28 August 2023
Ombudsman Diana Kovacheva sent a recommendation to the Minister of Health, Prof. Dr. Hristo Hinkov, and the Minister of the Interior, Kalin Stoyanov, in which she insists that a list of medicines that give a false positive drug test be drawn up.
“At the moment there is no official list of medicines that affect a test, so I think it would be good to create a working group on the matter or the Expert Council of the National Drug Council could give an expert opinion on the effects of different medicines during a test, and to compile a list that is open and can be supplemented”, writes Prof. Kovacheva.
“I believe that knowledge of the medicines that can lead to a false positive drug test would significantly reduce the negative consequences of a possible false result, as it would allow the necessary precautions to be taken before driving and, accordingly, “testing”, the Ombudsman points out.
Prof. Kovacheva notes that taking different medicines from several pharmacological groups can affect the result of a drug test, as even small concentrations of them can resemble some of the prohibited narcotic substances and this is a publicly known fact.
She adds that this includes over-the-counter medications. Examples may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, decongestants, drugs for dry cough, antibiotics, antihistamines, antihypertensive agents, oral antidiabetics, antidepressants and antipsychotics, psychostimulants and other.
“In this respect, I find that the significant negative consequences for citizens of a false positive test are disproportionate to the harmless, in their opinion, medicines that they are unaware of the possibility of resembling a drug in a test. Moreover, in practice, in view of the consequences, a sign of equality is placed between a person who has taken, for example, a cough medicine and a person who has consciously taken a narcotic substance and sat behind the wheel”, the Ombudsman writes.
“There is no doubt that one of the main reasons for the continuing war on the roads is the use of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol and drugs. In addition to the measures taken, which I hope will produce results, I believe that citizens should be officially informed about the possibility of a medicine they take to give a positive drug test”, emphasises Prof. Kovacheva.
She emphasizes that her recommendation is in no way aimed at exonerating and removing responsibility from perpetrators, but is aimed at a timely prevention of possible crimes as a result of unconscious use of medicines that lead to positive control tests and at limiting the cases of conscious intake of psychoactive substances, on which the efforts of the competent authorities should focus.