Interviewer: What would you say are the biggest misconceptions people have about DUI drug cases?
Sam Sachs: The biggest misconception is if the doctor prescribed it for me, it’s okay for me to take it and drive. One of the worst video tapes I ever saw of roadside tests was a woman who had no alcohol in her system. She looked so stumble down drunk it was unbelievable. It was a woman I represented, and what she had done was take her migraine medication. Instead of going to sleep, as she was supposed to, she determined that she needed to go out and drive somewhere. She was found not guilty.
Is It Necessary to Check Warning Labels on Prescription Medication In Order to Determine if It Can Cause Impairment
When I heard her story and saw the videotape, I had a hard time believing that she wasn’t under the influence of some kind of drug. When I got the lab report all she took was her migraine medication. There are certain medications that are given for stomach problems that can cause drowsiness if you read the labels on prescription bottles. Many prescriptions, such as blood pressure medications and heart medications can cause drowsiness and they also say on their labels they can cause an inability to operate machinery and sometimes difficulty in driving.
Prescription Medication Taken With Alcohol Can Cause Serious Impairment
Many people accommodate to prescription drugs over time, but when you take something for the first time, or the second time, or the third time, they may not accommodate to it, so it becomes a pretty serious situation. Again, you have something in your system and if you have a small amount of alcohol, typically not enough to cause a problem, maybe a shot of Nyquil, which contains alcohol, now they say ah ha, see, they had drugs and they had alcohol and it was the combination of the two and the Officer’s opinion is that they were intoxicated.
The Majority of People Charged With Drug Related DUI are Not Addicts or Drug Dealers
Interviewer: Do you think it’s also a misconception by society that someone that has a drug DUI might be someone who’s some sort of a drug addict and drug dealer?
Sam Sachs: It’s very rare actually. It’s almost always the average Joe or Jane that has some prescription meds. Let’s say they’re taking tranquilizers because they have anxiety. Some people are affected by those, some people acclimate to them, and they are okay and some people get impaired because of them. They take them too often or they take them according to the way that they are prescribed, but they’re suffering from severe anxiety. If they then get behind the wheel and drive, it’s a drug DUI. Driving under the influence of name your favorite drug. Same thing with Ambien. Ambien has gotten all kinds of press as it causes lots of side effects, but if you take Ambien and you don’t stay in bed and asleep for the prescribed period of time, even though you may not be sleep walking, which is one of the problems with Ambien, you still are impaired.
Anti-Depressants and Psychotropic Drugs are a Major Cause of Drug Related DUI Charges
You could be substantially impaired if you’re trying to operate a vehicle after taking it. Same thing with anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are rampant. There is a very large segment of the population taking anti-depressants and other psychotropic drugs. They don’t realize that they may slow down their reaction time. They may slow down their judgment. They may end up in an accident. When asked: “well what did you take,” the cop will say “you know we know you took something,” they admit they did and try to justify it by saying“ well my doctor prescribed it.” People think that that’s a get out of jail free card and it’s not. Doctor prescribed doesn’t mean it’s okay to take and drive.