Skip to main content

Drug DUIs: Drug Categories Evaluated by a DRE

Published with permission from the book, DUI/DWI: The History of Driving Under the Influence, David N. Jolly. Outskirts Press (2009)

Drug Categories Evaluated by a DRE

The DRE categorization process is premised on the belief championed by physicians that different types of drugs affect people differently. Accordingly drugs may be categorized or classified according to certain shared symptomatologies or effects, and these drugs are divided into one of seven categories: Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Hallucinogens, Phencyclidine (PCP) and its analogs, Narcotic Analgesics, Inhalants, and Cannabis. It is believed that drugs from each of these seven categories can possibly affect a person's central nervous system and impair a person's normal faculties, and in the DUI field, affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

1.Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants: CNS Depressants slow down the operations of the brain and the body. Examples include alcohol, barbiturates, anti-anxiety tranquilizers (e.g . Valium, Librium, Xanax, Prozac, Thorazine), GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate), Rohypnol and many other anti-depressants (e.g., Zoloft, Paxil).

2.CNS Stimulants: CNS Stimulants accelerate the heart rate and elevate the blood pressure and "speed-up" or over-stimulate the body and include Cocaine, "Crack", Amphetamines and Methamphetamine.

3.Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens cause the user to perceive things differently than they actually are. Examples include LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin and MDMA (Ecstasy).

4.Dissociative Anesthetics: Dissociative Anesthetics are drugs that inhibit pain by cutting off or dissociating the brain's perception of the pain. PCP and its analogs are examples of Dissociative Anesthetics.

5.Narcotic Analgesics: Narcotic analgesic relieves pain, induce euphoria and create mood changes in the user. Examples include Opium, Codeine, Heroin, Demerol, Darvon, Morphine, Methadone, Vicodin and OxyContin.

6.Inhalants: Inhalants include a wide variety of breathable substances that produce mind-altering results and effects. Examples of inhalants include Toluene, plastic cement, paint, gasoline, paint thinners, hair sprays and various anesthetic gases.

7.Cannabis: Cannabis (marijuana) is a popular drug consumed prior to driving. The active ingredient in cannabis is delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This category includes cannabinoids and synthetics like Dronabinol.

Additional resources provided by the author

Rate this guide


Avvo DUI email series

Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and legal advice about DUIs.

Recommended articles about DUI

Can’t find what you’re looking for?


Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer