PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A police report released Tuesday says Tiger Woods told officers that he was recovering from back surgery and admitted he was taking medications, including Vicodin, which is a very strong prescription drug.
Police say Woods was asleep at the wheel when officers spotted his car stopped along a Florida road early Monday morning. The engine was still running. An affidavit released Tuesday says officers woke Woods who had extremely slow and slurred speech.
The 41-year-old golfer issued a statement, blaming his DUI arrest on prescription medicine.
“I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly,” said Woods.
Dr. Joseph Bushra, the chief of emergency medicine at Lankenau Medical Center, says prescription pain medication, like Vicodin, can cause serious side effects.
“These are drugs that depress reflexes, reaction time and can make someone unsafe driving behind the wheel just like alcohol can,” said Bushra.
Florida police say tests showed Woods had no alcohol in his system, but he failed a roadside sobriety test.
“You should not drive if you’re taking these medications. Whether you feel impaired or not, you’re impaired,” said Bushra.
Woods was once the world’s greatest golfer, but he hasn’t won a major title in a decade.
His personal struggles became tabloid fodder when he crashed into a tree and revelations of extramarital affairs led to his divorce.
Woods has had four back surgeries, with the latest one in April. Painkillers are often prescribed after such surgeries, and many carry warnings to avoid driving while taking them.
“We see lots of victims of car accidents and we’re seeing many of them come in testing positive for either alcohol or prescription pain medications or prescription sedatives,” said Bushra.
Doctors say other medicines, including over-the-counter allergy treatments and anti-anxiety drugs, can also cause drowsiness and include warning labels about the dangers of driving.
Mixing any kind of pain medications increases the impact, something that Woods has apologized for doing.