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Driving on Medication

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Old 07-12-2006, 08:12 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: si, ny USA
Posts: 7
Stress2006 HB User
Re: Any Required tests when on Pain Meds???

Hello again,

You mean if you have a accident and the blood work shows some kind of narcotic, like morphine or etc...that they will hold it against you by not get license again? Even thu you are taking the medicine prescribed by a doctor?

I know the prescriptions say on the bottle not to drive or operate heavy machinery but thats to protect them, it doesnt say its against the law to drive or anything.

Any advice on this topic would be great...thanks

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Old 07-12-2006, 11:22 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 467
mpvt HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

This is a tricky one because of tolerance.A new patient on opiates should never drive as they are likely experiencing side effects and they would surely be charged with being impaired.If you have a patient that's been taking 200mgs of morphine for 5 years then they are going to have a pretty difficult time proving this person is impaired.I have heard of police staking out methadone clinics and picking off patients that come out of the clinic.....Dave

Old 07-12-2006, 12:28 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,357
Rrector HB UserRrector HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

In the US, it is illegal to drive a vehicle after taking narcotic pain medication. Most states now have a law for DUI, Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants. This doesn't just refer to alcohol, like it did in the old days when they referred to DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), it now includes all substances which may impair you when you're behind the wheel. I think most people do drive when taking their pain meds, I know I do, but as I have stated in other posts, Methadone makes it hard for me to drive long distances. It makes me very drowsy when I do montonous tasks. I always take a minimum dose of Meth, just enough to get by, before leaving on the trip. I take more when I arrive at our destination.

It would take a blood test to prove you are under the influence, instead of a breath test they use for drinking. It can and does happen, but I urge all who drive while taking their pain meds to be very careful.

Last edited by Rrector; 07-12-2006 at 01:16 PM.

Old 07-12-2006, 01:12 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: near Nashville, TN, USA
Posts: 9
Sherrysham HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

I, too, have had concerns about this very thing! Even though medications (whether narcotics, anti-seizures, antihistimines, etc.) state you should KNOW how they affect you before driving, if you're involved in a crash - especially one that is determined to be your fault - you know the meds are going to become an issue!! You would most definitely have to hire yourself a lawyer that uses medical personnel to explain how people with chronic pain do NOT get 'high', or even get a 'buzz' when taking pain meds. As far as drowsiness though, we ALL know we should NOT get behind the wheel if we're drowsy from our other types of medications like Lyrica, etc.!!!

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I did not take my pain meds and were to attempt to drive, the pain levels I would be experiencing would make me a MUCH more dangerous driver than would the narcotics in my system!!! I've taken narcotics for going on 8 years now, yet still have NEVER had a day that my pain levels went below a 5 (on a 0 - 10 scale). Taking my medicine barely makes me functional and able to be among society now and again. I DO use judgement and try my very best to get appointments at low traffic times, etc. After having someone run a red light two years ago and taking the front of my car with her, I'm also a much more cautious driver as well. This made me SOOO terribly aware that accidents can occur ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, to ANYONE!!! Had I gone when I first got the left turn signal, I'd have been further out into the road, and gotten hit in the driver's door and most likely seriously hurt, if not killed!! Other cars didn't seem too obedient to stop at that red light and I crept out into the road, thank goodness!! The heck of it was, I used the traffic light to exit that shopping center to be *safe*!

Take care all,

Old 07-12-2006, 01:38 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Shoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB UserShoreline HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

HI Stress, I guess you have even more to stress about because Director is absolutely right. If you are in an accident, and taken to the hopital by ambulance, They will do a tox screen. They won't wait untill your renewel date to take action either. You will be charged with DWI or DUI , whatever your state calles driving under the influence.

You will go to jail when your released from the hospital and be treated just like any other offender. Fortunately ya breathalizer won't pick opiates up, but if you are unable to pass a field sobrity test, which I couldn't stand on one leg with the other one sticking out for 30 seconds on my best day, they can arrest you without an alcohol level and just asume it's another intoxicating drug. I've never been arested so I don't know ifd they do blood work when you go down down, but DUI is DUI whether it's alcohol, cough medecine, a half a flexerill or any opiate. If it has the potential to impair, you are considered impaired under he law.

Your lawyer can argue the medical aspects of accomadation but I have never heard of anyone winning. If someone thinks when they stop taking meds their head won't feel clearer, they are fooling themselves. I also drive out of neccesity, but I let my wife drive when we are together. I don't drive at night, I don't drive long distances. I'm aware of how meds effect me and regardless of how you feel or how long you have been on a stable dose, under the law you're impaired. I've also read about cases of prosecution in my area for driving under the influence of psych meds lke benzo's and one case of cold medecine mixed with a muscle relaxer, all were convicted.

There is no point in debating accomadation and not being able to drive or get out of bed without these meds because the law is the law and people under the influence of these meds have been the cause of vehicular fatalities. I wouldn't want my daughters bus driver even taking vicodin, for any reason. I thought it was ironic the social security admin basically advocated driving under the influence during my disability claim but that wasn't the determining factor.

