REALITY CHECK

A pilot crashes a plane. A truck driver dozes off and misses a curve. A machine operator accidentally sticks his hand into some rollers. What do all of these accident victims have in common? They were all affected by legal drugs, the kind you buy at your neighborhood drug store.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

An individual doesn’t have to be staggering around drunk or having hallucinations to be dangerously impaired. Even the drowsiness or slowed reaction time caused by common medications can result in deadly accidents, both on the job and on the road.

Just because a drug is legal to use does not make it safe to use in the workplace. We’re talking about prescription and over-the-counter drugs. We all know that illegal drugs such as marijuana or cocaine are hazardous to use. We also know that alcohol is prohibited at work because it is intoxicating. But did you know that many other drugs that we take for granted can also affect your ability to do your job safely?

Drugs such as cold remedies often carry a warning advising that you do not drive or operate machinery if you feel drowsy. Many of these mixtures contain antihistamines, which reduce some of the unpleasant effects of a cold, but can also make you sleepy. Cough syrups contain a variety of drugs which, if taken in enough quantity, can cause impairment of your judgment and reflexes.

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