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December is Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

  • December 14, 2010
  • RPh on the Go

Most teenagers over the last few decades have been exposed to information about the dangers of driving while drunk or using drugs. However, many teens and adults do not make the same connection with prescription drugs. There are numerous prescription drugs that are being used properly, and many that are being abused, that can cause a person to be impaired to the point of driving unsafely. Use the month of December to help educate all of your customers about the dangers of driving while under the influence of certain prescription medications.


When you fill a prescription, you will put a printout of the dangers and side effects possible with the medication. You may also put a sticker on the bottle if there are specific warnings, such as letting the patient know the medication may make them sleepy or that they shouldn’t drive while taking it. However, during the month of December, you can make an extra effort to verbalize these dangers to patients. People are often overwhelmed with the amount of information supplied with their medication and may not be taking the time to read it thoroughly. While you will have met your legal responsibility by supplying the information, taking the extra time to be sure the patient understands the risk may save someone’s life.

Plan of Action

If patients are going to be taking medication that may impair their driving, suggest they first take it when they will not need to be behind the wheel. A trial dose will allow them to judge the effect of the medication and make alternative transportation plans for the duration of the medication if needed. For the month of December, you could also supply phone numbers for taxi services or public transportation maps for individuals who will be taking medications that could impair their ability to drive.


Pretend Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention is a new product that you really want your customers to notice. How would you market it in your pharmacy? Would you purchase banners, give away candy, offer some sort of incentive? Become creative and find ways to make sure your customers are inundated with the importance of not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even the drugs their doctors have prescribed.

Most facilities will be focusing on preventing people from drinking and driving or using illegal drugs and driving. Very few will be focused on preventing people from driving who are using legally prescribed drugs. Take the time to develop a strategy to inform your customers about the importance of not abusing prescription drugs and not driving while using prescribed medications that could impair their ability to drive safely.

How do you inform patients of the possible side effects of medications that could impair their ability to function, especially in regards to driving? What will you do differently this month?

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