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New rules on drug driving come into force

A new law on driving after taking certain drugs has come into force in England and Wales. This law states that it is an offence to drive with certain controlled drugs (including some medicines) above specified blood levels in the body. 

Dr Kim Wolff, Reader in Addiction Science at King’s College London and an advisor for the Government drug drive policy, led an independent panel of experts who made recommendations about which drugs to include in the new regulations.

Commenting on the new law, Dr Kim Wolff said: 'The drug driving offence covers both illegal drugs and a number of medicinal drugs used to treat anxiety and pain. Drivers should also be aware that drinking alcohol whilst taking some of these drugs can heighten the risk of a road traffic collision.'

Dr Wolff added: 'There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence about the prevalence of drug-use in our driving populations and the extent to which driving under the influence of drugs has an impact on road safety, with some indication that drug-driving may be a contributing factor in 200 deaths per year in the general driving population.

We are particularly concerned about the need to raise awareness among the general public about the risks associated with drug-driving, especially the elevated risks when psychoactive drugs are consumed with alcohol, and recommend that this is a key road safety issue and should be addressed as a priority.'

More information on the drugs that are included in the new legislation can be found on the Drug Driving Regulations webpage.

Advice for patients can be found on the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) leaflet

Guidance for healthcare professionals is available here

Visit www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law for further information.