Most drivers in Massachusetts are aware of the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol. However, driving after taking prescription medications can also have detrimental effects and lead to serious accidents. This was highlighted this summer after the arrest of Tiger Woods, who was found asleep at the wheel and failed the sobriety tests. It was found that painkiller use, and not alcohol, was the reason for his behavior.
According to Fox, violations related to drug use and driving increased more than 40 percent over the last six years, which far surpassed the increase of drunk driving cases. While marijuana was the culprit in many of the arrests, opiates and other prescription drugs were also factors.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the effects of taking certain prescription drugs may include dizziness, aggressiveness, drowsiness and reckless driving. As a result, getting behind the wheel can lead to serious, and even fatal, vehicle crashes. Men and drivers under the age of 26 are more likely to drive after taking drugs, and pain relieving medications, both illegally used and those taken under medical supervision, were the main causes of prescription-related accidents.
Because some states have taken a zero-tolerance stance on driving under the influence of prescription and other drugs, certain social strategies should be practiced to decrease the incidence of drugged driving. These include using a car service or designated driver, collecting car keys if hosting a party and having conversations about how prescription medication use can be detrimental to driving abilities.