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Traffic Inj Prev. 2007 Jun;8(2):189-98.

Prevalence of alcohol and illicit drugs in blood specimens from drivers involved in traffic law offenses. Systematic review of cross-sectional studies.

Author information

  • 1Center of Forensic Medicine, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany. legista@gmail.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine which is the reported prevalence of alcohol and illicit drugs in blood specimens from drivers involved in traffic law offenses worldwide.

METHODS:

The search was performed by using several international biomedical databases. In order to reduce publication bias, additional publications were identified using further sources of information. The present review includes cross-sectional studies published between 1990 and 2005 in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, and Italian. Only studies based on the analysis of blood specimens and chromatographic quantification of drugs were included.

RESULTS:

Forty-nine studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Eighteen were excluded considering practical reasons regarding limitations for a reliable interpretation of their results. Alcohol appears to be still the predominant substance, with the consideration that among drivers primarily suspected of DUID, cannabinoids are more prevalent. Among the illicit drugs, cannabinoids are the most commonly found substance. Certain trends could be identified, e.g., very low prevalence of cocaine in reports from Nordic countries, a high prevalence of amphetamines between Norwegian and Swedish studies, and low rates of THC among Australian studies.

CONCLUSION:

The results of this study should be regarded as an attempt to obtain more reliable data concerning the prevalence of alcohol and illicit drugs among drivers. To obtain a better assessment of the real current role of alcohol and drugs (illicit and medications), it seems strongly necessary to update the case-control study conducted by Borkenstein et al. in 1964, including now blood analyses of the whole spectrum of substances that can impair drivers.

PMID:
17497523
DOI:
10.1080/15389580601188121
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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