Tiger Woods’ DUI Arrest: The Dangers Of Mixing Medications

May 31, 2017

Golfer Tiger Woods is apologizing to family, friends and fans for his DUI arrest in the early morning of Memorial Day in Jupiter, Fla.

“I would like to apologize with all my heart to my family, friends and the fans,” Woods said in a statement widely distributed on Twitter. “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescription medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

While the details of the Woods arrest are still being confirmed, and the medications he was taking are unknown, it does bring to light the serious issue surrounding the fact that medications – alone or together – can impair driving, work and other daily functions.

“The warning the doctor gives you that says ‘This may affect your driving’ or ‘Don’t operate heavy machinery,’ those are real, and you should understand how this may affect you,” said psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist Dr. J. Craig AllenRushford medical director. “But more importantly, adding different medications, keeping in mind that there can be interactions between other drugs, and if your doctor doesn’t know another doctor or health care provider is prescribing a medication where there could be a negative interaction, that can cause trouble. It could even cause someone to crash their car or die of an overdose.”

The bottom line, according to Dr. Allen: Be aware of what prescription medications you are taking, talk to your doctor when a new one is added, and make certain all of your medical providers are talking to each other.

“If you are on a medication that has the potential for cognitive impairment, or could impair your reactions or your reflexes, understand how much it is affecting you. Your doctor can help you figure that out. And only stay on those medications as long as they are necessary.”

If long-term opioid prescription medication use is a concern for you or someone you know, Hartford HealthCare’s MATCH program might be able to help. Get more information here