Prescription drugs may lead to a DWI

North Carolina has very strict laws in place for dealing with cases of people driving while impaired. For drunk drivers and those who use illicit drugs, the public offers general condemnation of their actions. If someone died or suffered severe injury, the condemnation from the public is even stronger. 

Then, there are scenarios where the impaired driver did not intend to drive impaired. She or he may have taken prescription medication before getting behind the wheel without knowing the side effects. People often do not know that the drugs they take may affect their ability to drive responsibly. Due to efforts from various organizations across America, law enforcement and the health care community now want to find new ways to combat accidental instances of DWIs. 

Potential countermeasures 

The AAA Foundation for Safety reported on several potential countermeasures in the fall of 2018. Here are the ones that may prove most effective: 

  • Proper prescription labeling 
  • Advertising and education 
  • Using new technologies 
  • Patient counseling 

Limited knowledge 

The organization acknowledges that compared to drunk driving, scientists know very little about what happens to drivers when they become impaired by drugs. This is because medications affect the body differently. If the driver takes other medications, it may also cause reactions that would not occur if he or she took the medication in isolation. This is one of the reasons that proper prescription labeling and patient counseling may have such a strong effect on accidental impaired driving. 

Driver age 

Up to 13% of drivers on the roadways take prescription medication. The older people are, the more likely this is. Even young people with chronic illnesses may manage such illnesses by taking a mix of medications. Almost half of those surveyed in the study used prescription meds in the 30 days preceding the study. Of these people, 10% took three or more different medications, while 21% took two or more. 

Unfortunately, many of these people only realize that they are driving impaired when the police pull them over. Even worse, they may get into an accident. As health care professionals become more involved, they may help to reduce these instances.

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