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    Old 12-28-2007, 11:39 AM   #1
    HappyFlower
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    what is considered DUI?

    I was driving home from the urgent care center (hubby has strep). We had just picked up his Rx's and were discussing how some doctors throw you narcotics for a sore throat (the doc at the urgent care place handed him a Rx for 20 lortab 10 without him even asking-although strep is a horrid pain) and others tell you to take Advil for a broken leg. He had taken a Lortab and asked me to drive. Of course, I did. About half way home, I laughed and commented on the fact that I had taken my Ultram only two hours before and my Lortab only 4 hours before. This led to my question....

    What is considered DUI? I take Ultram and Lortab everyday. So it is going to be in my system no matter what. My doctor told me I had to wait 3-4 hours after taking my lortab to drive. I follow this rule strictly, as I have kids and wouldn't want to put them in danger. But...the medicine will still be in my system even after 4 hours. I would bet that even if I took no meds for 2 days there would still be traces. So, what happens if I get into a wreck or something, hadn't taken my lortab within the 4 hour period, and still show traces of the medication?

    This is really the first time I have thought about this. Now I am worried. I have a near perfect driving record (knock on wood) but what if????

     
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    Old 12-28-2007, 01:16 PM   #2
    brianpain33
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    Happyflower,
    That is a very good question. I know alot of states are really cracking down and consider a DUI to be a person under any mind altering substance. However, they would have to test you to be able to know this. I was in an accident this past summer and I was taking Ultram. However, the police never asked me if I was taking anything and of course I never volunteered this information. But, if they had tested me it would have showed positive and I am sure they could have charged me with a DUI. You would have to look into the laws in the state that you live in.

    Brian

     
    Old 12-28-2007, 09:03 PM   #3
    sandim
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    My husband is a police officer. Yes, you could be charged with DUI if you are impaired by the medication. The thing is that there are studies now that say if you are on a steady dose of opiate/pain medication that it does not slow reaction times or impair the mental alertness of the driver. But , this only applies to those of us who are on a steady dose of medication.
    We haven't seen laws adapted yet for people in our situations but that may be coming in the future.
    Sandi

     
    Old 12-28-2007, 09:42 PM   #4
    scrappinmaniac
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    In my state, not long ago a law was passed stating you could be charged w/DUI if you were pulled over and tested positive for a prescription drug but couldn't produce a prescription for the drug found in your system.

    That seems fair.

    I'm not sure, but I would assume the law is similar if you take narcotics legally and get in your car and drive. That seems unfair to me though, if you've been on narcotics for years like most of us here have been. I never feel impaired but b/c I will probably have to take narcotics for the rest of my life I should never be allowed to get in my car and go anywhere? That seems extreme. I certainly understand the concept, but I think it needs some work...

    Interesting topic.

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 09:01 AM   #5
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    It's just like it sounds, Driving under the influence, Whether you have a script or not doesn't mean your not impaired. I have a script for BT meds, I know they effect me and know if I have an accident or get pulled over and my appearence or speech gives them probable cause to do blood work, under the influece means if it's in your system. If they find opiates, benzos or THC they don't care if it was 2 weeks ago or an hour ago, the same is true for any drug that has the potential to impair, whether we feel , comfortable or not. Having a script for valium doesn't mean your not impaired by it, having a script ofr oxy doesn't mean your not imapired by it.

    I'm sure every drunk felt perfectly fine and felt his tolerance allowed perfect driving, but compared to a sober peron, reaction time and coordination is impaired. It's a choice you make and a risk we all take if we chose to drive while taking these meds. It's unlikely your going to get to the blood test stage unless you give them probable cause or have been in an accident and go to the ER.

    What judge is going to understand that your in so much pain your need the strongest pain meds and yet you're not impaired and perfectly safe to drive? Is your PM doc going to testify that none of his patients are impaired by the meds he prescribes? Even the sticker on the bottle tells you not to operate vehicles or heavy machinery, it doesn't say wait untill you feel comfortable doing so.
    It may not seem fair, but is it fair to risk others lives so that we don' have to take a cab or find a safe ride.
    Good luck, Dave

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 09:38 AM   #6
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shoreline View Post
    What judge is going to understand that your in so much pain your need the strongest pain meds and yet you're not impaired and perfectly safe to drive? Is your PM doc going to testify that none of his patients are impaired by the meds he prescribes? Even the sticker on the bottle tells you not to operate vehicles or heavy machinery, it doesn't say wait untill you feel comfortable doing so.
    It may not seem fair, but is it fair to risk others lives so that we don' have to take a cab or find a safe ride.
    Good luck, Dave
    Shoreline - I agree with you in theory and I'm HUGELY against drinking and driving but what about the times when it doesn't always work out that people like us have someone to drive us where we need to go?

