You do not use illicit drugs, but that does not mean you may not occasionally take a friend or family member’s prescription medication. Your attempt to address sleeping problems, a painful injury or depression could lead to a drugged driving charge. 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse breaks down the definition of drugged driving. Understand what you risk by innocently attempting to improve your mental, emotional or physical health. 

Risks of drugged driving  

Drugged driving is operating a motor vehicle under the effects of a drug, either illegal or prescribed. Depending on the side effects of the drug, you can become drowsy or dizzy, experience poor judgment, or struggle with your coordination. Law enforcement may witness your erratic driving behavior and pull you over. Even a small amount of a prescription drug can cause you to drive as if you have had a few drinks. 

Statistics on drugged driving  

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2018, roughly 13 million people at least 16 years of age admitted to driving while using illicit drugs. The survey also found that men are more likely than women to drive while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. 

Older adults and drugged driving  

Older adults with deteriorating mental faculties are more likely to drive under the influence of prescription drugs. What usually happens is this demographic either takes more or less than a prescribed medication dosage, or they may take the correct dosage more often than necessary. Due to a decreased metabolism, medication may linger in a senior citizen’s body longer, prolonging the side effects. 

Have you received a drug crime charge due to taking a prescription medication? No matter if the medication was yours or someone else’s, speak with a legal professional to discuss your legal rights.