In August 2017, Tiger Woods was arrested on a DUI charge in Florida. According to the case's toxicology report, the golf superstar who has won 14 majors to date had five different types of drugs in his system: Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Alprazolam (Xanax), Zolpidem (Ambien), and even THC.
Law enforcement officials said Woods was found asleep at the wheel of his Mercedes-Benz at around three in the morning. Upon being awakened by officers, his speech slurred and extremely slow, while informing police that he takes several prescription drugs.
Just like Florida law, driving under the influence of any drug—including prescription medication—is against the law in California. However, each prescription has a different effect on the human mind and body—not to mention what happens when multiple prescriptions are taken at the same time.
The following are the side effects of common prescription drugs:
- Pain medication – Common pain meds such as codeine, fentanyl, or Demerol may impair driving in several ways, such as fatigue, dizziness, and lightheadedness.
- Sleep medication – From sleep disorders to anxiety, tranquilizers and sleep meds treat these conditions. However, side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, and lack of muscle control, which could all result in dangerous driving.
- Cough medication – For severe or persistent cough, you may use a stronger cough suppressant compared to over-the-counter medication. Many of these cough medicines contain codeine, which makes you intoxicated and drowsy. But even over-the-counter medication can cause fatigue.
- Allergy medication – Antihistamines and other allergy meds treat various allergic reactions but also lead to temporary drowsiness.
- Antidepressants – These medications affect different people in various ways, which what makes them quite tricky. Besides drowsiness, other side effects include dizziness and blurred vision.
If you are currently taking prescription medication or starting a new medication, avoid driving and take some time to assess how you react with it prior to getting behind the wheel. Discuss the potential side effects with your doctor and practice caution when consuming alcohol while under medication.