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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Penelope the cat showed up safe and sound at her owner’s porch after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks. (Photo courtesy of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing)
Penelope, cat and friend of the Victoria HarbourCats, returns home safe

The cat had an after an unusual trip through the news cycle in recent weeks

Work is progressing on the new student housing building at the University of Victoria. The building will be home to 398 students when complete in September 2022. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
VIDEO: Mass timber installation begins at UVic student housing project

Green technology plays key role in building that will be home to 398 University of Victoria students

Stanley Fischer (right) died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. Forty years later, his family is questioning his cause of death. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Family wants investigation into man’s 1981 death while in Victoria police custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found hanging in his jail cell

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read