Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    DUI/DWI while driving on prescription pain meds
    trs1960 posted:
    My good friend was supposed to have lumbar surgery yesterday. Tuesday he was in the doctor with bronchitis and a severe sinus infection so surgery is postponed. Sicker than a dog he had to make a 20 mile drive for his wife. Trying to keep his wife happy he marched on despite the sinus infection causing intermittent blurred and double vision. Almost home his eyes started to really bother him and he was having trouble driving. He got pulled over and was in so much pain he could hardly get out of the truck. He did and they asked why he was in so much pain so he told the officer that he was supposed to be having spine surgery that day, but got real sick so surgery is postponed.

    Officer, "so you have back must take medication for the pain?" He answered yes, as prescribed and the next he knew they slapped the handcuffs on him.

    I have been seeing him at least weekly for the last few months and I saw him Tuesday the Dr.s office and he was so sick he could hardly walk.

    I haven't found the legal limit for NV yet, but I know he's on pretty low doses...well low for a veteran like us. His sinuses were so bad he could hardly see. I know he takes meds minimally. His wife keeps all his meds locked up and only gives him meds when he can't handle the pain and needs them. (I don't agree with that, but that's between them)

    So he'll surely have some opiate in his blood stream, but it shouldn't be much. Both of his doctors will state that he is responsible with his meds and the one doc just saw him 24 hrs previous for the illness I described. Double vision from sinus pressure is more detrimental than a pain pill a few hours earlier. I know his driving was not impaired by the narcotic, but from the illness. I saw him earlier that day and he could hardly walk!

    His brother is a detective and at least got him released. He has court a few days after he'll be released from the rescheduled surgery (fusing T12-L4)

    I'm hoping that with a few doctor's notes and coming in to court in a wheel chair and a good lab report the judge will see the forest through the trees...

    Cross your fingers. He's the nicest guy in the world and did too much work trying to fix something for his wife and over did it while being very ill. This could ruin him financially and destroy the very marriage he putting out effort to build. I understand we have to be careful about driving under the influence, but that's not what this was. It was overworked, under slept, in intractable pain and sick as a dog.

    He has two small children and has been disabled for ten years. He's given all he has to his wife and kids and now??

    Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He didn't deserve this, he was 100% honest so they just hooked him up and took blood for the lab. When they found out more (besides his brother being a detective he knows half the dept on a first name base) they felt terrible and told him they were sorry, but by then it was too late. He was in the system

    Be careful, you never know where the wrong answer could make you an instant felon...
    darlyn05 responded:
    Seriously! We're not suppose to drive on prescription pain meds?
    davedsel responded:
    What a nightmare. I will definitely be praying for your friend, Tim.
    Click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


    aprilrose9 responded:
    Dear Tim,

    So sad for your good friend. Being the good friend you are, I am sure you are going through all of this with so much worry and concern for your friend and his family.

    Like everyone else, this does not make sense. I am such a straight laced person and all my friends know this, but I have been questioned by my friends about driving while taking pain meds. News flash to my friends and this uneducated police officer, a theraputic dose in a patient in pain does not make them "high". I have told people who do not understand the physiology, I am UNSAFE driving WITHOUT medication.

    Anyway, come on. Do you have any idea how many people drive who have serious cardiac problems? All those clogged coronary arteries and diseased SA nodes out there. People with poorly controlled blood sugar. AV malformations in their brains. If you want to put this type of control over drivers with a medical would probably take millions off the road.

    This is the dumbest, sad, real life story I have heard today, but the day is young.

    Keep us posted. Prayers for your friend and his family. This is the last thing he needs to worry about when he is going to have surgery. How expensive is all the legal stuff going to be? Wonder if he can get an attorney to help him out pro bono?
    bj1208 replied to darlyn05's response:
    Hi Darlyn -

    that's true - we're not "supposed" to - my pain doc has pre-printed RX pads that have: DO NOT DRIVE, DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL, and there is one more - can't think what it is - I asked them about this when I first started going to them - they said "USE CAUTION" and that's true - mixture of different types of pain meds can give off the appearance of driving under influence - hence they changed it from driving while intoxicated to influence so that includes just about anything they want to stick on you.

    I worry about this too as I have a hard time getting in and most out of cars/trucks etc and I walk with a cane so they would have a hayday with me. Next time you get a pain med filled look and see if they stamp it or if it's pre-written on it.
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    bj1208 responded:
    Tim - so sorry about your neighbor - that really sucks - think I would be looking into why he was pulled over etc. and what the "influence" limit is for RX meds. will be praying!!
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    trs1960 replied to bj1208's response:
    He was pulled over because he was actually trying to cover one eye to 142 clear the vision he bumped his soda and that was it. It will all depend on his tox screen. Luckily his wife had been freaking out before so he told her to maintain and dose his meds to prove to her GE was taking them as prescribed. So I know he wasn't increasing his doses she's OCD and was giving him a hard Tim even when he quit taking them. He recently blew a lumbar disk though which is why the surgery is scheduled, but with the sinus and kung infection the surgery was re-scheduled.
    bj1208 replied to trs1960's response:
    I think he should be ok - from what it sounds he's not on the heavy meds like we are (or at least me: morphine/oxycodone/neurontin).

    They always say you must maintain driving no matter what you spill/drop etc but there's always that one time that it happens and seems there's always a cop around. maybe he can cal his doc and pain doc to testify, if need be - where did he have the tox screen done? if they did it at site he should have gone to ER to request it - damn they do it anyway when they do urine and blood samples.

    Keep us posted what happens~~pray everything turns out~~
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    darlyn05 replied to bj1208's response:
    Hey Joy, Thanx for the info, totally new news to me. I check my bottle of Lyrica and it states; may cause drowsiness, alcohol may intensify this effect. use care when operating a car or dangerous machinery. Why can't someone be direct and tell us "You can not drive or operate machinery while taking this medication, It's against the law"? Just nuts I tell ya. Can that be considered entrapment?
    trs1960 replied to darlyn05's response:
    Even my morphine just says "use caution..."

    If its illegal it should say " do not operate..."

    The NV limit is 50 nano-grams/milliliter. I have no idea what that equates to. I think the only drug in his system that will be trouble is the two oxycodones he took a few hours before. That would put them right at one half life.

    It's so sad
    bj1208 replied to trs1960's response:
    I looked again at my bottles and they say the same - use caution - everyone is different and reacts to meds differently so I don't think they can say it's illegal to drive/operate heavy machinery etc.

    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    aprilrose9 replied to bj1208's response:
    Hello everyone, I have been thinking about this since Tim put up the original post. Physicians (and the hospital) are very worried about anything they prescribe or diagnosis, and how legal issues come into play. Various proceedures, surgeries and diagnosis, come with mega documentation to protect the physician and hospital.

    What I am getting at, when we go to the pain clinic we sign a contract (I think mine was 2 pages long) concerning the legal issues with pain medication. For instance, a police report if medications are stolen. If driving is "illegal" while taking prescribed medication and there is a max limit in your state, then why is this info not included when we sign our pain clinic contracts.

    Helpful Tips

    Ice works wonders More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 4 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center