I have a person with two drugs in the blood.
One is Carisoprodol (Soma, Rela) a non prescription drug (pain killer)
The other is Meprobamate (Equanil, Miltown, and Meprospan) a prescription(?) drug for anxiety.
Question does anyone know what amount is needed in the blood for intoxication?
My understanding is that meprobamate is the metabolite of Soma, so if you have Soma, you'll see the meprobamate once the body begins to digest the drug (IOW, it's all from one thing, not two separate drugs). And I also believe that Soma is a prescription medication; we have been charging that as a dangerous drug. For DWI, any amount of a drug that can cause drowsiness, etc. to the extent that a person does not have their normal use of mental or physical faculties, is sufficient. That's not to say we ordinarily charge DWI on someone who has a therapeutic dose of medication, but it does meet the letter of the statute. If your hero didn't have a Rx for the Soma, though, I would charge it regardless, since he's not under medical orders to take it.
For figuring out whether it's a "therapeutic amount" you'll probably want to talk with a physician or pharmacisit or some other medical/lab professional. We've talked with the lab folks down at DPS on numeorus occasions (thanks, guys!!!) about blood results we've gotten where there have been Rx drugs in the system.
You guys have perfect timing. I have a DWI case set for Trial in 2 weeks (of course, the blood isn't done yet b/c it's only been since APRIL), but the urine screen had Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, Meprobamate and Carisoprodol.
I'm chasing down the blood as we speak. Thanks for the info.
My recollection is that Gretchen is exactly right about the metabolite. It can be a direct prescription or a side product of the Soma. (From what I remember. It's been 3 years) Essentially, I'd argue that not only did he have the substance in his system, it was already being processed by his body and broken down, therefore he was in the full effects of the drug.
Keep in mind that Soma will have a different affect on each individual person. Your drug person will be able to explain the quantity of material in his system and ought to make a reasonable guess as to # of pills taken. Was this a proper medical dose or a larger more recreational dose.
Also, run down to your nearest pharmacy, preferably the one where the defendant fills the prescription (found on the bottle if you have it) and ask for the flyer that is printed out when they fill the order. There are all kind of fun warnings on there that make for entertaining cross examination. (Including do not operate a motor vehicle or heavy machinery.)
You both might ask Clay Abbott(512-474-2436 / email@example.com) for his powerpoint on Loss of Normal Use. There are many fun little nuggets of trial language in there to assist you in showing the defendant was intoxicated by the introduction of these prescription medications into his/her system.
download the pdf version of a great APRI publication called Drug Toxicology for Prosecutors. The web site is www.ndaa-apri.com. The author of that excellent publication is now at Sam Houston State and might be hirable as an expert!
Philip, you are way too generous.
Don't be too flattered, it's from a movie. I'm surprised you didn't catch that.
Original: Rabbit is good, Rabbit is wise.
If this helps, SOMA is some nasty stuff when you're dealing with DWI's. It's actually used more as a muscle relaxant than a pain killer. (most of the defendants I've run into claim they are taking it for a back injury). I've probably seen a dozen or more DWI's on the stuff. Most of the abusers I've dealt with are taking 5 times or even more of the usual dose.
Most of the SOMA cases I've worked had a falling down or passed out drunk and the nystagmus was extremely pronounced. If you have an experienced DRE around, I'm sure he has seen SOMA.
I don't know how much the arresting officer gave you, but the DRE program classifies SOMA as a CNS depressant; with a footnote that it is one of two CNS depressants that elevate pulse. That bit of medical trivia probably won't help you, but the fact that it's abused enough to have a footnote on the DRE charts might.
Can't your chemist from the lab that tested the blood tell you if the amount found was more than theraputic? Ours can, and I have had a DPS chemist explain the same to me.
Yes they can, but when I called they were all out so I thought I would see what the forum had. I will be talking to chemist, and pharmacist. Just trying to get a quick answer. And I did. Thanks to all.
If you're just doing some quick research without trying to locate a very busy chemist, NHTSA has a website that describes what you would expect to find in someone with therapeutic doses of certain drugs. For example, here's the fact sheet on Soma:
Carisoprodol Fact Sheet (as you can see, it's got an interpretation of blood concentrations about halfway down the page; it's also got a section on effects on driving, among other things).
You'll still need an expert at trial, but I have recently discovered this to be very useful in reviewing cases.
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