1. #1
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    Legal Narcotic Use and Driving

    My doctor prescribed a narcotic pain reliever to me yesterday. On the bottle it says "Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery". What does this mean? I DO use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery all the time.

    So is it legal to drive after taking this? If not, how long after taking it should I wait before driving?

    I apologize if this has been asked before. I did a search for "narcotic" and "driving" and got a lot of hits but I didn't see this question.

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    Molon Labe
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB View Post
    My doctor prescribed a narcotic pain reliever to me yesterday. On the bottle it says "Use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery". What does this mean? I DO use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery all the time.

    So is it legal to drive after taking this? If not, how long after taking it should I wait before driving?

    I apologize if this has been asked before. I did a search for "narcotic" and "driving" and got a lot of hits but I didn't see this question.
    Short version is NO, it is not legal to drive while taking this drug if you are impaired at all.

    It is considered 'DUI-Drugs' here in CA, and the punishment is exactly the same as for DUI-Alcohol.
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    Iowa is the same as what LA DEP replied.

    That is why the caution is there
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    +1 to LA DEP's response

    Here's my 2 cents...

    Use your common sense. If you absolutely have to drive while taking the medication, try taking it a couple hours prior to getting on the road. If you at all feel impaired, drunk, high, odd, goofy, etc. or any other variations thereof, you probably shouldn't be driving.

    If you can get a ride from a friend, family member, coworker, etc. you may want to consider doing that just to be safe.
    Last edited by Street_Cop50; 04-13-2011 at 01:41 PM.

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    If it is a narcotic there is a good chance there will be impairment. Take care of yourself and others on the roadway and stay home or have someone else drive you.

    Same as above where I am; DUI. I have arrested for it before.

    Alcohol is legal as well but if you are impaired by it and drive......

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    If you are impaired you can be hooked up for OVI. I suspect that the drug has a more adverse reaction on some than others.

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    Lightbulb

    Like everyone else said.....

    ".....under the influence of any, self-administered, intoxicant or drug......"


    Any questions ???????????
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    It depends on your own response to the medication. AFAIK there is no "Blood Alcohol Hydrocodone" legal cutoff like there is for alcohol. Personally I can take a painkiller or 2 and not feel a thing and drive just fine. Other people get all loopy from just 1 so they have to cut them in half.

    If you feel any impairment, don't drive. It will not turn out good if you cause a wreck and they find painkillers in your system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fëanor View Post
    It depends on your own response to the medication. AFAIK there is no "Blood Alcohol Hydrocodone" legal cutoff like there is for alcohol.
    Not sure about anywhere else, but here, any detectable amount of a narcotic in your system while driving is primae facie evidence of Operating with a Prohibited Controlled Substance. In other words, if they find it in your blood, you're considered impaired.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRT936 View Post
    Not sure about anywhere else, but here, any detectable amount of a narcotic in your system while driving is primae facie evidence of Operating with a Prohibited Controlled Substance. In other words, if they find it in your blood, you're considered impaired.
    +1

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    So, how long would it be in my blood? I figured that I would treat it like alcohol. I don't drink often but when I do drink I don't drive until the next day. But I'm curious if I took it after I got to work if it would still be in my system 9 hours later. I would never drive while "feeling high" or loopy or whatever but if you read my thread a while ago about sobriety tests you might remember that I have a really bad sense of balance. I really wouldn't want to risk driving while having any trace of this in my system. On the other hand I'm in a lot of pain so I'd like to be able to take this at some time. I haven't taken it yet. I got it filled this morning and thought I'd take it tonight to see how bad it hits me and get an idea of how long it will last.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fëanor View Post
    It depends on your own response to the medication. AFAIK there is no "Blood Alcohol Hydrocodone" legal cutoff like there is for alcohol. Personally I can take a painkiller or 2 and not feel a thing and drive just fine. Other people get all loopy from just 1 so they have to cut them in half.

    If you feel any impairment, don't drive. It will not turn out good if you cause a wreck and they find painkillers in your system.
    The 'legal level' is pretty much zero.....if you get stopped for a traffic violation, and the officer sees some signs/symptoms of you being under the influence, then you will most likely get balanced out.

    If you fail the SFSTs, then you will get arrested for DUI-Drugs.....a blood test will confirm or deny the prescence or absence of any substances in your blood.....and the test doesnt come back with a 'level' like it does with alcohol...it just shows that it is there.

    You are welcome to try and fight the charge in court, but the type of DUI lawyer that would be required to even have a chance in front of a jury would set you back about 10K-20K here in the LA area.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LA DEP View Post
    The 'legal level' is pretty much zero.....if you get stopped for a traffic violation, and the officer sees some signs/symptoms of you being under the influence, then you will most likely get balanced out.

    If you fail the SFSTs, then you will get arrested for DUI-Drugs.....a blood test will confirm or deny the prescence or absence of any substances in your blood.....and the test doesnt come back with a 'level' like it does with alcohol...it just shows that it is there.

    You are welcome to try and fight the charge in court, but the type of DUI lawyer that would be required to even have a chance in front of a jury would set you back about 10K-20K here in the LA area.
    Which leads me back to my question of how long will it be in my blood? If I were to only take it after I got home from work would I be "clean" the following morning? That would be about 13 hours later from when I take it until I'd want to drive again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB View Post
    Which leads me back to my question of how long will it be in my blood? If I were to only take it after I got home from work would I be "clean" the following morning? That would be about 13 hours later from when I take it until I'd want to drive again.
    First up, what kind of narcotic are we talking about. Different types have different half-lives.
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    A medical question that would be better answered by a doctor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SRT936 View Post
    First up, what kind of narcotic are we talking about. Different types have different half-lives.
    Morphine Sulphate. When I was in the hospital they gave me dilaudid via IV. Holy cow did THAT make me loopy! I had to stop the nurse about half way while she was administering it because it had already hit me and I wasn't liking the ride! I had her come back about 20 minutes later to give me the rest of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
    A medical question that would be better answered by a doctor.
    He did not know specifically. He said that he would recommend not driving while feeling any effects from the medication. I think the warning on the bottle is insufficient. It should say "Do not operate a moving vehicle or dangerous machinery while under the influence of this medication".

