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CBS 19 - Dangers of driving on prescription pills

2y ago
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New fears about prescription drugs, and getting behind the wheel. This following Wednesday's fatal accident in Tyler, which killed a mother of two. Police suspect the driver, who hit and killed 36-year-old Tara Smith, was on prescription pills. It's a warning to people about how dangerous those small pills can be if you're not careful. People are using prescription drugs more now, than ever before. It's hard to walk into someone's bathroom or look in the medicine cabinet and not find pill bottles. Whether you have trouble sleeping, chronic pain, or had a tooth pulled, you will most likely get a hold of prescription drugs - but just because the doctor prescribed it, doesn't mean you can use it whenever you want. Many pill bottles warn you that you can't drive while taking them. Trinity Mother Frances Internal Medicine Dr. Kimberley Bryant says, these medications can be necessary, but can become dangerous quickly - especially when it comes to getting behind the wheel. "I would say the most prescribed problematic medications for driving would be especially your sleeping pills - Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta," Bryant says. "Next would probably be pain medication -and we all have that in our closet from a dental extraction at one point - Vicodin, Norco, Hydrocodone, any of those can make you sedated." It's a scary fact that has Debbie Pennington hoping people will think before getting in their car. "I don't think being under the influence of any kind is a good idea when you're driving because your responses are not like they should be to be operating machinery that could kill someone," Pennington says. Taking strong prescription pills and then getting behind the wheel can be just like drinking and driving. It can blur your vision, and ruin your sense of judgment. Bryant says, "It's even worse if you combine it with even a small amount of alcohol. You will get a greater effect of sedation." Dr. Bryant says when you mix alcohol with drugs, you never know what type of effect they're going to have. "It can worsen the side effects, or it could make you extremely hyper," she says. "Mixing some drugs with alcohol can actually make you paranoid." Dr. Bryant pleads with patients taking prescription meds, to have a plan before taking your medication. "If you're in a situation where you know you're going to have to drive, or you know you're going to need to travel, have someone else drive," she says. Doing so could save your life, or someone else's. If you've been prescribed medication, there's a reason for that, so don't just stop taking them. Doctors say if you're worried about the side effects, try to start taking them at night before you go to bed, where you are safe and at home. The driver from Wednesday's fatal accident, 21-year-old Tylerite Dallas Youman, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter. Investigators found evidence of prescription drug use at the scene, but are still waiting on tests to confirm that.