drugs-and-driving-dara

Don’t Even Dream Of Driving When On Drugs

Articles, Australia, International, Understanding Addiction

It would appear to most that those who purchase and use illegal substances would be best served by keeping as low a profile as possible in terms of brushes with law enforcement.

Unfortunately, hard evidence flies in the face of common sense. Untold numbers of regular drug users actually get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive while ‘high’:

Let’s take a look at why this combination is at best reckless and at worst fatal:

How do drugs affect your driving?

In all truth, a book could be written to answer the question, and if all aspects of this decidedly risky combination were covered the comprehensive content would give the 1,300 pages of ‘War and Peace’ a run for its money!

Many prescription drugs state clearly: “Do not drive while on a course of this medication”. This is stated because the content and quantity of each ‘ingredient’ is controlled, the ‘recipe’ is strictly adhered to during manufacture, and professional studies are regularly carried out to determine how people react when using these drugs.

In general, they either make a user drowsy or over-active, neither of which is recommended once behind the wheel. To understand the full reasons why you should not drive while on certain prescription medications please discuss with the medical professional who prescribed them.

Street drugs:

Please DO NOT ask any of the ‘street doctors’ peddling their wares what stance they take regarding driving while on your drug of choice. In the main they will have little knowledge of the individual chemicals and other contents or the actual strength from batch to batch.

On this point they are certainly not alone!

Strength and purity:

Two identical drugs taken by two different people are unlikely to give the same effects, so for starters you can never be sure as to how a particular drug will affect you.

Much more importantly, illegal drug producers opted out of health and safety schemes before setting up shop, and the quality control officer could well be one of the ‘lab’ assistants who is already deeply addicted to the drug in question and is more than happy to be the Guinea pig in terms of sampling the finished product.

This all means one thing to the user: The purity and strength of each new batch of illegal drugs is likely to vary. These two factors will also vary dependent upon the source of manufacture.

A snort or swallow into the unknown:

Please do not try and kid yourself that you are guaranteed a certain type of high, or exactly what your drug of choice contains. You will never really know just how wired that wrap in your pocket is going to make you feel, or the potency of that pill you have just popped is until you have actually committed and taken it.

After that there is no turning back, and due to these unknown effects, this is the first reason that you MUST turn your back on getting into the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

Common drug categories and effects on driving ability:

We will look at 3 acknowledged drug categories and their potential effects. This should show clearly why even considering driving under the influence is a very large no-no:

Depressant drugs:

Popular drugs that fall into this category include Weed (Marijuana/Cannabis), Horse (Heroin) and the opioid family along with Benzodiazepines. Just for the record this is the category alcohol comes under.

Potential effects:

  • Slower reactions
  • Reduction in concentration
  • Drowsiness and the desire to sleep
  • Slower processing and subsequent action relating to the ‘fluid’ pieces of information that come and go while driving
  • Driving correctly and safely requires the driver to constantly multitask. The effects of this drug make multitasking a challenge many cannot fully rise to.

Stimulant drugs:

Think Speed (amphetamine) Charlie (Cocaine) and ‘E’ (Ecstasy aka MDMA). As an aside, the majority of Ecstasy tablets sold today contain no MDMA whatsoever, but perhaps that topic is for another article!

By the nature of these drugs it should tell a user that when they are higher than a kite on a windy day, it is perhaps not wise to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Impaired driving will be seen by signs such as:

  • Difficulty in maintaining attention
  • A constant urge to fidget
  • Overly aggressive and dangerous driving behaviour
  • Overconfidence
  • Lack of required focus, there are far too many things going on simply to concentrate on driving.

Hallucinogens

What? Those experiencing a trip through drugs such as Acid (LSD), Special K (Ketamine), Shrooms (Magic Mushrooms), Mescs (Mescaline) and Angel Dust (PCP) will probably try and get into a different make, model and colour of their vehicle due to the hallucinogenic effects of these drugs!

Assuming they do get behind the wheel (the driver’s wheel that is!) the likelihood is that they will suffer some or all of the following:

  • Hearing and seeing things that aren’t actually real
  • Blurred and/or distorted vision
  • Their thought process is severely impaired; not to themselves you understand
  • Varying levels of reduced coordination

A partnership that should never see the light of day:

Those who dabble with illegal drugs should fully understand the potentially negative consequences of such use, but while under the influence of any drug they should never consider driving.

Put very plainly: There is no excuse or reason on earth that can justify such senseless, reckless behaviour.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.

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