• Article

Opioids — Effects on human performance and behavior

The purpose of the monograph is to provide readers with a summary of the literature relating selected opioids to performance issues, specifically driving. This monograph provides a summary of information to aid expert witnesses in preparing for court testimony. Information for codeine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone is provided. In addition to a review of performance studies, a summary of acute and chronic pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and metabolism is included. Opioids appear to impair psychomotor functioning likely to be important to the performance of complex, divided attention tasks such as driving. This impairment is notably more prevalent in individuals with no history of opioid use; individuals with long-term opioid use do not demonstrate as extensive of an impairment. Other factors such as personality, environment, and pain control also sharply modulate opioid impairment.


Stout, P., & Farrell, L. J. (2002). Opioids — Effects on human performance and behavior. Forensic Science Review, 15(1), 29-59.