PSNC Briefing 005/15: March 2015 Drug driving legislation change (February 2015)

PSNC Briefing 005/15: March 2015 Drug driving legislation change (February 2015)

New drug driving legislation coming into force on 2 March 2015 makes it an offence to drive with a blood concentration level above certain limits for specific drugs. Contractors will need to ensure their pharmacy team understands the implications of the legislation change for their patients and this briefing is intended to help support that learning by explaining the change and highlighting useful support materials.

PSNC Briefing 005/15: March 2015 Drug driving legislation change (February 2015)


Question on the Drug Driving Legislation

Q: Is there any information available about the amount of drug in the bloodstream and what dose of drug would cause the patient to exceed this? 

A: For patients receiving prescribed medicines, the limits do not apply – therefore there is no need for pharmacists having conversations with their patients who receive the medicines on prescriptions.

The limits are set very low, because the purpose of this legislation is to give the police powers to deal with people who use these drugs outside of medical supervision.

The message in a pharmacy is all about driving whilst impaired – and that cannot be determined by the amount prescribed or consumed, because the effect that a particular amount of drug has on a patient will depend on how the patient tolerates the medicine.  The patient is expected to assess for themselves whether they are impaired (this is not very helpful because when a person is impaired they may have no insight).  If the patient is in doubt, they should not drive (there are standard warnings on some drugs, not to drive if affected – so this is not new).

Finally, the people who would most want this information would be the people who are misusing these medicines.  I think a pharmacist who was to say, for example a 50mg tablet would be ok, but no more would leave himself open to being the scapegoat if the person tested positive.


If you have any queries on this PSNC Briefing or you require more information, please contact Gordon Hockey, Director of Regulation and Support.

To browse other PSNC briefings on Contract and IT click here.

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