Drug use in motor vehicle drivers presenting to an Australian, adult major trauma centre

Chin Wei Ch'ng, Mark Fitzgerald, Jim Gerostamoulos, Peter A Cameron, Dinh Bui, Olaf Heino Drummer, Jeffrey Potter, Morris Odell

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46 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To determine the drug use in injured Victorian drivers involved in motor vehicle collisions and subsequently transported to a major adult trauma centre in Victoria. METHODS: A blood sample was obtained from patients who had been taken to The Alfred Emergency Trauma Centre (Prahran, Vic., Australia) following a motor vehicle collision. This was performed at the same time and under the same law as compulsory blood screening in Victoria (Section 56 of the Road Safety Act). Four hundred and thirty-six specimens were analysed. Blood stored in vacutainer tubes containing preservative were screened for drugs using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and gas chromatography-mass spectometry analysis. Medically administered drugs were excluded from the results. RESULTS: Four hundred and thirty-six specimens were analysed. Metabolites of cannabis were the most commonly found drug (46.7 ), the active form of cannabis (Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) was found in 33 specimens (7.6 ). The next most prevalent drugs were benzodiazepines (15.6 ), opiates (11 ), amphetamines (4.1 ) and methadone (3 ). Cocaine was detected in 1.4 of cases. Of the motor vehicle collisions 66 involved males and females of 15-44 years old and Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol was almost exclusively found in this age group. In motor vehicle collisions involving older drivers there was an increasing use of benzodiazepines. In women >65 years old 30 were positive for benzodiazepines. CONCLUSIONS: Drug usage found in this group of injured drivers was disturbingly high. The introduction of further initiatives to decrease the prevalence of drug use in motor vehicle drivers is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359 - 365
Number of pages7
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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