Ask ECRI: Driving Under the Influence of Prescribed Opioids or Marijuana

June 28, 2021 | Ambulatory Care Risk Management


​​​​A member inquired about whether patients can be allowed to drive or do similar tasks while under the influence of opioid pain relievers or medical marijuana.

Although most medications will not affect a person's ability to drive, certain drugs may cause reactions (e.g., sleepiness, blurred vision, slowed movement, inability to focus) that can impair driving ability. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes both opioid pain relievers and cannabidiol (CBD) products among drugs that can make it dangerous to drive. According to the article Medical Marijuana and Driving, none of the states that have legalized medical marijuana permit patients to drive while under the influence of the drug. Some states have introduced bills, however, to protect medical marijuana users from being charged with driving under the influence in instances where...

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