Written by attorney David Nelson Jolly

Drug DUIs: The effects of Valium on the DUI driver

Diazepam (Valium) Diazepam, a benzodiazepine, was approved for use in 1960 and in 1963 its improved version, valium, was released and became very popular helping its manufacturer, Roche, become a pharmaceutical industry giant. Valium is two and a half times more potent than its predecessor, chlordiazepoxide, which it quickly surpassed in terms of sales. After this initial success, other pharmaceutical companies began to introduce other benzodiazepine derivatives. The effects observed after consumption of valium at low doses include sleepiness, drowsiness, confusion, and some loss of intergraded memory. Diazepam can produce a state of intoxication similar to that of alcohol, including slurred speech, disorientation, and drunken behavior. In the DUI context as it relates to field sobriety testing, horizontal gaze nystagmus, vertical gaze nystagmus (in high doses), and lack of convergence are present. Pupil size is normal and reaction to light is slow. Pulse rate and blood pressure are down and body temperature is normal.

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