DUI Includes Meds Too

As reported on Seacoastonline.com by Elizabeth Dinan (4/09), DWI doesn't always mean driving while intoxicated. A pair of older drivers in Portsmouth, NH discovered that recently when they were arrested for DWI charges alleging they were driving while impaired by prescribed medications.

Certified drug recognition expert and police Lt. Corey MacDonald says those kinds of arrests "are relatively new," but the Portsmouth public can expect to see more of them. The city police department has five officers certified as drug recognition experts (DRE), a percentage MacDonald said is comparatively higher than most police departments. "Coupled with the fact that a lot of society is heavily medicated," he said, DWI will more often mean driving while impaired. "We're definitely looking at it more," he said. "It used to be that if a driver didn't have an odor of alcohol, they would be released. Now we're looking beyond that."

Also serving as manager of the city's police prosecution office, MacDonald said DRE officers on the street can offer "expert opinion" as to whether a driver is impaired by prescription medication, while urine or blood samples provide ultimate proof. Since New Hampshire does not accept urine samples, blood tests are used in this state and reveal specific medications, he said. MacDonald's advice for drivers taking prescribed medication is to follow the advice of the prescribing physician. He said most arrests are the result of someone taking a wrong dose, mixing medications and/or consuming alcohol with medications. Someone combining one drug with one drink, he said, becomes as impaired one who had two drinks or two drugs.  
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Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

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