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Drugged Driving – Types of Drugs & Their Effects on the Human Body & Mind

Please note: If you need to speak to a DUI lawyer in Los Angeles, contact Craig Sturm today.

Drugged driving is on the rise across the United States, including in Los Angeles.  While many studies have shown that DUI offenses involving alcohol have decreased in recent years, the same cannot be said for drugs. DUIs involving marijuana and other drugs are on the rise.

 People who use medical and recreational drugs are especially susceptible to getting charged with drug DUIs because police officers are charging individuals who have even the slightest bit of these substances inside their bodies at the time of their arrests. Although this might lead to an unjust arrest, some police think that this is an acceptable risk to keep the people safe.

The best way to completely avoid being charged with a drug DUI is by keeping away from all drugs if you plan on driving.

It is also important to understand the different drugs and their effect on the body and mind.  It’s important to remember that alcohol and marijuana are not the only substances that will get you a DUI. As long as your driving is affected by whatever substance you consumed, you can get arrested for these offenses.

If you want to know why the police force is becoming more vigilant with DUI cases, you need to understand how the different kinds of drugs can affect driving. The following are the general drug categories used to determine whether or not a person has committed a DUI.

Drug Categories and how they can affect your driving

Central Nervous System Depressants

Central nervous system depressants slow down the operation of the brain and the body. This means that people who are under the influence of these kinds of drugs will find it difficult to move and react in the cases that they need to.

Examples of central nervous system depressants are benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and certain sleep medicines.

Those who are under these drugs would show slower reaction times, reduced alertness, impaired coordination, and depressed motor skills while being tested by the police.

They won’t have full control of their bodily and mental functions and some of them would not even know what happened or where they are. They could not be expected to react on time if ever an emergency or something unexpected occurs.

Central Nervous System Stimulants

Central nervous system stimulants accelerate certain bodily functions such as the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, rate of speech, pupillary dilation, euphoria, alertness, overconfidence, erratic violent behavior, nervousness, and paranoia.

The general effect is that people who take these drugs would often feel that their world has sped up and their reaction times faster.  While you might think that faster reaction speeds are better for drivers, those who are under the influence of these drugs have been observed to exhibit erratic or risky behavior on the streets.

They feel like they could do anything and react to any situation that they would be facing while driving. This sometimes could lead to accidents because they often overestimate their abilities while on the high.

Examples of central nervous system stimulants include cocaine and meth but also prescription drugs including certain ADHD medications and others.


Hallucinogens cause the user to perceive things differently than they are. A person might see or hear things that do not exist.

Examples of hallucinogens include acid (LSD), magic mushrooms (psilocybin), 2CI, 2CB, ketamine, and other drugs. Those who are under the influence of hallucinogens cannot be expected to drive since their perceptions are impaired. The short-term effects of this drug include increased heart rate, increased body temperature, dilated pupils, altered sensory perceptions, and visual and/or auditory hallucinations.

In some instances, the images that they see trigger them into doing things that they would not normally do if they were able to see the situation clearly. Some horror stories include drivers seeing something they hate or fear on the road and as a result, trying to run over the things that they see that are not actually there. On the other hand, there are also instances where those arrested on drugged driving charges claim that something passed by their field of vision which caused them to swerve and cause an accident.

Dissociative Anesthetics

Dissociative anesthetics are drugs that inhibit pain by dissociating the brain’s perception of pain. Examples of these drugs include ketamine, PCP, and Nitrous Oxide.

The effects of dissociative anesthetics that affect driving are increased heart rate, blood pressure, sedation, distractibility, time and space distortions, disorientation, decreased awareness, sensitivity to pain, and motor coordination.

Generally, those who take in dissociative anesthetics before driving show symptoms that make them unfit to manipulate a moving vehicle. They are unable to act in emergencies due to their impaired motor coordination and they are easily distracted. They don’t have a good grasp of their surroundings due to their distorted perception of time and space. Their disorientation also makes it dangerous for them to drive due to their inability to properly perceive their surroundings.


Normally, narcotics are prescribed or taken to relieve pain. Also known as opioids, their short-term effects include drowsiness, sedation, and psychomotor impairment.

Those who use this kind of drug show impaired driving including lane weaving, swerving, and generally not being able to control the vehicle. However, those who have been using this type of drug for long periods have developed a tolerance and have decreased instances of showing these effects.

This class of drugs causes drowsiness that makes people sometimes fall asleep while driving, which is needless to say extremely dangerous and leads to accidents and subsequent DUI arrests.


These are breathable substances that produce quick mind-altering results and effects. The intoxication caused by this drug is similar to those who have been intoxicated by alcohol. The symptoms include impaired judgment and decision-making, risky driving behavior, and poor motor coordination.

Examples of inhalants include shoe polish, gasoline, spray paint, and glue. The effects include impaired judgment and decision-making, risky driving behavior, and poor motor coordination. It can easily be seen why this drug causes accidents on the road and leads to drugged driving arrests.


Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, affects the body in a multitude of ways, including heightened senses, distortion of the sense of time and space, impairs motor skills, and lower inhibitions. Cannabis and alcohol use are the two primary causes of accidents on the road. Cannabis is legal for recreational use in California but you can still get arrested for drugged driving or driving under the influence of cannabis.


There is a reason why the law penalizes driving while under the influence. People who drive while intoxicated are a danger to themselves and other people. However, people make mistakes, and a DUI charge should not mean the end of your life and your career. There is still hope for you. If you’ve been arrested for drugged driving in Los Angeles,  Contact Artz and Sturm Law Group today Don’t delay. Attorney Craig Sturm specializes in these kinds of cases.  He will be able to help you navigate the maze of legalities to help you get the best result for your case.

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