Prescription Drugs,  Driving and Machinery

Prescription Drugs, Driving and Machinery

In Florida,  you can be prosecuted for Driving under the Influence even while taking prescribed narcotic drugs and muscle relaxers.  In Florida,  many employers perform random drug testing of it’s employees, and require drug testing,  for employment.  Most companies now require drug testing when accidents occur with the use of heavy machinery.

Why do I bring this up?  As a spine surgeon,  often I must prescribe some of these medications.   But,  I always warn my patients not drive under the influence of the medications,  nor operate heavy machinery.  If you read the prescription labels from most centrally acting drugs,  such as narcotics,  or muscle relaxers,  there are also warnings and disclosures to that effect.

While I do know that some of my patients do use the drug and drive or operate heavy machinery,  I want it to be clear that the activity is against my advice,  and may be a violation of the law.

I have know  that some patients who have chronic exposure to the drugs, argue that they are tolerant, and therefore not adversely effected.  Still,  if there is an auto accident,  or an injury involving heavy machinery , it will be difficult to prove the drug did not contribute to the incident.

To summarize,  if you take prescription drugs,  do not drive or operate heavy machinery.  While you may have grounds to defend yourself,  if you are involved in a situation,  it will not likely resolve quickly or in your favor.

DUI does not only mean alcohol.  It can also mean legally prescribed drugs.

Citations

  • Bukten A, Herskedal A, Skurtveit S, Bramness JG, Clausen T. Driving under the influence (DUI) among patients in opioid maintenance treatment (OMT): a registry-based national cohort study. Addiction. 2013 Nov;108(11):1954-61. PubMed PMID: 23773400

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