Saturday, November 01, 2008
DUI with Drugs?
Q: I read your article on your Drug Recognition Experts and was wondering if someone can be arrested if they are taking a prescription drug, but have not been drinking?

A: Definitely. Prescription drug abuse is a HUGE problem nationally and one that I have run into during DRE evaluations as well. indiana Statute 9-30-5-1 states that it is a violation if a person drives, operates, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance:
(c) A person who operates a vehicle with a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II of IC 35-48-2 or its metabolite in the person's body commits a Class C misdemeanor.
(d) It is a defense to subsection (c) that the accused person consumed the controlled substance under a valid prescription or order of a practitioner (as defined in IC 35-48-1) who acted in the course of the practitioner's professional practice.

It does not matter if the person has a prescription or not (it is, however, an affirmative defense if they are taking the prescription as prescribed). It also states that it is a violation to be “knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person's ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle.” Those items include paint, paint thinner, glue, etc.

As many medications of depressants or narcotics indicate that alcohol may intensify the effects, or recommend to not operate heavy machinery (they also mean driving), mixing even one 12 oz. beer with a prescription drug like Vicodin and intensify the effects on a persons body which can impair them off, for example, one drink (maybe a .02 BAC) but when combined with the drugs in the system can impair a persons ability to safely drive a vehicle the same as a .11 BAC as an example. great care and forethought should be used if you are in this situation.

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posted by South Bend Police Department @ 10:06 AM  

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