I am representing an employee accused of drinking on the job; on numerous occasions her supervisors say they smell alcohol on her. She completed rehab successfully earlier this year, and claims not to be drinking. She is on meds for depression, bipolar, and seizures. My question is, can these meds cause the odor?
Alprazolam/Xanax 1mg every 6 hours
Phenytoin EX 200mg 3 times daily
Trazodone 300mg at bedtime
Seroquel 600mg at bedtime
Is there any possibility that your client might have developed a medical condition that is causing the smell that her supervisors note? For example, the breath of people with diabetes can have a sweet, fruity smell (especially if the diabetes is uncontrolled because the individual doesn't realize that they have it). Don't know if that could be mistaken for the smell of alcohol, but it might be worth investigation with a simple physical.
Also, if you go to www.medhelp. com and look up Dilantin (phenytoin) you will notice that some of the warnings and contraindications can involve the liver and the lymph nodes. It is reported that in women, heavy drinking can cause the liver to go into cirrhosis (scarring) in about four months, as opposed to about five years in men. If there are side effects of this nature, she may be excreting old toxins (alcohol residue) from her system due to the Dilantin itself. The website also explains how very unlikely it would be for a person to be able to be on any type of phenylbarbitol and alcohol at the same time without serious, noticeable effects. The alcoholic odor may be caused by liver excretions, these excretions being in turn excreted through the sweat glands and skin. Toxins may stay in the lymphatic system for years if not expressed through manual massage or by drinking large amounts of water on a daily basis. You did not state whether your client was accused of having an alcohol odor on her breath, or just about her person in general. If the odor was (allegedly) noticed on her breath, then said accusers would have had to also notice other signs of inebriation. Bad breath is hardly something one notices from a distance. If it just a "general" odor that has been perceived, there are a lot of different things that can cause this odor. What type of "alcohol" was smelled? Obviously, whiskey is a very distict odor, whereas fruit-based brandy or fruity liqours or wines, as well as liquer, can give off an odor that is comparable to hard candies, body lotions and other types of scented feminine products. Just on a personal note: and hopefully this may help you. When I was a young teenaged girl I was sent to summer camp for the whole summer with my older sister. We had two weekend passes during the summer, for four days each pass. Upon returning, the camp staff would search through all of your bags and belongings to make sure you had not brought any contraband "goodies" from home. When I say searched, I mean SEARCHED. They opened bottles of shampoo, sniffed containers of hairspray and dicarded immediately any "oregano" or "brownies" no matter how innocent. (The brownies, I mean...LOL...the oregano was never innocent...whose mom sends them to camp with a bottle of oregano?LOL) Anyway, at the end of both passes, my sister and I snuck in (each) three bottles of Aussie hair spray, the kind that smells like grape, washed out and filled with peach schnapps. The camp staff sniffed said bottles, and recapped them and put them back into our bags. They never knew a thing. Try it yourself at you local Wal Mart. (Because you a guy I will explain that the Aussie styling line is the one in the grape colorerd bottles) If your client uses scented products and her co-workers are being pressured in any way or are mentally predisposed to a certain opinion, (you know how people are want to make things out to be what they have heard in rumor )the accusers could well be drawinf false conclusion from this. A lot of alcohol is made to smell pleasing, and so is a lot of hair and body product. And usually those "pleasing" smells are pretty universal. I mean, we all know that strawberry smells good and **** smells bad, right? Have you considered a "sniff" test for your cross exam? I mean having witnesses smell, say, four different bottles of fluid and having them correctly guess which ones are alcohol and which are not? Of common products that your client would be using, of course. There are also liver and blood tests that can be done to show whether you client has been using alcohol or not. Anyway, I hope I have helped you in some way. Good luck to you and your client.
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