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Alcohol isn't the only impairing substance

When discussing DUI charges, we all tend to relate it to the act of driving under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, alcohol is only one of the many substances that can affect an individual's ability to drive. Impairment due to drugs is a serious threat to drivers and pedestrians, and it's one that can cause just as much damage and destruction as alcohol-related impairment.

Illegal drugs, as well as prescription medications, can impair an individual's driving ability enough to result in a DUI. This charge may stem from both intentional and unintentional intoxication. Drugs like marijuana and methamphetamines are effective enough on their own to produce impairment. Occasionally, substances that are relatively harmless on their own can significantly impair you when mixed with alcohol. Regardless of what medication or reason an individual has for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs, impaired driving can result in an arrest.

Just as every individual metabolizes and is affected by alcohol differently, medications and illegal drugs can affect drivers in various ways. These drugs and medications may impair an individual's alertness, motor skills, judgment and concentration. In this way, they can pose just as much of a danger to others as alcohol. Occasionally, medications such as cold medicine, decongestants and muscle relaxers don't produce impairment until mixed with alcohol or something else. When the cocktail of certain medications and alcohol is introduced into the system, significant impairment can occur.

Although it may be difficult to recognize impairment due to drugs and medications, many states, including Ohio, have adapted per se drugged driving laws. These laws make it illegal to drive with any amount of specific drugs in one's system. If you're found to have impairing substances in your system, whether they're illegal or prescription, you can be hit with the same fines and penalties as individuals found to be driving drunk.

Driving under the influence of drugs is a serious offense. Victims of drunk and drugged drivers may wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about their case.

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