My PM contract covers this and treatment will end as a result of a DUI. That tough stance is just a liability issue they are smart to adress. People are bringing suite against bar tenders and bar owners for serving a drunk. What's next, the doc that prescribed the pills knowing the patient would drive? The pharmacist covers his backside with the sticker. We live in a litigious society and driving is a risk, plain and simple.

Be very careful, especially when you have med changes of any kind, and avoid driving any time you can.

That's interesting Dave about the meth clinics, I've wondered why they don't hang out at every bar after midnight and stop everyone. Bad for buisness and the local economy, I guess.
Check with a local attorney if your not convinced Stress, but I would bet my pump you get the same answer. The question isn't how you feel under the influence, it's whether you actually are.
Good luck, Dave

Old 07-12-2006, 01:46 PM   #6
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Rrector HB UserRrector HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

Having an accident, especially a bad one would definitely put you in a bad situation if you're on narcotics for pain. Even if they are prescribed by a doctor, I'm sure the police wouldn't look at it any differently than if you were under the influence of illegal drugs. Maybe there's a police officer on board who could shed some light on this fact.

The other thing I wanted to bring up, is carrying you meds with you. This has been posted before, but I wanted to ask for some other CP patients their opinions. I am on Methadone and I am on 180 mg a day. Each morning I take my 18 pills for the day and put them in a small carrying case I keep in my pocket throughout the day. Others have indicated you should have them in a bottle with the original RX label, etc. The only time I have that is when I travel and have to go through security. Now I'm thinking, what if I get stopped for something like speeding. What do I do if they somehow discover I have a dozen 10 mg Methadone tabs in my pocket. Even if I tell them it is prescribed by my physician, will they believe that or will I be in a situation that will cause me a lot of problems. What do others do? Do you carry your meds in the RX bottle? Also, has anyone actually been stopped by the police and had to explain your narcotic medication you take for chronic pain? I'd be very interested to hear what happened.

Sorry, I was writing this post at the same time Shoreline Dave was writing his. I would still be interested in hearing about some of the points I raised in this post. Thanks everyone.

Last edited by Rrector; 07-12-2006 at 01:54 PM.

Old 07-13-2006, 10:37 AM   #7
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Posts: 126
mshatch HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

I just wanted to let you all know that for a FACT if your meds are found on you without a script they will take them from you until you can prove those meds are actually yours. That happened to my cousin and he had to drive 3 hrs back there to prove it and get his meds back.
On the subject of driving under the influence I know for me Because I still carry a chauffeurs license i would automatically in the event of an accident be given a urine test. Right there on the spot. I have heard of blood test being taken when you cant pass a feild sobriaty test and you have no achohol content.
I do know a lady in another state that did get a DUI after she ran off the road, no other car was involved but she had her scripts with her and she had just had them filled and some were missing. She got a DUI right there no questions asked.
So I guess its like a catch 22. I know alot of us have to drive. I no longer use my chauffeurs license but I am still classified as a CDL C driver. My hubby isnt home alot because of work and yes I do have to drive but I dont take any meds when I know I have to drive cause for me the consciquences would be awful.
hope this helped.

Old 07-13-2006, 12:47 PM   #8
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 50
Otter66 HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

Hi Everbody!

It's been quite a while since I've posted to this discussion group, but I've been going thru some serious times with a child visitation battle I am having with my (now) ex-wife!

My ex has been (and is still trying) to say that since I take a "large" amount of pain medication, that my driving ability is so impaired, that I should not be allowed to visit my daughter anywhere but in a supervised visitation center. That way, I wouldn't have to drive anywhere with my daughter. I have been fighting this issue, and I did find one interesting fact. In my area (TN), there is a guy who specializes in testing people who have to take pain medication on a long-term basis, but who also need to drive for their job or for their family. This doctor not only tests your cognative abilities, but also follows you thru your normal "day", testing you along the way to see if the narcotics actually affect your working ability or driving ability. The testing runs for 2 days, and at the end, if he find that you have adjusted to your medication, and it doesn't seem to impair (significantly) your ability to drive, he will go into court and testify FOR you. This doctor is so booked-up with people with the need for this professional assessment, that he has a 1 month waiting list. His own cost is $3,000 for the tests (with no insurance accepted), but for some people who need to drive for their living, it's worth the expense.

The point is, if this doctor does this testing in my area, there are bound to be other's out there that can do this type of testing.


Old 07-15-2006, 03:10 PM   #9
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 155
mergatroy HB User
Re: Driving on Medication

Driving on meds.

I can tell you that I am on Avinza...Morphine released over 24 hours. I had a blood test (from my PM&R doctor) and they found NO trace of morphine in my blood. No demerol either, but I took them the night before and this was noon the next day.

THAT was encouraging to me. If I take proper precautions I could drive "drug
free". And that is what I did. If I have an appointment the next day, I don't take my meds until after I get home. And yes, it hurts.

That being said, I am not comfortable driving like this. All I can suggest is for you to have a blood test done at the end of your "day".

Good Luck

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