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Int J Drug Policy. 2015 Aug;26(8):790-3. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 Apr 25.

High prevalence of previous arrests for illicit drug use and/or impaired driving among drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in Sweden with amphetamine in blood at autopsy.

Author information

1
Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden; Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Linköping, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden. Electronic address: wayne.jones@liu.se.
2
Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden.
3
Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden; Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Linköping, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Amphetamine, and to a lesser extent the secondary amine methamphetamine, are major recreational drugs of abuse in Sweden. These central stimulant amines are identified in blood from roughly 50% of people arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). However, much less information is available about the presence of amphetamine in blood of drivers killed in road-traffic crashes.

METHODS:

This retrospective 10-year study (2001-2010) used a forensic toxicology database (TOXBASE) to retrieve information about road-traffic crashes when the driver had amphetamine and/or methamphetamine in autopsy blood. Forensic toxicology results were available from over 95% of all drivers killed on Swedish roads during this 10-year period.

RESULTS:

Amphetamine was present in the blood of 106 drivers (3.9%) either alone or together with other psychoactive substances (e.g. alcohol, cannabis, diazepam, alprazolam, etc.). The vast majority of fatalities were male (95%) with a mean age (±standard deviation) of 37±11.4 years (range 16-67 years). The mean (median) and highest concentrations of amphetamine in femoral blood were 1.36 mg/L (1.0mg/L) and 6.74 mg/L, respectively. Many of the victims (75%) had been arrested previously for use of illicit drugs or DUID. The median number of previous arrests was 4 (range 0-83) and amphetamine or methamphetamine were among the drugs identified in blood samples from 89% of cases (0-100%).

CONCLUSION:

The high prevalence of repeat DUID offending and/or use of illicit drugs among the drivers killed in road-traffic crashes suggests that an early intervention and treatment for stimulant abuse might have been more beneficial than conventional punishments for such drug-related crimes.

KEYWORDS:

Abuse; Amphetamine; Driving; Impairment; Recidivism; Traffic fatalities

PMID:
26003926
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.04.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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