drugs and driving

Drugs and Driving

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

We all know about drunk driving. A few beers and we take the keys away from Uncle Carl and hail an Uber to get him home. In today’s culture, there is information, safeguards, and warnings for people considering drinking then getting behind a wheel. But there is less info for anyone shooting up, then jumping in the family truckster and merging on the freeway. Yet, this happens every day.

It actually goes far beyond just shooting up, too. It doesn’t matter if the substance altering your state is illegal (cocaine, meth, heroin, etc.) or legal (medical marijuana in some states, painkillers, antihistamines, etc.), driving while impaired could get you a DUI. Or worse, lead to an accident.

Mixing drugs and driving is life threatening—to the driver and everyone else on the road.

Measuring Sobriety

Alcohol is the easiest to measure. Basically, the more you drink, the higher the level of alcohol is in your blood. This number will correlate with how impaired a person is. However, something like the impairing element of marijuana (THC) can be detectable for up to a month after a person has consumed. As you might imagine, this makes medical testing for impairment difficult. Cocaine typically leaves the body after a couple of days, so road testing could a bit more viable. All to say, it is a difficult area for law enforcement.

More Importantly

All of that is to say, while testing impairment is still somewhat of a blurry situation, what is crystal clear is right and wrong. Driving while impaired is not only illegal; it is just plain dangerous.

This goes for every manner of substance that offers an altered state of consciousness. Driving while under the influence of prescribed medication can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk and can have the same consequences (both with the law and with danger to everyone on the road). Whether they are the illicit ones or the ones prescribed to you by a doctor that you picked up at the local CVS, drugs and driving should never mix.

Here are some of the effects of various drugs (both illegal and legal) that will affect your ability to operate a vehicle:

Antidepressants: Sedating antidepressants can cause similar effects as alcohol.

Antihistamines: Slower reactions and difficulty with coordination.

Cocaine: Euphoria, excitation, dizziness, increased focus and alertness (initially), confusion and disoriented behavior.

Decongestants: Many over-the-counter decongestants can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and dizziness.

Heroin: Euphoria, drowsiness, relaxation, sedation, disconnectedness, mental clouding, analgesia, depressed heart rate, nausea and vomiting, diminished reflexes.

Hydrocodone: This is similar to many opiates and causes impairments with the same effects.

LSD: Hallucinations, altered mental state, delusions, impaired depth, time and space perception, hypertension, tremors.

Marijuana: Relaxation, euphoria, disorientation, altered time and space perception, drowsiness, paranoia, image distortion, paranoia.

Methamphetamine: Euphoria, excitation, hallucinations, delusions, insomnia, poor impulse control, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure.

Sleeping Pills: Even in the morning, the residual effects of these drugs can impair drivers.

Valium: 10 mg of the popular tranquilizer can cause impairment similar to having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent. (Source)

 Bigger Issue

This topic is one of safety. A person who has no control over their drug consumption is eventually going to have to make a decision about getting behind the wheel while high. We can always hope that the decision will be the right one, but there is no way to guarantee. Make no mistake: drugs and driving is a deadly combination. This is simply another life-threatening effect of drug and alcohol abuse. This one adds the lives of others to the equation. And another reason to get help today.

If you or your loved one have ever been in a dangerous situation behind the wheel, this could be an indication of a problem with drugs or alcohol that requires professional assistance. Please call us today for a free assessment and guidance for your next step of health and healing: 888-590-0777.

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