Drugs and Driving in Scotland

New drug driving laws introduced in October apply to prescription and over the counter drugs, as well as illegal drugs.

Police can carry out testing using 'mouth swabs' for any motorist they suspect of drug driving or who has been involved in an accident or stopped for a traffic offence. This makes it easier to hold drug drivers to account as there is no longer a requirement to prove that someone was driving in an impaired manner.

There is a zero tolerance approach to the eight drugs most associated with illegal use, including cannabis, heroin and cocaine. Drugs associated with medical use have limits based on impairment and road safety.

The medicinal drugs which have limits based on scientific evidence are:

A separate approach has been taken to amphetamine, balancing its legitimate use for medical purposes against its abuse.

Any person taking medication in line with the prescription they have can claim the medical defence to the new offence. However, they can still be prosecuted under the existing impairment offence if they are demonstrating impairment. If the prescription indicates that they should not drive while taking the medication then they are unable to claim the medical defence.

Please speak to your GP about stoping or reducing any medication you are worried about.

Further Information

For more information about the drug driving legislation, please refer to:



Posted: 28 November 2019

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