Patient Taking Anxiety And Blood Pressure Medications Is Charged With DUI

    This case involves a 66-year-old woman who was pulled over on suspicion of DUI. At the time she was pulled over, she was driving 23 miles over the speed limit and was swerving in and out of the left lane. The woman had a history of back ailments and had previously undergone surgery. She was on a prescription mix which included Diazepam, Zolpidem, Telmisartan, Nebivolol, Carvedilol, and Quetiapine. A toxicology expert was sought to review the report and video of the woman undergoing her field sobriety test and to determine whether or not she committed a DUI offense.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please describe your background in toxicology.
    • 2. Could the plaintiff's prescriptions have impacted the toxicology report?

    Expert Witness Response E-059178

    I hold a Ph.D. in neuropharmacology, which is the field dealing with the effects of drugs on brain and behavior. Intrinsic within this field is the understanding of the tissue levels of drugs and the ways they are measured, which is toxicology, the expertise of drug level quantification. Pharmacologists have training in toxicology, but their purview extends beyond drug levels to drug effects. If properly performed, the toxicology report should have quantitated the drugs present. However, the effects of these drugs would depend on the chronicity of use, tolerance development, underlying neuropsychological status and other factors not revealed by the toxicology report itself. Such an assessment would require a review of the patient’s medical records as well as a pharmacy dispensing record.

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