Transport Minister Robert Goodwill has called on pharmacies to help customers to understand the changes to drug driving legislation coming into force next year.
The new offence has been introduced by the government to give the police new powers to tackle the issue of those drivers who continue to abuse drugs and drive.
Mr Goodwill said: “There are changes and people need to be aware of what that means for them. That is why I am calling on pharmacy teams to back our campaign to give patients the information to keep them safe and legal on our roads.”
The government has consulted widely with medical and pharmacy experts and the Minister’s announcement is about making sure people taking prescription or over the counter medicines responsibly and in accordance with the prescriber’s intentions. Any advice provided by the pharmacists and the patient information leaflet are not affected by the law.
Pharmacy teams are being asked to support the campaign by placing posters and leaflets in their pharmacies that explain what the new law means for their patients.
Mr Goodwill said: “Drug driving is a menace and this new law will ensure police have the necessary powers to crack down on those dangerous few who continue to risk lives by taking illegal drugs and driving.
“We have taken every care to ensure people who take prescription or over the counter medicines as instructed and are fit to drive are not affected by the legislation.”
Patients who take their medicines as intended should not be affected by this legislation, provided the medicine does not affect their driving.
Pharmacies are being asked to support the campaign from February 2015 by:
- briefing pharmacy teams using the published healthcare guidance
- displaying campaign materials online and via social media
- displaying campaign materials in-store and pharmacies, eg stickers on prescription bags.
An expert panel assisted the government in developing the new legislation and a number of healthcare professionals were consulted on the proposals. Organisations consulted included the National Pharmacy Association, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Pharmacy Substance Misuse Group, Pharmacy Voice and the British Pain Society.