There has been an increase in the number of DUI arrests for all types of prescription drugs. One of the more common drugs is Soma. Carisoprodol and meprobamate, which go by the name Soma, are available by prescription only. Carisoprodol itself is not a federally scheduled compound, while meprobamate is a Schedule IV drug.
Class of drug: Carisoprodol : muscle relaxant, CNS depressant; Meprobamate: antianxiety, CNS depressant
According to Matthew Ruff, a recognized expert in the area of DUI defense and statewide prescription drug DUI lawyer, Soma is a drug that can impair driving but not always. Indeed, the drug manufacturer suggests patients should be warned that Soma may impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving a motor vehicle.
Reported signs of psychomotor and cognitive impairment in subjects found to be driving under the influence of Soma include poor perception, impaired reaction time, slow driving, confusion, disorientation, inattentiveness, slurred or thick speech, slow responses, somnolence, lack of balance and coordination, unsteadiness, and difficulty standing, walking or exiting vehicles. One scientific study involved 21 driving under the influence cases where Soma was the only drug detected. The mean carisoprodol and meprobamate concentrations were 4.6 mg/L (range 0-15 mg/L) and 14.5 mg/L (range 1-36 mg/L), respectively. Signs of impairment were noted at blood concentrations as low as 1 mg/L of meprobamate, however, the most severe driving impairment and the most overt symptoms of intoxication occurred in drivers whose combined carisoprodol and meprobamate blood concentrations were greater than 10 mg/L. Signs consistent with CNS depression were typically observed, including poor balance and coordination, horizontal gaze nystagmus, slurred speech, dazed or groggy appearance, depressed reflexes, slow movements, disorientation to place and time, and a tendency to dose off or fall asleep. Many subjects suspected of DUI were involved in accidents, and other observed driving behaviors included extreme lane travel and weaving, striking other vehicles and fixed objects, slow speed, and hit and run accidents where the subject appeared unaware they had hit another vehicle. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI involving Soma or any other drug, contact DUI Attorney Matthew Ruff for a consultation.
Many jurisdictions have ramped up their enforcement of driving while stoned and the courts have been overwhelmed with new filings for criminal violations.