Almost four drivers are banned from the road every day after exceeding drug-driving limits.
But not all drug drivers have been stopped for using “recreational drugs” such as cocaine and heroin. Some fall foul of the law after using prescription medication.
The government has a list of legal medication that can result in a drug driving charge if taken in excess.
Government drug driving list and what they are prescribed for:
- Amphetamine (dexamphetamine or selegiline) typically prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity
- Clonazepam used to prevent and treat seizures, panic disorder, and for the movement disorder known as akathisia
- Diazepam is used to anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or muscle spasms
- Flunitrazepam, often known as Rohypnol which is referred to as the date rape drug, and is medically used to treat severe insomnia
- Lorazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders
- Methadone is used to treat pain and as maintenance therapy or to help with weaning people with opioid dependence
- Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, (codeine, tramadol or fentanyl) are used to manage pain
- Oxazepam is used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia and in the control of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
- Temazepam is used to treat insomnia
New roadside tests make it easier to detect drug driving
New roadside drug screening devices were introduced, along with new driving limits for prescription drugs, in March 2015.
Police chiefs say since then they have been able to catch and convict more people who have been drug driving.
National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman Anthony Bangham said: “Far too many people still attempt to drive under the influence of drugs.
“We are better prepared to catch them than ever before and will ensure that they face the full penalty of law.”
Police drug driving conviction rates run at 98 per cent
Conviction rates of those stopped on suspicion of drug driving run at 98 per cent, the same as for drink driving.
Experts recommend those taking prescription medication should never exceed the dose recommended by their doctor and, if in any doubt, do not drive or use heavy machinery.
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