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Forensic Sci Int. 2005 Sep 10;152(2-3):149-55.

Driving under the influence of drugs -- evaluation of analytical data of drugs in oral fluid, serum and urine, and correlation with impairment symptoms.

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  • 1Institute of Forensic Toxicology, Center of Legal Medicine, Kennedyallee 104, D-60596 Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


A study was performed to acquire urine, serum and oral fluid samples in cases of suspected driving under the influence of drugs of abuse. Oral fluid was collected using a novel sampling/testing device (Dräger DrugTest System). The aim of the study was to evaluate oral fluid and urine as a predictor of blood samples positive for drugs and impairment symptoms. Analysis for cannabinoids, amphetamine and its derivatives, opiates and cocaine was performed in urine using the Mahsan Kombi/DOA4-test, in serum using immunoassay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) confirmation and in oral fluid by GC-MS. Police and medical officer observations of impairment symptoms were rated and evaluated using a threshold value for the classification of driving inability. Accuracy in correlating drug detection in oral fluid and serum were >90% for all substances and also >90% in urine and serum except for THC (71.0%). Of the cases with oral fluid positive for any drug 97.1% of corresponding serum samples were also positive for at least one drug; of drug-positive urine samples this were only 82.4%. In 119 of 146 cases, impairment symptoms above threshold were observed (81.5%). Of the cases with drugs detected in serum, 19.1% appeared not impaired which were the same with drug-positive oral fluid while more persons with drug-positive urine samples appeared uninfluenced (32.7%). The data demonstrate that oral fluid is superior to urine in correlating with serum analytical data and impairment symptoms of drivers under the influence of drugs of abuse.

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