times
  • Fainting
  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Excitability or racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to focus or pay attention
  • Nausea

Risk of DUI

In some states, driving while under the influence of drugs/medication, whether prescribed or not, can put you at risk for a DUI. If you cause an accident while taking medication, you may find yourself under scrutiny for any medication you were taking at the time of the collision.

Medications that could Cause Unsafe Driving

Keep yourself and others safe. Be cautious if taking any of the following prescription or OTC medications as they could cause a decrease in your driving abilities:

  • drugs for anxiety
  • pain relievers
  • antidepressants
  • products containing codeine
  • some cold remedies and allergy products
  • tranquilizers
  • sleeping pills
  • diet pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants such as caffeine, ephedrine, or pseudoephedrine.

Never combine alcohol and medication before driving and be careful of taking more than one medication at a time unless you have been advised by a pharmacist or doctor that they do not combine to cause drowsiness. Be aware that pills containing stimulants may cause excitability or drowsiness.

Be Informed

If you need to drive while taking medication, get all the information you can to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. Continue to take your medication in the dosage and times you were prescribed but talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects so you are prepared. You can request a print-out of the potential risks and side effects for any medication. It is very important to provide a complete record of all the medications you are taking including OTC and herbal products so your doctor or pharmacist can advise about any dangerous overlaps or potential side effects.

With adequate information your doctor may be able to:

  • adjust the dose of your medication
  • adjust the timing of doses or when you use the medicine to work around key driving times
  • add an exercise or nutrition program to decrease the need for medicine
  • change the medicine to one that causes less drowsiness or other undesirable side effects that could affect your ability to drive

If you have spoken to your doctor and taken all reasonable precautions but you still feel unsafe to drive, it might be best to look into transportation alternatives. Consider asking for a ride from a friend or family member, taking public transportation, walking, taxi cabs, shuttles buses, or vans. Many senior centers and religious or other local service groups offer transportation services for older adults in the community.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

prescription-drug-overdoseIn 2011, prescription drug overdose became the leading cause of injury death in the United States after growing steadily over the last twenty-five years. Every day, 113 Americans die of drug overdose and another 6,748 people are treated in the emergency room for the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions for painkillers were written; that is enough for every adult to have a bottle of pills. In the United States alone, prescription opioid abuse costs about $55 billion per year. The breakdown in costs: 46 percent is attributable to workplace expenses such as lost productivity, 45 percent is due to healthcare costs such as abuse treatment, and nine percent is from criminal justice costs.

Prescription Drugs, Overdose, and Drug Abuse Defined

Drug: A drug is a chemical compound used for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or injury, for the relief of pain, or for the feeling it causes. A drug is either classified as a pharmaceutical (including both prescription and over-the-counter products) or illicit/illegal.

Overdose: An overdose occurs when too much of a drug is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin. Overdoses are either intentional or unintentional. If the person taking or giving a substance did not mean to cause harm, then it is unintentional.

Drug Abuse or Misuse: The use of illicit or prescription or over-the-counter drugs in a manner other than as directed by a medical professional.

Prescription Drug Overdose Statistics

  • For people aged 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose was responsible for more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2011 alone there were 41,340 drug overdose deaths in the United States.
  • Drug overdose death rates have been rising steadily since 1992. There was a 118 percent increase in overdose deaths from 1999 to 2011.
  • In 2011, 80 percent (33,071) of drug overdoses were unintentional, 12.8 percent (5,298) were of suicidal intent, 0.2 percent (80) were homicides, and 7 percent (2,891) were of undetermined intent.
  • In 2011, there were over 2.5 million visits to the emergency department related to drug misuse and abuse. More than 1.4 million of these visits were related to pharmaceuticals.
  • Between 2004 and 2005, almost 71,000 children (18 or younger) were taken to the emergency room each year due to accidental medication overdose. (These numbers exclude visits for self-harm, abuse, and recreational drug use).
  • Forty percent of poisonings among children under age six involve pharmaceutical drugs. Almost 90 percent of all poisoning deaths are caused by ingesting drugs.

Most Common Drugs Involved in Drug Overdoses

In 2011, fifty-five percent (22,810) of drug overdoses were related to pharmaceuticals. Of these, 74 percent (16,917) involved opioid analgesics (also known as opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers), and 30 percent (6,872) involved benzodiazepines. Note that some deaths include more than one type of drug.

About 1.4 million visits to the emergency room involved the non-medical use of pharmaceuticals. Among these visits, 501,207 overdoses involved the misuse of anti-anxiety and insomnia medications, and 420,040 visits were related to opioid analgesics.

Benzodiazepines are often found among people treated in the emergency department for misusing or abusing drugs. People who died of drug overdoses commonly had a combination of benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics in their bodies.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!