Antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and high-potency opioids pose a risk to drivers in the province, according to results of a new UBC study led by Dr. Jeff Brubacher. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and high-potency opioids pose a risk to drivers in the province, according to results of a new UBC study led by Dr. Jeff Brubacher. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Researchers identify the most dangerous prescriptions for B.C. drivers

It appears that antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and high-potency opioids increase crash risks by up to 35%, according to a new study

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found prescribed medications used to treat mental illness, pain and sleep disorders are associated with increased road collisions.

Antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and high-potency opioids pose a crash risk to drivers, according to results of a study led by Dr. Jeff Brubacher.

Data published this week in The Lancet Public Health journal shows drivers prescribed sedating antipsychotics have a 35 per cent increased risk of causing a car accident.

Crash risks for people prescribed morphine and other high-potency opioids increased by 24 per cent and between 25 to 30 per cent for benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax.

Brubacher’s team studied prescription records and motor vehicle collisions in a 20-year period, including data from nearly five million B.C. crashes between 1997 and 2016. Researchers couldn’t verify that drivers were taking medications as prescribed.

READ MORE: Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier

“Although standard advice recommends not driving if you feel drowsy, a lack of symptoms does not mean drivers are not at risk,” said Brubacher.

“Even if you feel safe to drive, you’re still at a modestly increased risk of up to 35 per cent, which is nothing to ignore.”

The team also assessed whether tolerance to the medication might play a factor in reducing one’s collision risk – finding that people assumed to be taking the medication for less than 30 days have a similar risk as long-time users.

Brubacher said crash risks further increase when drivers take several prescription pills at the same time or mix them with alcohol.

Clinicians should regularly counsel their patients on the risks of driving while on them, he recommended.

RELATED: Should you stockpile medication during the pandemic? Experts say no



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

UBC

Just Posted

Kimberley Fire Department responding to mobile home fire in Marysville.
Mobile home fire in Marysville Friday evening

The Kimberley Fire Department is on scene at what appears to be… Continue reading

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

New Border Bruins owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk reps team colours with his young sons and wife Tracey. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Border Bruins
KIJHL’s Border Bruins sold to Grand Forks doctor

The league announced the sale Friday, May 14

A new coalition has formed to call upon the government to make fundamental legislative changes to prioritize protecting fish, wildlife and their habitats. Doug Turner photo.
Wildsight joins coalition calling on government to prioritize wildlife and habitat protection

A new province-wide coalition comprised of more than two dozen diverse organizations… Continue reading

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Tim Miller is selling his 76-foot steel bridge from his property in Burton, B.C. The bridge originates from the railway in Revelstoke. (Contributed)
For sale: a 100-ton 19th century bridge by Arrow Lakes

Bridge is in Burton, B.C. and advertised for $40,000

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Most Read