Most people know that drinking and driving is dangerous. Perhaps you never have more than one drink if you need to drive home at the end of the night. What you may not know is that prescription drugs can make this situation dangerous regardless of how much you drink. Any combination of alcohol and prescription drugs can lead to a DUI or even death.

If you take prescription drugs, you should know the following information before getting behind the wheel. 

Drugs exacerbate impairment.

In isolation, having a drink or taking your prescription may not impair your driving at all. When combined, however, they are likely to exacerbate any effects of impairment. This is because many prescription medications are metabolized by the same enzyme that handles alcohol, meaning that when you ingest both simultaneously, your body will take longer and have more trouble processing either. Results can vary, from drowsiness, vomiting and headache to more severe symptoms such as fainting and difficulty breathing, none of which are safe while driving.


You may appear intoxicated even when you’re not.

Combining prescription drugs and alcohol often causes people to appear intoxicated even if they’ve only consumed a small amount of alcohol. There have been instances of arrest simply on the grounds of symptoms such as bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Though such symptoms may not affect your ability to drive, they can be cause for concern and a source of legal trouble if you are pulled over. Because prescriptions and alcohol can both lead to these symptoms, they are particularly potent in combination.

Motor skills can be compromised.

In some cases, alcohol and prescription drugs will have an impact on your driving. The effect depends on what drugs you have taken and how much alcohol you have consumed, but mixing the two is liable to compromise faculties such as your vision, motor skills and ability to concentrate. This can have deadly consequences, including collisions, injuries and even death.

You face increased risk.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid mixing prescription drugs and alcohol is to avoid the potential risks that could impact your life. There are many prescription drugs that may be safe to combine with a single drink, but the combination could also lead to a DUI arrest or a crash that you then must deal with. The consequences are simply not worth the risk of combining chemical substances.

Driving after taking prescription medication and drinking alcohol can be a seriously dangerous decision. If you have been in an accident involving such circumstances, contacting a lawyer can help you explore your legal options.