You’ve probably heard about people facing driving under the influence charges because of drugs, but you may not realize that some of those people may have been using medications legally. Did you know that you can face a DUI if you’re driving while impaired by prescription medications? Even over-the-counter medications can lead to a DUI if you suffer from side effects that affect your ability to drive.

Usually, a DUI refers to alcohol intoxication, but the reality is that any impairing substance can lead to a DUI. If your ability to drive your vehicle safely is impaired, then you could be pulled over and face charges for a DUI.

How do prescription medications lead to DUIs?

Medications can lead to DUI charges if they impair your ability to drive safely. Some prescription common medications can cause impairment. These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Valium
  • Decongestants
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleeping pills
  • Hydrocodone

Here’s an example. If John has a kidney stone, his doctor may prescribe hydrocodone, an opioid pain reliever, to help him get through the pain until it passes or he can receive further treatment. Hydrocodone can cause drowsiness, mental/mood changes, changes in vision and other side effects that may make it dangerous for him to drive.

If you’re going to take any kind of medication, it’s a good idea to take it when you’re going to be home, at least the first time. Don’t plan on driving anywhere on these medications until you know how they’ll affect you. If you find that you don’t have many side effects, then you may be able to drive safely. However, some people do struggle with drowsiness and other side effects. If you do, then you shouldn’t be driving.