The Government’s bid to introduce a new drug-drive limit has moved a step closer with eight general prescription and eight illicit drugs added into new regulations that will come in to force in autumn 2014.
The new rules, which follow two public consultations, mean it will be an offence to be over the generally prescribed limits for each drug and drive a vehicle, as it is with drink-driving.
The limits to be included in the new regulations are not set at zero as drugs taken for medical conditions can be absorbed in the body to produce trace effects.
It was also important, said the Government, to recognise that different drugs are broken down at different speeds and that was reflected in the disparities between the limits.
Therefore the limits to be included in the new regulations are: Illicit drugs
– Benzoylecgonine, 50 micrograms (mcg)/L; Cocaine, 10 mcg/L; Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 mcg/L; Ketamine, 20 mcg/L; Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 mcg/L; Methylamphetamine – 10 mcg/L; Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 mcg/L; 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 mcg/L. Generally prescription drugs – Clonazepam, 50 mcg/L; Diazepam, 550 mcg/L; Flunitrazepam, 300 mcg/L; Lorazepam, 100 mcg/L; Methadone, 500 mcg/L; Morphine, 80 mcg/L; Oxazepam, 300 mcg/L; Temazepam, 1000 mcg/L. By comparison the drink-drive limit is 80 milligrams per 100ml of blood – the equivalent of 800,000 mcg per litre.
In relation to amphetamine, the Government has decided that the proposed limits need to be reconsidered so that patients who take medicine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are not affected. It will therefore look to re-consult on the new threshold later this year, with an agreed limit added in to the legislation at a later date.