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The term ‘drugs’ refer to medications or substances

The term ‘drugs’ refer to medications or substances that when ingested or used alters the taker’s perception of reality, mood or cognitive function. What types of drugs are most prevalently used in Australia, and what effects do these drugs have that may predict high-risk or criminal behaviour?

Cannabis or marijuana is the most commonly detected drug in vehicle drivers who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents. Cannabis contains a psychoactive component called THC that significantly impairs driving performance.
 
Benzodiazepine is the active ingredient in what is known in street slang as ‘downers’. This is the active ingredient in the commercial drugs Mogadon and Valium, which are commonly prescribed to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. These commonly prescribed medicines containing benzodiazepine are regulated drugs that cannot be dispensed without a valid prescription. It has been found to decrease visual perception, information processing, reaction time, muscular coordination, memory and attention.
 
Opioids are pain relief medicines that are derived from heroin or opium. These are also regulated drugs that cannot be dispensed without a valid prescription. Taking these drugs heightens the feeling of calmness and drowsiness, and it reduces the perception of pain while increasing the perception of pleasure. In some people, taking opioids result in mental clouding, confusion and inability to concentrate.
 
Amphetamines are stimulants. They are often referred to as “uppers” or “speed”, “ecstasy”. These are derivatives of cocaine. It impairs attention and perception. There have been reports of people losing their memory of events after taking amphetamines. Metamphetamines, synthetic derivatives of amphetamines and widely referred to as ‘crack’ heightens paranoia.
 
These types of drugs render people more at risk of engaging in high-risk behaviour such as speeding on roadways. The presence of these drugs in one’s blood or urine will render a driver vulnerable to a charge of driving under the influence of drugs. 
 
If the driver has caused an accident that is the proximate cause of grave bodily injury to another, then the driver driving under the influence of these drugs will also be charged with negligent driving resulting in grievous bodily harm. If the accident has caused the death of another, then the driver under the influence of these drugs will be charged with dangerous driving resulting in death. 

This article provides necessary information only and is not a substitute for professional or legal advice.

References:
Johns, R. (2004). ‘Drink Driving and Drug Driving’, NSW Parliamentary Library Research

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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