Both Prescription and Illicit Drugs Increase Risk of Traffic Accidents

Conducted was a systematic review and meta-analysis of 66 studies on the effects of using these illicit or prescribed drugs while driving: amphetamines, analgesics (pain killers), anti-asthmatics, anti-depressives, anti-histamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (marijuana), cocaine, opiates, penicillin, and zopicione (a sleeping pill).

Most of these drugs were found to be associated with a small to moderate increase in risk of having traffic accidents. The risk tended to be higher for fatal and other serious crashes than for less serious accidents, such as those involving only property damage.

The use of both illicit and prescription drugs while driving is a largely unrecognized and ignored problem.

Note: This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, drugs, driving, or any other matter and none should be inferred.


  • Elvik, R. Risk of road accident associated with the use of drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence from epidemiological studies. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 201, ePub, DOI: 10.1016/j.aap.2012.06.017, PMID:22785089.

Filed Under: Driving

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