    I am a reasonable and responsible person and I won't drive while I'm feeling the effects of the med. But I am concerned about the letter of the law because that is what I could potentially be held to. However, given the variables I guess there is no way for me or you to answer this question to any degree of certainty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB View Post
    Morphine Sulphate.
    Morphine Sulfate is a funny critter. The effective half-life of morphine is 4-5 hours, however, it will be detectable in your system for several hours after the effects have worn off. Unfortunately, the more you take, the longer it resides in your system. That means giving you a hard and firm time line is impossible.

    Morphine is definitely a drug in the category of "Don't Drive while taking". In other words, I, personally, would not drive at all while taking morphine. In fact, I'd wait 48 to 72 hours after taking my last dose before I would get behind the wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by kontemplerande View Post
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    Hi JonB:

    How long a drug stays detectably in your system depends on what drug and how much of it and on your individual physical characteristics.

    Please bear in mind that your blood is not to be seized without your consent unless there is PC to believe you were DUI. Additionally in Illinois the PO must have PC to believe the following:

    1. A motor vehicle operated by one person has caused personal injury or death to another.
    2. The person whose blood is to be be drawn was driving or in actual physical control of that motor vehicle.
    3. The injury was apparent.
    4. The person was under the influence of an intoxicant.

    Ref 625 ILCS 5/11-501.2(c)(2).

    According to the rules, the injury must be suffered by a person other than the suspect. So if the driver was injured in an accident but no one else was, then a forcible blood draw would not be legal.

    In point of fact, blood draws are rarely done for DUI, because in the vast majority of cases the person acts drunk, smells like alcohol, can't pass the FST, and then blows more than .08 on the breath test.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRT936
    Not sure about anywhere else, but here, any detectable amount of a narcotic in your system while driving is primae facie evidence of Operating with a Prohibited Controlled Substance. In other words, if they find it in your blood, you're considered impaired.
    It's not "prohibited controlled substance", it's "restricted controlled substance", but. I think the latter term doesn't make much sense linguistically either.

    Illinois doesn't have Wisconsin's "restricted controlled substance" (Schedule I drug) policy. WI has exemptions for methamphetamine, GHB, and THC, as long as they're prescribed, but not for any other "restricted controlled substances". What a trio to pick for exemption. WI law doesn't place that no detectable amount in blood while driving prohibition on all narcotics, just Schedule I drugs. There are many narcotics in Schedule II, including morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone (that's generic for brand name dilaudid), codeine, and opium.

    So you could legally drive after the soporific effect of the morphine sulfate wore off, even if you were driving from Chicago to Kenosha.

    I suggest that depending on what drug you're taking and how much, either don't drive at all, or exercise due compensatory caution.

    Please be safe.

    Monty
    Last edited by Monty Ealerman; 04-13-2011 at 07:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monty Ealerman View Post
    It's not "prohibited controlled substance", it's "restricted controlled substance", but. I think the latter term doesn't make much sense linguistically either.
    While the statute says "restricted" the charge is officially captioned "Operating with Prohibited Controlled Substance" or PCS for short.
    Quote Originally Posted by kontemplerande View Post
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    Regardless of whether the drug is legally consumed, driving under the influence is illegal. Driving under the influence of OTC meds also is illegal.
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    If you have ANY type of narcotic in your system (that could impair your driving ability ) while operating a vehicle on any public road, you could be charged with DUI in most (if not all) states.
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    When I had surgery Morphine didn't do crap for me, just doesn't kill the pain. Percocet sure does, that is what I took when I was home, I would usually take just one but one day I wanted to take a walk so I took 2, that is what I was allowed to take at one time. I was very high, felt no pain at all, there was a festival going on and some roads were closed, I didn't go to the festival because beer with Percocet is not in my best interest. I stopped to talk to one of the officers that I know, I think he found me entertaining, I did tell him I was on drugs. I was not driving, walking was good for my recovery but it was painful without drugs.


    Many medications have the warning about operating cars or machinery, often its to cover the manufacture's butt. What might make you high won't do anything to me and you might take something that doesn't affect you may make me high. My feeling in this is take the medication for a while and lean how it affects you and if you feel you can drive safely do so.
    Last edited by Justsaying; 04-14-2011 at 04:03 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAL View Post
    Regardless of whether the drug is legally consumed, driving under the influence is illegal. Driving under the influence of OTC meds also is illegal.
    What OTC would do that?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justsaying View Post
    What OTC would do that?
    Benedryl is famous for making people very sleepy while other allergy/cold medications will make some "nervous"/"jittery".

    My emergency inhaler gives me a buzz for about 4 minutes after using it and my 2x a day inhaler gives me no noticeable feelings but makes my pupils huge.

    Alka-Seltzer Plus raises my blood pressure so high my doctor's told me to never use it and I did have an "energy" feeling when I used it.

    Most OTC labels will mention possible reactions.





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    Bottom line is if it's legally prescribed and consumed according to recommended dosages, then you have to learn how it affects your judgment and time/distance perception. If there's no effect, then drive with due caution.

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