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Prescription Drugs and DUI in Ohio

Prescription drugs do fall under the scope of Ohio’s OVI laws. Therefore, if the chemical test shows these drugs in your system at the time of your vehicle stop you could be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs. Prescription drugs are considered “controlled substances” and Ohio has set limits of how much can be in your bloodstream while driving. However, for those who are only on the drug under direction from their doctor, there is little reason to be concerned. Ohio has created an exception in the law for those who a) have valid prescriptions for the drugs found in their system, and b) have taken (i.e., injected, ingested or inhaled) only the amount prescribed by the doctor. Even if this amount is illegal under the limits of Ohio OVI laws, if the two above conditions are met (valid prescriptions and following the doctor’s instructions), then you cannot be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.

Despite the fact that you might not be considered by the court to be driving under the influence if you are taking your valid prescription drugs as directed by your doctor, it is best to remember that even the proper amount of prescription medication in combination with a legal amount of alcohol can combine to make you much more impaired by the alcohol then you would be if you were not on the medication. Combinations of certain drugs with alcohol can impair your motor reflexes and your judgment much more than your blood alcohol concentration would normally indicate. So be aware of this on your night out if you are on medications and do read your prescription labels to see if the prescription drugs you are on should not be mixed with alcohol.


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