DALLAS, Texas. Any drug you take can impact your ability to drive. This includes drunk driving and prescription medication. When discussing the risk of opioid use and driving, we must first make a distinction between opioid abuse and opioid prescription use. While opioids have come under fire in recent months because they pose a risk of dependence for users, there do remain cases where opioid use is appropriate. For example, persons who have been seriously injured may take these drugs to manage pain in the days after their injury. Individuals recovering from surgery may take these drugs for a short period of time to manage pain. And cancer patients or other terminally ill patients may take opioid drugs to reduce breakthrough pain or for palliative care.
Patients who have been prescribed opioids, should be warned about the risk that they pose while driving. While some patients are still able to drive while taking prescription opioids, it is generally recommended that patients avoid driving in the first few days of taking the drug because these drugs can lead to fatigue. According to the Journal of Palliative Medicine, approximately 20-60% of opioid patients experience sedative effects when taking these drugs. Most patients experience these effects in the first few days after starting these drugs, so doctors will usually tell patients to avoid driving until they adjust.
However, there is a distinction between prescription opioid use and opioid abuse. Opioid abuse can result in impaired driving. When patients abuse opioids, they may be taking more of the drug than directed, or may vary their dosage, making them more at risk of experiencing the drug’s sedative effects. This can impair their driving.
According to the Mayo Clinic, opioids work because they release endorphins—which are the brain’s chemicals that help you feel great. Individuals may want to experience the endorphin rush again, and they may turn to opioids to get this fix. Yet, over time, if you continue to take opioids or if you abuse them, your body will stop producing the same amount of endorphins. In order to get the same good feeling from taking opioids, you’ll need to take more. Worse, if you stop taking these drugs, you’ll feel terrible because your body will suffer from lower endorphin levels in your system. Quitting opioids without support can also increase health risks, so if you believe you may suffer from addiction, it is important to speak to your doctor and to seek help.
Car accident victims are at risk of developing opioid addiction, because they may be prescribed these drugs to manage pain after a crash. If you are concerned about opioid addiction after a car accident, consider speaking to your doctor about alternatives to pain management, like chiropractic care, physical therapy, meditation, acupuncture, massage, or other therapies.
Finally, if you’ve been in a car accident and believe the other driver may have been drunk or under the influence of opioids, you may have the right to seek damages under the law. The Lenahan Law Firm are personal injury lawyers in Dallas, Texas who can work with you to help you seek the damages you may deserve under the law. You may only have a limited amount of time to seek damages for your lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, and medical bills. Let our Dallas, Texas drunk driving lawyers help you today.