A new law that prohibits driving while under the influence of several commonly prescribed drugs has come into force today.
People who have taken drugs such as morphine, diazepam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, temazepam, and morphine will not be allowed to drive under the new law. However, the limits on the drugs are above the normal prescribed dose, so in most cases patients will be able to drive as normal.
Dr Kim Wolff, an advisor for the government's drug drive policy, said: 'Greater awareness of the dangers of drug driving is important as we move forward with this important step towards safer roads.'
Robert Goodwill MP, the minister for road safety, said: 'If you are taking your medicine as directed and your driving is not impaired, then you are not breaking the law and there is no need to worry. We advise anyone who is unsure about the effects of their medication or how the new legislation may affect them, to seek the advice of their doctor or pharmacist.'
The government is encouraging healthcare professionals, particularly prescribers, to ensure that their patients are aware of the new law. They also recommend that anyone who has been given one of the drugs covered by the law should carry a prescription slip or other evidence in case they are stopped by the police and tested.
David Taylor, professor of pharmaceutical and public health policy at University College London, said: 'Don't stop taking your medicines, prescribed or otherwise, if you are worried about this new law. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist for information about how your medicines might affect your ability to drive.'