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Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Jul 13;160(2-3):168-72. Epub 2005 Oct 17.

Use of drugs of abuse in less than 30-year-old drivers killed in a road crash in France: a spectacular increase for cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie et Toxicologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, BP 577, 86021 Poitiers, France.


A collaborative study was conducted in France in order to determine the prevalence of cannabinoids, opiates, cocaine metabolites and amphetamines in blood samples from drivers killed in road accidents in 2003 and 2004 and to compare these values with those of a previous study performed during the period 2000-2001 involving 900 drivers. Blood samples were provided from 2003 under 30-year-old drivers, killed in a traffic accident. Drugs of abuse were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using the same analytical procedures in all the 12 laboratories. The most frequently observed compounds were by far cannabinoids, that tested positive in 39.6% of the total number of samples. Delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most active of the principle constituents in marijuana (cannabis sativa), was detected in the blood of 28.9% drivers and was the single drug of abuse in 80.2% of the positive cases. It was associated with amphetamines in 7.4% and with opiates and cocaine in 1.9 and 4.8%, respectively. Amphetamines were present in 3.1% of the total number of samples, cocaine metabolites in 3.0% and opiates in 3.5%. When comparing these results with those of a previous study performed 3 years before, a significant increase is observed for THC (28.9% versus 16.9%), cocaine metabolites (3.0% versus 0.2%) and amphetamines (3.1% versus 1.4%). This study demonstrates the critical necessity of implementing in France as soon as possible systematical roadside testing for drugs of abuse.

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