Opiates are narcotic medications that work in the brain to help relieve pain. These substances bind to the opioid receptors in the brain to depress the central nervous system. They tell your body you are not really in pain. When taken, they produce a sense of calm, relaxation, and euphoria. Also, opiates are highly addictive.
Opiate Side Effects Will Impact Your Driving
Opiates have several side-effects. Some of the most common include sedation, dizziness, constipation, nausea and vomiting, physical dependence, and respiratory depression. When a person gets a prescription for any opiate medication, they will notice a warning label that is attached cautioning them against operating any heavy machinery until they know how the medication is going to affect them. Heavy machinery does include motor vehicles. Driving while on opiates can be very dangerous, especially if you have never taken them before.
Driving While on Opiates is Dangerous
Opiates do slow one’s reaction time, cause drowsiness, and can cloud one’s judgment especially when they are first started or a dose is increased. For a person that is on chronic opioids due to an illness or injury, they need to be stabilized before they ever attempt to get behind the wheel of a car. For someone that is struggling with an addiction to opiates, most likely they are never stable and may be taking other drugs or medications along with the opiates. Anyone in this situation should not be driving, period. If you’re addicted to opiates and drive while high, getting into a treatment program as soon as possible is strongly recommended because you’re a danger to yourself and others while on the road. According to the Department of Transportation:
If you are taking a prescription drug, or get a prescription for a new medicine or a higher dose of a current drug, do not drive until you know what effect it has on your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Additionally, certain medications may not impair you on their own, but if taken with a second medication or with alcohol, they may cause impairment. Know that warnings against “operating heavy machinery” include driving a vehicle. It doesn’t matter what term you use: If a person is feeling a little high, buzzed, stoned, wasted, or drunk, he or she is impaired and should not get behind the wheel. Before leaving the pharmacy, understand the warnings about the drugs you are taking. If you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication that may impair your driving, you should not drive. (NHTSA)
The number of prescription opiates that have been detected in fatally injured drivers has increased remarkably in the past two years in the United States. Studies have been done on driving while under the influence of opiates, and it showed that the use of prescription opioids more than doubled the risk of causing a fatal car crash involving two cars. And, in 2016, 44 percent of drivers that were involved in fatal car crashes tested positive for drugs. Before getting behind the wheel of any vehicle, it’s important to evaluate the situation and determine whether you can safely operate that vehicle. Also note, that it is against the law to drive while impaired or under the influence of any substance in the United States.
Treatment for Opiate Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting edge addiction treatment. We offer a safe environment and treat our clients with respect. We specialize in making sure our patients have the most comfortable detox process possible. You no longer have to continue to suffer out of fear. Give us a call today.