Mixing Advil and Xanax Could Land You a DUI

Flickr User: arcanum75

Swerving, delayed reaction time or other erratic driving behavior often signals to a Police Officer that someone’s had a few too many cocktails.

But the trend Arizona law enforcement is seeing more and more are intoxicated drivers who’ve indulged in a different cocktail of sorts.

That is, a mixture of prescription drugs, anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medicines and other recreational drugs.

In fact, the number of drug-related DUI cases handled by the Arizona Department of Public Safety rose from about 4,400 in 1999 to more than 14,700 last year, an increase of more than 230 percent. The state’s population in that period rose only about 38 percent.

These cases are becoming more and more commonplace. Legally prescribed drugs are more accessible, and when they are mixed and mingled – occasionally for legitimate therapeutic purposes but more often because of abuse or ignorance – they can land people behind bars.

Authorities contribute an increase in drug-related arrests to careless use of prescription drugs, better police training to recognize impairment and cutting-edge equipment that detects even traces in blood samples.

Law-enforcement officials also point out that most drug-related DUI cases they encounter are the result of drivers mixing prescription drugs, occasionally throwing in alcohol or recreational drugs.

The people being charged with drug-related DUIs don’t fit the profile of threats to society. In fact, Police find a large portion are professionals or housewives or people who aren’t really well-informed that they shouldn’t be driving.

Turns out, most plead ignorance. Many don’t consider themselves criminals or drug users. They don’t correlate their prescription-drug use with the offense.

What police see on the streets is borne out by research. The Arizona Department of Health Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration report that more than half of new admissions for addiction treatment in Arizona are for pharmaceuticals.

Please be careful and be mindful of what you put in your body and know that combining substances across the spectrum can affect your body in ways you may not realize.