    For example, I'm in the middle of a round of epidural steroid injections (what fun ) and usually my mother takes me so my hubby can stay home and care for our child but my next injection is on a day when everyone I know is busy except me and my hubby. Taking my child, who is new to the toddlerworld, is not an option (if you have children, I know you completely understand ). So, I plan to drive myself. I have no other options. Now, usually I don't drive anywhere, ever, because of the meds I take but sometimes it's necessary. I will have to take my oxy but I will probably hold off taking any perc, which I take for breakthrough pain, until I'm safe and sound back at home, but now after this thread I'm going to be terrified of being pulled over and thrown in the slammer, even though I never feel impair b/c I've been taking the same drugs forever it seems. Thanks for the chat, Shoreline, it's definately been enlightening.

    Can you or anyone else tell me where to go online or elsewhere to find out the actual laws on prescription drugs and driving? I'm very interested to know now. Thanks!

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 11:29 AM   #7
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    This is such a weird topic of discussion, because I think every state might have slightly different laws, and people tend to have their own opinions on the matter, even if there is a law proving them wrong.

    When I get my prescriptions from my PM doctor and my one prescription from my surgeon, they both tell me, upon me asking, that there is no problem with me driving while taking the medications. Then again, my medicine bottles say that I shouldn't drive until I know how the medication affects me. I went further, and tried to pull up New York State laws on the matter, and I couldn't find anything specific saying that you cannot drive while prescribed on narcotics.

    Again, I think it really varies from state to state, but I never know what is right or wrong to do when it comes to driving. I've been on methadone for about two weeks, and although I don't feel anything from it, my parents don't want me driving at all, just in case. I completely agree with their decision as well, it's just not worth the risk. But what are people supposed to do, like many of you on the board, when you are in so much pain that you need to take your meds to function, but you also need to get to work everyday? It's all very confusing to me.

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 02:14 PM   #8
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    yes, you are correct. I have seen many sloppy drunks who think they are "fine to drive"...the big difference is they made a choice to get drunk and I never asked to be in pain. I know life is not fair....my parents were right about that one. And I know the ultimate "unfairness" is for someone innocent to be hurt. However although I make the choice to take the medication which relieves my constant pain, I follow the "rules" my doc put down when it comes to driving. If I know I have to pick the kids up at 3PM, I won't take a Lortab after 11AM. If I am in such pain that need to take one between these hours, I have somebody else pick up the children.

    My concern was what would happen at hour 5.....when the side effects should be worn off and I am putting to Target. Am I breaking the law? If I took a 3 Lortab two days ago and for whatever reason ended up with a blood test and it showed the medicine....I mean if you think about it....I am sure half or more of Americans on the roads have taken some type of legal medication which alters their mental state within the past couple of days...allergy meds....how many people do you know who pop those like candy...for good reason? Flu medications, PMS medications...People have to go on living. We have to work, take care of children or others.

    Should we be careless, popping our medications and thinking of nobodys wellbeing but our own? Feeling we are entiltled break the rules of society because we have a script. NO....but should we suffer and not think about our own wellbeing? NO! There has to be an acceptable middle ground. It is quite the delima.

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 07:43 PM   #9
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HappyFlower View Post
    I was driving home from the urgent care center (hubby has strep). We had just picked up his Rx's and were discussing how some doctors throw you narcotics for a sore throat (the doc at the urgent care place handed him a Rx for 20 lortab 10 without him even asking-although strep is a horrid pain) and others tell you to take Advil for a broken leg. He had taken a Lortab and asked me to drive. Of course, I did. About half way home, I laughed and commented on the fact that I had taken my Ultram only two hours before and my Lortab only 4 hours before. This led to my question....

    What is considered DUI? I take Ultram and Lortab everyday. So it is going to be in my system no matter what. My doctor told me I had to wait 3-4 hours after taking my lortab to drive. I follow this rule strictly, as I have kids and wouldn't want to put them in danger. But...the medicine will still be in my system even after 4 hours. I would bet that even if I took no meds for 2 days there would still be traces. So, what happens if I get into a wreck or something, hadn't taken my lortab within the 4 hour period, and still show traces of the medication?

    This is really the first time I have thought about this. Now I am worried. I have a near perfect driving record (knock on wood) but what if????
    This was a really good question and alot of people only think of DUI as a being drunk, its not so. Its being under the influence of any substance that impares your ability to drive, whether its legally prescribed or not, is what is DUI.

    Lori

     
    Old 12-29-2007, 07:43 PM   #10
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    Re: what is considered DUI?

    I was curious about some of the posts about the instructions or warnings on the bottles that we get from the drugstore. I have prescriptions from 2 different pharmacies because one doesn't carry (or didn't carry) both drugs prescribed. The label on one bottle that held oxycodone only says: "may cause drowsiness. Use care using machines." That's it!! It doesn't talk about driving etc., the other one says "May cause drowsiness. Alcohol may intensify this effect. Use care when operating a car or dangerous machine." It doesn't say anywhere NOT to drive or use machinery! Another label on my bottle of Zanaflex says, "Until you become accustomed to this medicine, take care while driving or operating machinery." Yikes!! All these labels would leave a novice to believe that it's o.k. to drive.....just be careful while doing so!! If God forbid I had an accident while taking one of these meds, would the pharmacy be partially blamed for not telling me to discontinue driving while on these meds? Go figure!! Memere.

     
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