Receipt of Warnings Regarding Potentially Impairing Prescription Medications and Associated Risk Perceptions in a National Sample of U.S. Drivers.

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Objective: Reducing drug-involved driving is a national policy priority, but little is known about the extent to which drivers receive warnings about the impairment potential of their prescribed medications. We used data from the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey (NRS) to quantify the proportion of drivers who received warnings regarding potentially impairing medications and the association with driving-related risk perceptions. Method: Drivers randomly selected at 60 sites completed the self-administered survey, which contained questions on their use of prescription medications. Results: Overall, 7,405 drivers completed the prescription drug portion of the NRS. Of these, 19.7% reported recent use (within the past 2 days) of a potentially impairing prescription drug, and 78.2% said the drug had been prescribed for their use. Users of prescribed sedatives (85.8%) and narcotics (85.1%) were most likely to report receiving information about potential impairment, compared with only 57.7% and 62.6% of users of prescribed stimulant and antidepressant medications, respectively. Receipt of warnings varied by sex, race/ethnicity, income, geographic region, and time of day. For a majority of drug categories, drivers who reported receiving warnings had significantly higher odds of perceived risk of impaired driving/crash and criminal justice involvement. Conclusions: Most users of prescription medications reported that the drug was prescribed for their use, but not all reported receiving warnings about driving impairment. Our study provides evidence of missed opportunities for information provision on impaired driving, identifies subgroups that may warrant enhanced interventions, and provides preliminary evidence that receipt of impairment warnings is associated with increased perceptions of driving-related risk. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 78, 805–813, 2017)