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Bad dream: Even drowsy driving can result in a DUI

Posted on July 23, 2020 in General DUI Topics

No state is tougher on impaired drivers than Arizona. Of course, most people think of DUI when they think of impaired driving, but the reality of Arizona law is that it’s illegal to drive “while under the influence of . . . any drug. . . if the person is impaired to the slightest degree.”

“Any drug” refers, of course, to marijuana and other illegal drugs, but it also refers to perfectly legal medications prescribed to you by a physician or purchased over the counter at a pharmacy. In fact, it is possible to be arrested for driving under the influence while you’re extremely drowsy due to the side-effects of a particular medication.

Fatigue-inducing medications

There are a number of prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) medications that can make you feel tired by affecting neurotransmitters that control how sleepy or awake you feel. These medications include:

  • Antihistamines: Bromfed, Dimetapp, Vistaril, Atarax, Antivert, and others. In fact, antihistamines are so good at bringing on fatigue that they are used in some sleeping pills, too.
  • Antidepressants: the type of antidepressant known as tricyclics can make you feel tired, including Elavil, Sinequan Tofranil, and Surmontil.
  • Anxiety medications: benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and more.
  • Blood pressure meds: beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Lopressor, Inderal, and others.
  • Muscle relaxants: Soma, Flexeril, others.
  • Pain medications: opioids such as Percodan, Percocet, OxyContin, Actiq, Opana, Vicodin, Lortab, and many others.
  • Seizure and epilepsy medications: Tegretol, Dilantin, Topamax, Depakene, etc.

The medications typically come with warnings not to drive after taking the tablets or pills. They’re not kidding. You can face an Arizona DUI charge and its many tough penalties if you’re driving while impaired as a result of a prescription, OTC medication, alcohol, or illegal drugs.

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