Friday, December 31, 2010

Drugged Driving More Widespread than Drunk Driving

Pharmacists this holiday season are warning about the effects of drugged driving. They say that certain medications can impair perception, judgement and reaction time in people. Jan Engle, Pharmacy Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, says that there are many medications that people should not take before driving yet often do anyway. She says that drugged driving is often caused by people not taking time to read the labels of drugs or ask their pharmacist about the medications before taking them and getting behind the wheel.

Engle says that travelers should talk to their pharmacists about their medications before going places this holiday season. "It's really important to think about, when your traveling, what you need to do with your medicines, especially if if you're traveling over different timezones. You can talk to your pharmacist to determine whether or not you have to adjust the schedule you take your medicine. For example, in an extreme case, if you were flying to Asia where the time difference is 12 hours you may need to be taking your medicine at night versus in the morning."

According to the National Highway and Safety Administration 20% of accidents in the U.S. are a result of drugged driving. While over 16% of weekend and nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter medication.

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