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      Dougherty Co. combats drugged drivers

      Tom Jackson

      Lt. Tom Jackson of the Dougherty County Police Dept. says he TMs seeing more and more motorists under the influence of drugs from marijuana to meth.

      "Maybe we stop someone from speeding and we get to talking to them and their speech is slurred, their eyes are bloodshot," said Jackson.

      The law sees no difference in driving drunk and driving drugged.

      "The penalties are the same as they are for any kind of alcohol," said Jackson. "That TMs why most states don TMt have what they call a driving under the influence of alcohol, they have driving under the influence."

      Driving under the influence of illegal drugs is one thing. But what about motorists taking legally prescribed medication?

      "When people seek their physician nowadays, with specialties, they go to different physicians."

      Pharmacist Charles Rouse says that different doctors lead to different prescriptions, which can interact in unsuspected, dangerous ways.

      Even temporary prescriptions " especially pain medications - carry potential risk.

      "Once you take it, the next few days, it TMs going to require a faster cycle a more often routine or maybe even a double dose just to get the same pain relief," said Rouse.

      The best defense is to read prescription labels carefully and follow all instructions because ignorance is no defense.

      "If it has that warning label and you drive, you TMre still breaking the law," said Jackson.