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Forensic Sci Int. 2008 May 20;177(2-3):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2007.11.009. Epub 2007 Dec 31.

Concentrations of cocaine and its major metabolite benzoylecgonine in blood samples from apprehended drivers in Sweden.

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Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology, National Board of Forensic Medicine, Artillerigatan 12, SE-581 33 Linköping, Sweden. wayne.jones@RMV.SE


Cocaine and its major metabolite benzoylecgonine (BZE) were determined in blood samples from people arrested in Sweden for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) over a 5-year period (2000-2004). Venous blood or urine if available, was subjected to a broad toxicological screening analysis for cannabis, cocaine metabolite, amphetamines, opiates and the major benzodiazepines. Verification and quantitative analysis of cocaine and BZE in blood was done by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) at limits of quantitation (LOQ) of 0.02mg/L for both substances. Over the study period 26,567 blood samples were analyzed and cocaine and/or BZE were verified in 795 cases (3%). The motorists using cocaine were predominantly men (>96%) with an average age of 28.3+/-7.1 years (+/-standard deviation, S.D.). The concentration of cocaine was below LOQ in 574 cases although BZE was determined at mean, median and highest concentrations of 0.19mg/L, 0.12mg/L and 1.3mg/L, respectively. In 221 cases, cocaine and BZE were together in the blood samples at mean and (median) concentrations of 0.076mg/L (0.05mg/L) and 0.859mg/L (0.70mg/L), respectively. The concentrations of BZE were always higher than the parent drug; mean BZE/cocaine ratio 14.2 (median 10.9) range 1-55. Cocaine and BZE were the only psychoactive substances reported in N=61 cases at mean (median) and highest concentrations of 0.095 (0.07) and 0.5mg/L for cocaine and 1.01 (0.70) and 3.1mg/L for BZE. Typical signs of drug influence noted by the arresting police officers included bloodshot and glossy eyes, agitation, difficulty in sitting still and incoherent speech.

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