It seems like there’s a medication for just about everything these days. If you’re sad or anxious or lethargic, you’ve probably seen an advertisement for a medication that promises to help. If you’re in pain or can’t run as far as you used to without your muscles aching, there’s pill for that. Of course, the right medication can be a life-changer for people suffering from any number of physical and/or mental health conditions.
However, many of these impair the ability to recognize and respond to ever-changing conditions on the road if you get behind the wheel. Prescription medications come with warnings not to drive or “operate heavy machinery” after taking them, but far too many people ignore those warnings. They don’t feel impaired, and they need to get to work. school or wherever they need to be. Even if a single prescription drug doesn’t impair someone’s ability to drive, mixing it with another drug (prescription and over-the-counter alike) can be a disaster.
What percentage of people are driving under the influence of prescription drugs?
In a recent nationwide survey of 2,000 people by the market research organization IPSOS, about 20% of adults said they had either have driven under the influence of prescription drugs or know someone who has. That’s probably much lower than the real number. Some 5% admitted to driving within a couple of hours after taking a medication with a warning of impairment.
When broken down by type of medication people had in their system while behind the wheel:
- 6% used opioids
- 6% used depressants
- 4% used stimulants
Meanwhile, 7% of respondents admitted to having multiple drugs in their system while driving.
If you’ve been in a car crash with a driver who didn’t heed the warnings on their prescription medication or one who mixed the wrong drugs together, make sure you understand your right to the compensation you need to cover your medical bills and other losses from the wreck.