Should You Carry Concealed While on Painkillers?

Should You Carry Concealed While on Painkillers?

Should You Carry Concealed While on Painkillers?

By Brandon – Republished with Permission from Concealed Nation.

For the millions of Americans living in some state of dependency upon legally prescribed painkillers, a lingering question abounds as to whether taking them and then carrying a gun presents a conflict.

There is a dilemma. On one hand, we have a moral and legal obligation to be of sound mind should we be forced to use a gun for our own defense. On the other hand, for those who depend on legally prescribed painkillers in order to manage severe and chronic pain, it’s extremely hard to determine where the line is between a legal dosage and what could be considered an impaired state.

Being in an impaired state — whether by influence of alcohol, legal medication, or other — is a severe detriment to both a person’s capacity to reason and also affects the central nervous system.

Long-term dependency and use of narcotics tends to have permanent, lasting effects on the brain. This subject matter is being studied extensively by scientists in an effort to understand both how long-term painkiller use affects the brain chemistry of the individual and to find out what patients can expect.

Narcotic painkillers have been attributed to increased major depression in patients in those who have taken them in longer term situations.

“These findings suggest that the longer one is exposed to opioid analgesics, the greater is their risk of developing depression,” said Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D. associate professor of family and community medicine at Saint Louis University and principle investigator of the study. “Opioids have long been known to allay pain and suffering, but reports of adverse effects are abundant and continue to emerge.”

There are people who legitimately need narcotic painkillers in order to function. Unlike those who do them recreationally, long-term prescribed users report experiencing clarity while on them.

This may lead someone to believe that he or she can function at higher levels than he otherwise could.

As we’ve reported multiple instances of homes being broken into, concealed carriers having to defend themselves in sometimes ambiguous scenarios, and other incidences involving defensive gun use, we find ourselves at a crossroads where we must now weigh in on whether or not we believe painkillers have an adverse effect on an individual’s capacity to use a handgun in a defensive environment.

Ultimately — this is your decision.

If you depend on legally prescribed narcotic painkillers in order to function, you and your physician would know best as to whether or not you have the capacity to carry a concealed handgun and use it effectively if the need arises.

Should a defensive gun use scenario occur, whether in the home or outside of it, police and the prosecutor will both take into account any use of medication or other controlled substances. This may turn into an argument the prosecutor may make during his review of the case or, and this is more likely, your opponent and/or his next of kin may decide to take up that information if they press for civil charges.

Neither benefits you but your life is your responsibility. Choose wisely and train accordingly.

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Luke McCoy is the founder of USA Carry. In 2007, he launched USA Carry to provide concealed carry information and a community for those with concealed carry permits and firearm enthusiasts.
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This is a subject that I have already been thinking about even before reading this article today. The truth is no matter how valid, or how “good” a shot may be, if one is taking a legally prescribed medication it could well become an issue afterward in either or both a criminal or civil investigation? I am not saying one would loose the case, only that it could become an issue. Unfortunately the article here does not end with any concrete advice as to what, or how much a dose might be considered dangerous, or an impaired state? In the end it may well be as this article states, something we each need to evaluate and consider based on your needs and the individual circumstances of an event?


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Nate Opgenorth

I posted a long post above but I think it can be summed up in making sure you are justified in the shoot, much more so than someone who does not take pain killers. Also testimony from your doctor or possibly better yet a pain management doctor who is pro-gun would help. Also testimony of say you’re shooting instructor or experts you shoot with on a regular basis attesting to your solid judgement. I think that would speak volumes in court because if your judgement was not a problem in the past it might show the prosecution is trying to make it a problem.

