People found driving with a high level of certain anti-anxiety or epilepsy prescription drugs in their bloodstream could fall foul of new drug driving laws.
Lorazepam, a drug for treating epilepsy, diazepam and oxazepam, both used for treating anxiety are some of the prescription drugs that will fall under the new law, when introduced from 2 March 2015.
“The specified limit allows for normal recommended doses most patient would be prescribed if taking their medication properly,” said the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
A “medical defence” is now allowed if the patient is taking medication as instructed by a healthcare professional, provided their driving has not been impaired. However, should someone be found to have taken these drugs without a prescription, they could face prosecution.
The full list of prescription drugs are with driving limits are:
- clonazepam (50 µg/L)
- diazepam (550 µg/L)
- flunitrazepam (300 µg/L)
- lorazepam (100 µg/L)
- methadone 500 µg/L
- morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs (80 µg/L)
- oxazepam (300 µg/L)
- temazepam (1000 µg/L)
The laws will include eight illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, LSD, MDMA and heroin at levels of no more than 50µg/L.
The law will apply to England and Wales from 2 March 2015. Scotland will introduce the rules at a later, unconfirmed, date.
Penalties for drug driving will include a minimum of a one year driving ban, up to a year in prison and a fine up to £5,000.