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DUI through Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs


To many people, a DUI/DWI offense is typically connected to a person being affected by too much alcohol in his system or by the influence of illegal drugs that he has ingested. This is the usual case, but unknown to others, there are other substances that can deprive a driver of the ability to focus on the road. The most common of these ‘other substances’ are prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

What many people take for granted is that a number of ordinary drugs they take to deal with colds and coughs have the ability to impair a person’s driving ability on the road. They can have this effect even with small doses, although this would only cause a short period of drowsiness on the driver. Nonetheless, Nevada still considers driving after ingesting prescription medication illegal, something that people should remember before they hit the road.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are types of medication typically obtained by a person through a prescription provided by a qualified physician. These kinds of drugs are regulated by prescriptions as a countermeasure against possible drug abuse or proliferation by people who practice medicine without a license. Many common prescription medications have drowsiness as a side effect, seriously impairing a person’s ability to drive and focus.

Anxiety drugs

There are people who suffer from serious bouts with depression on a regular basis, possibly due to traumatic events, hormonal changes, or social issues. These people tend to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders that merit anxiety drugs as prescribed by their personal physicians. While they are meant to suppress the negative feeling for the sufferers, they also inflict various physical side-effects that can merit a DUI charge, like blurred vision, confusion, slowed motor ability and impaired judgement.


These kinds of prescription drugs are generally taken to deal with a variety of serious mental issues, ranging from general depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and in some cases, even when sleeps disorders and addictions. Their sedative effects are meant to make a patient relax, temporarily eliminating the symptoms of his or her mental issue. The effects have a close similarity to being drunk, especially in the aspects of slurred speech and a lack of focus.

Sleeping aids

People who suffer from lack of sleep tend to seek prescription for the purchase of sleeping pills. These pills vary in effect, ranging from instantaneous drowsiness to a delayed feeling of sleepiness felt mostly minutes or sometimes hours after the medicine was ingested. A few of DUI cases recorded in relation to sleeping pills have been the result of drivers expecting the effects to kick in by the time they got home, without considering the possibility of a varied effect due to physiological differences between people who ingest these drugs.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

These are the more typical drugs that most people tend to buy. Over-the-counter or OTC drugs can be bought in pharmacies without the need of a medical note from a professionally-licensed physician. These kinds of medication are meant to provide relief for people suffering from ordinary sicknesses like sore throats or body pains. As with prescription drugs, however, several of these OTC medications have side-effects that can cause a person to commit DUI offenses.


People take antihistamines to deal with personal allergies affecting them, like skin or pollen allergies. These kinds of medication contain substances that inhibit the activity of other substances that cause the body to react to allergies. These substances, however, also affect the body in a way that the person’s reaction times and focus are impaired slightly, signs that merit a DUI charge.


These medications are taken to relieve a person from pain, dealing with basic issues like headaches or body pain. Most analgesics have a narcotic side-effect in addition to their pain numbing capabilities, which can induce a state of unconsciousness on the person, a dangerous prospect if the person took these medicines right before taking to the road. The effects become stronger and more apparent in older people who ingest drugs, and in people who take these drugs regularly.

Cough and cold medications

These are the common remedies taken by people suffering from slight cases of colds and coughs, often ingested in syrup or pill form. Drowsiness was very likely, especially for most common cold medications. In some cases, however, some cough medications can affect the results of blood alcohol tests, causing a false DUI arrest.

Anti-motility drugs

These kinds of medicine are used to deal with symptoms related to diarrhea. While they tend to focus on dealing with the intestines and nearby areas of the body, they also provide the unintended side-effect of dizziness and drowsiness, two things a driver should never experience while at the wheel. Loperamide-based medications tend to cause these effects when taken, although it varies with the age of the taker.

Prescription and OTC drugs are developed to make it easier for people to deal with various kinds of medical conditions right as they manifest. People must remember, however, that some of these medications can put them in an unnecessarily tight spot as far as DUI arrests are concerned. Learn more about what drugs affect people in this way, and avoid being apprehended for driving under the influence in the future with the assistance of a DUI defense lawyer.

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