Alcohol and drugs in seriously injured drivers in 6 European countries

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2012

Documents

  • Author: Legrand, Sara-Ann, Belgium

    Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Ghent University, Belgium

  • Author: Isalberti, Cristina, Belgium

    Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Ghent University, Belgium

  • Author: Linden, Trudy Van der

    Ghent University, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology

  • Author: Bernhoft, Inger Marie

    Traffic modelling and planning, Department of Transport, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet 116B, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Hels, Tove

    Traffic modelling and planning, Department of Transport, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet 116B, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Simonsen, Kirsten Wiese, Denmark

    Department of Forensic Medicine, Copenhagen University, Denmark

  • Author: Favretto, Donata, Italy

    Department of Molecular Medicine, Forensic Toxicology and Antidoping, University of Padova, Italy

  • Author: Caplinskiene, Marija, Lithuania

    State Forensic Medicine Service under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania

  • Author: Minkuviene, Zita, Lithuania

    State Forensic Medicine Service under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania

  • Author: Pauliukevicius, Alvydas, Lithuania

    State Forensic Medicine Service under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, Lithuania

  • Author: Houwing, Sjoerd

    SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

  • Author: Mathijssen, René

    SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research

  • Author: Lillsunde, Pirjo, Netherlands

    Alcohol and Drug Analytics Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Netherlands

  • Author: Langel, Kaarina, Netherlands

    Alcohol and Drug Analytics Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Netherlands

  • Author: Blencowe, Tom, Netherlands

    Alcohol and Drug Analytics Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Netherlands

  • Author: Verstraete, Alain, Belgium

    Department of Clinical Chemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Ghent University, Belgium

  • Author: Ferrara, Santo Davide, Italy

    Department of Molecular Medicine, Forensic Toxicology and Antidoping, University of Padova, Italy

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Objective: To determine the presence of alcohol and drugs in drivers severely injured in traffic crashes in 6 European countries.
Methods: Data were collected from 2492 seriously injured drivers of cars and vans in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Lithuania and The Netherlands, between 2007 and 2010. Toxicological analysis was performed with chromatographic techniques on whole blood for 23 substances
Results: The percentage of drivers positive for at least one psychoactive substance ranged between 28 (Lithuania) and 53% (Belgium). Alcohol (≥0.1 g/L) was the most common finding with the highest percentage in Belgium (42.5%). Among the alcohol-positive drivers, 90.5% had a BAC ≥0.5 g/L and 65.7% had a BAC ≥1.3 g/L (between 58.2% (NL) and 76.5% (FI)). Benzodiazepines (0.0-10.2%) and medicinal opioids (0.5-7.8%) were the most prevailing medicinal drugs, but half of the concentrations were lower than therapeutic. Cannabis (0.5-7.6%) was the most prevailing illicit drug. Alcohol was found in combination with drugs in 2.3-13.2% of the drivers. Drug combinations were found in 0.5-4.3% of the drivers.
Conclusion: This study confirms the high prevalence of psychoactive substances in injured drivers, but we observed large differences between the participating countries. Alcohol was the most common finding, followed by cannabis and benzodiazepines. Notable are the many drivers having a BAC ≥ 1.3 g/L. The majority of the substances were found in combination with another psychoactive substance, mostly alcohol. The high prevalence of high BACs and combinations (compared to roadside surveys) suggest that those drivers are most at risk and that preventive actions should target them preferentially.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDrug Testing and Analysis
Publication date2012
Volume5
Journal number3
Pages137-207
ISSN1942-7603
StatePublished

Keywords

  • Prevalence alcohol/psychoactive substance, Injured drivers, Europe
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