National Impaired Driving Prevention Month: Many drivers unaware of risky driving under the influence of prescription drugs

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Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription and illegal ones, can be dangerous and result in incarceration. While the effects of drugs on one’s brain and body may vary, the overall result is a decrease in the brain’s ability to process information and assess and respond by movement – the two skills essential for safe driving. Intoxication from prescription drugs increases the risk of car crashes and fatalities, and cause harm to people on the road. A recent study has discovered that many of the drivers are unaware of such risks despite regularly using prescription medications.

For the study, the authors randomly selected U.S. drivers at 60 locations for a self-administered survey containing questions pertaining to their prescription drug use. As per the results, out of the 7,405 drivers who completed the survey, 19.7 percent reported using a potentially impairing prescription drug within the past two days. The most common drugs used were sedatives and antidepressants.

Drivers receiving warnings more aware of risks

Although most drivers (78.2 percent) reported that prescription medicines were prescribed to them for their use, not all of them reported receiving a warning that these drugs have a negative impact on their driving ability. As per the researchers, 85.8 percent of those who took a sedative and 85.1 percent of those who took narcotics received warnings about careful driving from their health care provider or on the label itself. While the receipt of warning varied by gender, ethnicity, geographic location, income as well as the time of the day, drivers who reported receiving the warnings had significantly higher awareness of perceived risks of impaired driving and involvement in the criminal justice system.

According to the study authors, the study results reinforced the importance of health care providers educating their patients about driving-related risks while using prescription medications. It also provides a preliminary evidence of the existing association between the receipt of impairment warnings and increased awareness of risks associated with driving under the influence.

With an increase in impaired driving cases, the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year is considered to be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times on America’s roadways. While drinking and driving can affect anyone, the responsibility of preventing such a situation lies with each of us. Given that accidents and related fatalities spike during the holiday season, it becomes an important time to remind those behind the wheels about the impact of drunk and drugged driving.

Every year since 1981, the month of December is observed as the National Impaired Driving Prevention Month in the U.S. The goal is to emphasize that no matter what the occasion, impaired driving is unacceptable and can be eliminated by making the right choice to drive sober.

Focus on treatment and recovery

A leading mental health and substance abuse treatment provider, Sovereign Health Group is the only alcohol, drug and mental health treatment company to provide legal assistance to its clients across the country. With the goal of treating patients in a holistic manner, Sovereign’s Court Services actively works to keep legal and financial issues at bay so that an individual can focus on recovery.

At Sovereign Health Group Court Services, we do not provide legal representation to our clients. Instead, our advocates work as a liaison between the client and court, providing updates and taking care of necessary paperwork. For more information on drug- and mental health-related legal issues, call at our 24/7 helpline 866-439-7698 or chat online to speak to a professional.

December 27, 2017

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