Prescription Drugs part of DUI in Oregon

Interviewer: In some states it operating while intoxicated, operating under the influence or all kinds of stuff, so that’s why I wanted to be clear about that. Okay. And you said it’s operating under the influence of intoxicants so, I understand alcohol is one but in terms of drugs, illegal drugs I can see, marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, PCP, mushrooms, all that stuff. How about prescription drugs, are they a part of the DUI statutes of Oregon?

Shannon: Yeah. Under the statute it says under the influence of a controlled substance. So a lot of the prescription drugs can and are in fact are controlled substances. So things such as pain killers or anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids, those are frequently charged with DUII. People who use those and then are adversely affected by the use of those substances and choose to drive. They can be arrested for DUII. So it’s not just, and that kind of gets into the nuances in the law and what qualifies as a controlled substance and what does not. So you can be under the influence of a prescription drug that is not a controlled substance that has some sort of adverse effect, [inaudible 2:26] determined and if it’s not in the controlled substance category, then you’re not going to be charged with DUII.

Interviewer: So what would happen if you chugged NyQuil and it made you sleepy and you were driving around and you’re pulled over? Would you have a possibility of being arrested and charged by doing that?

Shannon: It does have an amount of Alcohol in it. So if it was under the influence, I guess it would still be considered an intoxicating liquor, I guess in that case because of the alcohol. Because I guess at that point it would be whether or not according to the chemical analysis you’re either above the .08 percent, which is the legal limit here in Oregon or your mental and physical faculties are affected by that NyQuil.

Interviewer: So when people have ADHD, they take Adderall, things like that to help them concentrate. Those kinds of drugs, as well?

Shannon: Right. And some people that aren’t prescribed those drugs. Even I guess if you are prescribed those drugs you can abuse them or overuse them by accident and it can create some sort situation chemically in your body where you can be adversely affected or the state will try to show that you are. And so in that case you’re not going to find that by a breath test, these types of prescription drugs, they’re going to need to do another type of chemical analysis. It’s either going to have to be a urinalysis test, the testing of your urine, or a blood test.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

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