You may think you are safe to take prescription drugs before hitting the road. You legally possess them after all, right? Well in many places, including Florida, that is not the case. You can be charged with a DUI if you are on a prescription drug while driving.

The term “under the influence” means more than just under the influence of illegal drugs and drunkenness. This term, as it pertains to legal and prescription drugs, applies to every state. And, specifically, those prescription drugs that impair your motor skills are more likely to influence how you drive.

Legal drug types and their impact on your driving

Because you received a prescription or you purchased a drug that is supposed to help you heal, you may not realize that you can still be charged with a DUI. Did you know opioids can impair your thinking and judgment? Some common prescription opioids are:

  • Codeine
  • morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • fentanyl
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • oxymorphone (Opana®)

These drugs can also cause confusion, nausea and even slow breathing. If you abuse them, the effects become harmful and further add to your risk of driving consequences. Other legal drugs can also impair your driving.

Even if you are consuming the recommended dosage, using some cough medicines, for instance, can cause drowsiness and blurred vision. It may be true that the pain—that is, the reason for your need of legal drugs—could just as easily impair your driving. But to state it plainly, if you are in that much pain, you may want to consider finding a ride.

Taking road safety seriously

Recommendations against taking legal drugs before operating a vehicle come straight from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And, while penalties will vary depending on the severity of the charge and your overall condition, there is no such thing as a minor DUI. Be aware that you risk a DUI when you drive a vehicle under any drug.