Prescription medicines are entirely legal when taken under the direction of a physician, but that doesn't mean they necessarily allow you to continue living your life as you would off the medications. Aside from the fact that some prescription medicines are highly addictive, they may also affect your ability to drive safely.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that although you are “most likely” OK to drive while taking prescription medication, the agency also explicitly “advises that it's best to be absolutely sure before you get behind the wheel.”
Note that in Rhode Island, you can get a DUI charge for driving while under the influence of any controlled substance such as a prescription drug. The fact that a person has a legal right to use the substance does not constitute an affirmative defense. This concept is part of the state's zero-tolerance policy and makes Rhode Island one of 15 states that have “Drugged Driving ‘per se' Laws.”
Potential Effects of Some Prescription Medicines on Driving
Some prescription drugs can adversely affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Certain drugs may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, slower reaction times, concentration problems, nausea, and blurred vision. Other drugs may cause excitability, which can also affect your driving.
Generally speaking, certain types of drugs are more likely to make driving more dangerous. The FDA lists these products as follows:
- Anxiety medications
- Some antidepressants
- Some cold and allergy medications
- Sleeping pills
- Pain relievers
- Diet pills and other medications that contain stimulants such as ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and caffeine
If you are taking any of these medications, you must fully understand the potential side effects as they could relate to safe driving. If you can avoid driving while taking certain medications, it is better for everyone, but if you must drive, you should work with your doctors and pharmacists to ensure you are taking medications as responsibly as possible.
If you are facing charges related to driving while under the influence of prescription drugs, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced DUI attorney immediately. Contact Inman & Tourgee online or call (401) 823-9200 to discuss your legal options today.