Driving While Using Methadone and Buprenorphine
Driving While Using Methadone and Buprenorphine – The opioid epidemic has been a spotlight in the news media. Many people overdose on illicit medications every day. Addiction is a serious problem, and it can place not only the life of the individual in jeopardy but also the lives of everyone around them, including their friends and family. Some statistics on the opioid epidemic published by the government website Drug Abuse include:
- About a quarter of individuals who are prescribed opioid medications for chronic pain end up misusing them.
- About 10 percent of people who are prescribed opioids for pain will develop some sort of opioid use disorder.
- Around 5 percent of people who misuse opioid prescription medications will eventually use heroin.
- Close to four out of every five people who use heroin were at one point prescribed opioid medications.
- In multiple areas around the country, between 2016 and 2017, opioid overdoses jumped by about a third.
- In the largest cities around the United States, opioid overdoses increased by more than half over this same time period.
The opioid epidemic has irreparably damaged the lives of countless families. Two of the medications that people are often prescribed to help overcome an addiction to opioids are methadone and buprenorphine.
Mechanism of Action: Methadone and Buprenorphine
Methadone and Buprenorphine (also called Subutex) are commonly used to help people overcome addictions to opioid medications. Some of the critical points regarding these medications include:
- They are technically opioids because they bind to the same receptors as opioid medications.
- They have much longer half-lives than opioids used for pain, meaning that they have a lower potential to be addictive.
- These medications are often described as opioid medications without the “high.”
Because they do not provide the same “high” that opioid medications have, they are not as addictive as traditional prescription opioids and illicit drugs. However, there are some side effects that people should keep in mind.
Impact of Methadone and Buprenorphine on Driving Ability
There are some side effects that these medications can have including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fatigue and difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Acute confusion and altered mental status
Importantly, these medications can also have an impact on people’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. A recent research study was published looking at accidents involving people who were prescribed methadone or buprenorphine. The study found that those who had taken these medications that day were more likely to be at fault in an auto accident and were more likely to be involved in a crash with injuries. The side effects, combined with this study, highlight that everyone needs to be careful driving while taking these medications and not get behind the wheel until they know how these medications will affect them.
Help from a Lawyer
When a loved one ends up in a hospital following a serious accident that involves a prescription drug or illicit medications, there are many questions that families would like answers to. For help with these issues, it is a good idea to call and speak with a car accident lawyer in Sacramento. Make sure that every detail is examined so that all options are available.
Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Medications can significantly impair someone’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.
I am honored to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Feel free to see our past verdicts or settlements here.
Driving While Using Methadone and Buprenorphine: AutoAccident.com
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