Nate Opgenorth

If you break a bone or something and are temporarily taking opioid pain killers and are not accustomed to them you might want to question this seriously, some people get insanely loopy on narcotics when they take them but that is NOT everyone, Especially if you take them on a regular basis and responsibly it should not be a problem…While the car analogy has been used to death there are people who take all sorts of crazy medicine at the same time and drive, although driving standards seam to be far less important these days I would look at some prosecutions of car accidents, from what I’ve gathered people who have accidentally taken sleeping pills have been prosecuted for DUI, driving while “high” is somewhat new uncharted territory for many LEO’s, officers often need specific training to recognize the signs but that’s a different story. I’m more worried about people taking sedatives like Xanax and what not during the day than I am of people taking pain killers. Theoretically if I took any legally prescribed opioid pain killers on a regular basis and was carrying then my viewpoint would be that my justification for the shoot would have to be even stronger and I’d want a good lawyer that could look for good witnesses, video footage, etc. I’d also do everything humanly possible to avoid a situation where I’d have to even pull my gun, I think we all know that but I thought I’d just throw in a reminder. The problem with narcotics is there is no dose where someone is definitely impaired like alcohol, for people on long term opioid therapy they could need to take 20mg of Oxycodone at once which might put you and I to sleep…Also maybe see if your doctor who prescribes such pain killers is pro gun, if they are pro gun poke at them about there viewpoint on this! Armed citizens, lawyers, and cops can argue all they want but we’ve got a medical angle here and testimony in your favor from say an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain management could bury some prosecutors argument along with his generic witness who works as a medical examiner for the government but does not fully understand pain mangement like your star witness does. This is another reason why we need more people to carry, I know doctors who are very pro-2nd amendment, the more we have the more easily we will find one that could save us or someone else from vicious prosecution for a justified shoot. But I think narcotics pain killers are the least of the worries when it comes to impairing someones Judgement, at worst it might slow someones reaction time but other drugs like anti-depressants, sedatives, and stimulants are IMO going to look a lot worse in court. I can easily see an argument that the defendant was under the influence of amphetamine (Adderall, Dexedrine, etc.) and because of that he reacted inappropriately because amphetaines make you more impulsive. I could also see an argument that the defendant was taking sedatives for panic disorder, why should such a person be allowed to carry a gun around? Or the person took a large dose of sedatives and their judgement was off (also you could argue that you took the sedatives after the shoot when you were say at the hospital)….I’m not saying ANY of those arguments are right but I am saying it is more sand to kick up in court to twist reality. OJ had some BS about his hands swelling up from not taking his arthritis medicine didn’t he? One thing that I worry about is if I’ve had a glass of wine before bed or a beer at an event (I don’t drink a lot) what if I go to bed and I’m still under the influence and 30minutes after I tuck myself in someone kicks my door in?! In liberal land its a coin toss, in a the NYC metro area a man was charged with 2nd degree murder for a completely justified shoot, guy broke into the house with a gun, however the guy who shot the bad guy had a record for misdemeanor assault and did not have a NYC rifle permit (lol…) so they used that against him even though the gun was lawfully registered to a family member, but that family member was unable to get to that gun in time (I believe they were in another room IIRC). One thing is for certain: there is always something going to be used against you so always make sure you are justified….I hear some new people to guns (and the subsequent legal knowledge you NEED to learn about them) say “oh well you live in NYS, I live in a conservative stand your ground and castle doctrine state so I don’t have to worry” as if that will absolve them of an unjustified shoot or an iffy shoot.


Wait! Under obama care, the physician is supposed to ask if you own any firearms. Which means they could also ask if you conceal carry. If you have chronic pain, and are consistently prescribed these heavy medications, then the physician can use this knowledge against you. In states like california, you could lose the right to firearm ownership. It has happened to Veterans, who needed fiduciary assistance (help paying bills, or balancing their bank accounts). It could be possible (and likely in anti gun california) that they would look for any reason to remove firearms from your household.

Larry McWreath

I have been in a long term Pain Mgmt program since 2005..Meds are changed and rotated to keep your meds working but it doesnt help..;I can say without a doubt that if you are a long time person, the medication does nothing more than what a dose of Ibuprofen does.. It helps take the edge off and thats all..I have asked others in my shoes and the story is all the same..Nate brought up a point on taking Zanax, I dont know if that holds true for that but I can state that does not fall under pain meds from what ive seen..


Absolutely correct. In addition, those with internal pain pumps feel only the effects of slight relief from pain and are as straight mentally as anyone else.
Trusting a judge or jury to believe that nowadays though may be a tough, or impossible chore.

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