The prevalence of drugs in injured drivers
Journal Paper/Review - Mar 5, 2011
Drummer Olaf H, Kourtis Irene, Beyer Jochen, Tayler Penny, Boorman Martin, Gerostamoulos Dimitri
In mid 2009 Victoria introduced compulsory drug testing of blood taken from all injured drivers taken to hospital. Δ(9)-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), methylamphetamine (MA) and 3,4-methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine (MDMA) are prohibited and if drivers are positive to any amount an automatic penalty is enforced. Laboratory screens were conducted on preserved blood using ELISA testing for cannabis metabolite and methylamphetamines and a fully validated LC-MS/MS method for 105 drugs including THC, amphetamines, opioids, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and antipsychotics and a number of other psychoactive substances using a minimum of two transitions per drug. Conventional GC-testing for ethanol was used to screen and quantify the presence of alcohol. 1714 drivers were tested and showed alcohol in 29% (≥ 0.01 g/100mL) and drugs in 35%. The positive rate for the three drugs prohibited by legislation was 12.5%. The prevalence of THC, MA and MDMA was 9.8%, 3.1%, and 0.8%, respectively. The range of THC concentrations in blood was 2-42 ng/mL (median 7) of which 70% had a concentration of 10 ng/mL or higher. The range of concentrations for MA and MDMA was 0.02-0.4 and 0.03-0.3mg/L (median for both drugs was 0.05 mg/L). Drugs of any type were detected in 35% of cases. The other drugs were largely prescribed drugs such as the antidepressants (9.3%) and benzodiazepines (8.9%). Neither 6-acetylmorphine nor cocaine (or benzoylecgonine) was detected in these cases.