Drug driving and medicine: advice for healthcare professionals

Information to help healthcare professionals understand changes to drug driving laws and what this means for patients.


A new criminal offence of driving with specifiied controlled drugs in the body above that drugs' accepted limit comes into force in Scotland on 21 October 2019.

 This guidance is intended to provide healthcare professionals with an understanding of the new law by

  • explaining the new  legislation, including the statutory 'medical defence' available to patients who have taken their medicine in accordance with the advice of a healthcare professional and the information contained in the leaflet accompanying the medicine and
  • reiterating existing medical advice that would normally be given to patients about  medicines that could impair their driving

There is no expectation that healthcare professionals should give advice on the new offence itself to patients.  

Police can already arrest and charge drivers if they are driving whilst impaired by drugs, including medicinal drugs. The new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the specified limits for certain controlled drugs whilst driving, as it is with drink driving.

Current professional practice is for healthcare professionals prescribing or supplying medicines to take account of their risks,  such as whether a patient's driving may be impaired by their medicines, and advise accordingly.

This clinical practice should not change in any way as a result of the new drug driving offence.

A version of the guidance is available to download (see attached).








Email: ceu@gov.scot

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