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    Speak Up! - View Question #30

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    Question: Can antibiotics or cough drops cause breathalyzer results to appear higher, and if so, how much higher?

    Answer: The short answer is any medication can elevate breathalyzer results if it contains alcohol. Whether taken as part of medication, consumed separately or used as mouthwash, any form of alcohol intake will probably result in an elevated reading by the intoxilyzer. How much affect such intake will have on a reading will be controlled by a person's weight, metabolism, adsorption and expulsion rates, meaning how big they are compared to how much they have consumed, how fast they use up energy and how quickly their bodies take in and send out various substances.

    Substances other than alcohol will not affect readings the device makes (because it only measures alcohol). So, antibiotics or throat lozenges won't affect a reading, unless they contain, alcohol. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, and even though not swallowed, could result in higher intoxilyzer readings.

    To really understand the law, the Arizona law concerning intoxication while driving has language which specifies that impairment to the slightest degree may be punishable. This means that being impaired, or less able to drive, may be a crime, from any source or cause of impairment.

    Theoretically, if a person were to consume something which was not a common medication, such as kava kava or iced tea, and were to become impaired from it and then drive, they could be found to be impaired within the meanig of the law, and could be punished. While a cause of impairment may not be alcohol and would not show up on an intoxilyzer reading, field sobriety tests will usually indicate whether a person is impaired or not.

    The broader meaning of the law is that if medicinal substances, whether alcohol based or otherwise, cause impairment to the slightest degree, an impaired driver may be punished under the law.

    1 thru 5 of 5 comments    [ 1 ]   
    On 06/16/07
    rick from AL said:
    I was in a wreak caused by an 18 wheeler running me off the road. I was busted for a dui but didn't have much to drink.I was using listerine pocketmist that has alcohol in it, would this explain the higher readings and even higher after hours
    On 05/14/02
    Fred from DE said:
    Driving is not for who? what about all the people who save lives by driving fire trucks, ambulances, and milatary vehicles Driving is great and if it wasn't around then most of use wouldn't be either, consider how many people die in auto accidents each year and give up organs and make room to avoid over population we get greedy and selfish only when it suits us or gets personal
    On 05/14/02
    Pete from AZ said:
    It is like driving on eggshells yes but in regards to all laws I am aware of vehicles pressure on the road on average approachs that of 2000 pounds and could crush the sturdiest eggshell
    On 05/14/02
    Bart from AR said:
    If the breathalizers are going to be used they should be treated like polygraph machines and found inadmissable in court because so many things can affect the reading and thus make a completely sober person give a positive reading and thus get cited for something when they are in fact innocent.
    On 04/12/02
    Pete from AK said:
    It's like driving on eggshells. Driving is bad for the health and not for the faint hearted.
    1 thru 5 of 5 comments    [ 1 ]   

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