By John Ensor •
Updated: 22 Aug 2023 • 14:11
Credit: Juan Carlos L. Ruiz/Shutterstock.com
Could you be at risk of testing positive for drugs while driving, even if you haven’t consumed any illegal substances?
Certain common medications may lead to a false positive in drug tests conducted by the Guardia Civil. Traffic authorities have been conducting these controls on drivers in Spain with the aim of reducing accident rates and highlighting the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, writes 20 Minutos.
A couple of years ago, the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) in Spain launched an awareness campaign to warn about this unexpected issue.
The DGT specified in the campaign that some medications could give a false positive for harmful substances. These drugs, which are often used to treat health problems, include painkillers, anxiolytics, antidepressants, antihistamines, and psychostimulants.
Among the symptoms of these medications are drowsiness, blurred vision, euphoria, sleep problems, or dizziness. These effects can impair the ability to drive, particularly in reaction times to obstacles on the road. One of the most common medications that can cause a false positive in drug tests is ibuprofen.
What is the penalty if you have taken any of these medications and do not have a prescription? If you test positive for drug arrest tests and do not have a copy of the medical prescription for the drug, the fine can reach €1,000, together with a six-point penalty on your driving licence. Additionally, if the positive test is preceded by reckless behaviour, the penalty could be between three and 12 months in prison and the loss of the driver’s licence for a period of one to four years.
If you take any of these medications and plan to drive, it is essential to read the package insert. This document contains information about the possible effects of these drugs on driving ability. A symbol of a car inside a red triangle identifies the consequences that may significantly interfere with driving. If this symbol is present on the packaging, you should not drive after taking the medication.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol, it is found in cannabis and is what can make it psychoactive. It, however, is NOT a component of opioids like codeine or others like Tramadol. It is very important to check the facts when you’re writing informative articles – you have a duty to be correctly informed, a duty of care to your readers, many of whom just believe anything they read online.
Concha, thank you for your observation. There is no mention of THC in the EWN article although there is in the link to a similar article in Spanish newspaper 20 minutos.
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