ROAD SENSE USERS' STORIES: WE KNOW WHAT TO DO
When we talked to people on OTP who rely on being able to drive, about the Driving Safety website, they thought it would be great to have some peers talking about their responsibilities on video. We asked them what those peers should say, and as a group they agreed on some great material. In the end, we thought it would be better to have just 2 videos, rather than make people watch dozens! We combined the quotes into 2 scripts and asked a male peer and a female peer to voice them. So while these aren’t “real” stories by people actually called Jeremiah and Sunny, they are “actual” stories from people who drive and are on the program!
I’ve been on the program for two years now and am stable. I have a decent relationship with my prescriber.
I was really relieved to find out from my prescriber that there is no problem with driving if you are steady on the program – you know, not new or going up or down – and not doing other drugs or drinking alcohol.
She did tell me there can be an issue if you are on benzos or some psych medications – anything that makes you groggy.
I’m really glad I can talk to my doctor about it, because I need to know I have one person who has all the facts and will tell it to me like it is. It’s really important to be able to get advice on this stuff.
After all, it’s about staying off the road for a few hours or a few days, when you are most at risk of having an accident, not about never driving at all. I think that’s fair.
I’ve been on the program for six months and recently felt I need to go up. I felt really frustrated when my doctor told me that part of changing my dose meant not driving for a few days ‘til I’d adjusted to the new amount. I argued that I’d hardly feel it. But then I realised how cock-eyed that was – after all I wouldn’t be making a change if I didn’t think it would make a difference to me.
I’ve used other medications where the chemist advises against driving; it’s the same sort of thing. Sometimes you can feel drowsy and not know it. Your driving is also affected by little changes in how attentive you are, your co-ordination and even your mood.
At the end of the day, it’s my responsibility to ensure I can drive safely. It’s the same as not driving if you’ve been drinking or taking other drugs. I don’t want to cause an accident and hurt myself or someone else. Nobody wants that.
So if my doctor tells me I shouldn’t drive, I work something else out. Public transport takes a bit more planning and time than driving, but I manage. Sometimes a friend gives me a lift – I find people want to help out if you’ re trying to do the right thing. Our clinic peer worker has been a great help sorting out travel for some people, like the community bus option. Now I’ve been through it, I’ve decided to let the clinic know when I’m available to give a lift to others in the same boat. After all, it’s my community and we should be helping each other out, keeping each other safe.