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Can Over-the-Counter Medication Be a Factor in a DUI Case?

Interviewer: How about cases concerning over-the-counter medications, such as cough medicines or diet pills? Do they ever show up as a factor in DUI cases?

Brian: They can. Cough medicine will show up as far as alcohol goes. Someone would have to consume a lot of cough medicine, liquid cough medicine, to have a high blood alcohol content but it does happen.

The defendant will often say, “I had a cough, I was just taking cough medicine.” Within that cough medicine is alcohol and that can lead to impairment and that can lead to a blood alcohol level test result above prescribed limits.

There are some over-the-counter medications that actually can cause issues in DUI including one type of inhaler; I believe is put out by “Vicks”.

Read Your Labels: There Is an Over-the Counter Medication That Contains Methamphetamine

This inhaler, if taken the correct way, can show the presence of methamphetamine in a person’s system. That becomes very problematic because something you can get over-the-counter shows the presence of a drug that is considered very detrimental.

Interviewer: Many over-the-counter drugs contain psuedoephedrine as an ingredient. Will that mimic as methamphetamines?

Brian: It can show up as methamphetamines and amphetamines. I believe it can be determined by whether there is a presence of amphetamines. That would distinguish between whether someone was taking methamphetamine itself or was possibly using one of the inhalers.

That is something that very likely you would need not only a scientist to take the stand as a defense witness, but you would also need to have the client take the stand to explain they did not truly take meth, they used this cold remedy put out by “Vicks”.

Interviewer: I believe NyQuil is pretty popular. There is psuedoephedrine in cough syrups and inhalers such as Primatine Mist.

Brian: More likely, if someone was taking it as directed on the bottle they are not going to have levels high enough to indicate that there is even a presence of the chemical composition to show positive results.

By Brian Douglas Sloan

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Brian Douglas Sloan


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Why DUI Attorney Brian Douglas Sloan?


19+ Years SOLELY Focused on DUI Defense


4,200+ DUIs Successfully Defended

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“I am one of only a handful of Phoenix DUI Lawyers that focuses solely on DUI Defense representation.”

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Over the years, countless people have come to me after discovering that their first lawyer made a mistake, gave them false hope or false promises, or simply took their money and didn't do much to advance their case. And you would be surprised at how often this happens.

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