Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Forensic Sci Int. 2019 Aug 1;302:109914. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.109914. [Epub ahead of print]

Prevalence of therapeutic drugs in blood of drivers involved in traffic crashes in the area of Bologna, Italy.

Author information

1
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: guido.pelletti2@unibo.it.
2
Ghent University Hospital, Department of Laboratory Medicine, C. Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium; Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Ghent University, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Gent, Belgium.
3
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: rossella.barone3@unibo.it.
4
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: francesca.rossi@unibo.it.
5
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: marco.garagnani@unibo.it.
6
Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Legal Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Irnerio 49, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address: susi.pelotti@unibo.it.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Psychoactive medicines, such as benzodiazepines and Z-drugs (BdZ), antidepressants and antipsychotics (AA) and medical opioids (MO), have an impairing effect on driving ability. In previous epidemiological studies performed on impaired and/or injured drivers, not all relevant psychoactive substances were included in the toxicological assessment, and their prevalence may be underestimated. This study aims to assess the prevalence of a large set of psychoactive substances (n=53) in Italian drivers involved in a road traffic crash and in predefined population subgroups.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The toxicological analyses were performed on the whole blood of 1026 drivers involved in a road traffic crash in the area of Bologna, Italy, from January 2017 to March 2018. Analyses were performed using GC-FID (alcohol), GCMS (illicit drugs) and LC/HRMS (psychoactive drugs). The population was divided into subgroups according to gender, age and crash time. Descriptive statistics were used in order to assess differences among sub-groups.

RESULTS:

The highest prevalence was found for alcohol (17.3%), followed by medicinal drugs (13.6%) and illicit drugs (5.5%). The prevalence of BdZ, AA and MO were 7.3%, 7.2% and 3.1%, respectively. The frequency of BDZ and AA was significantly higher in female drivers and showed higher prevalence at increasing age. The presence of medicinal drugs was significantly higher during the week and in crashes occurring during the day.

CONCLUSION:

Results for alcohol and illicit drugs partially overlap with those reported in previous European and Italian studies, but the prevalence of BdZ was much higher. We also found a high prevalence of AA, which are rarely investigated in epidemiological studies performed on drivers, but may cause impairment of the ability to drive, especially when taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs. The pattern of medication use differs from that involving drugs of abuse, since it is mainly observed in female subjects and older drivers and does not follow the same weekly trend observed for alcohol and other illicit drugs.

KEYWORDS:

Drivers; Driving under the influence; Epidemiology; Psychoactive medicinal drugs; Road traffic crashes

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center