Prevalence of drugs in injured drivers in Victoria, Australia

Matthew DiRago, Dimitri Gerostamoulos, Carla Morris, Tania Fredericksen, Noel W. Woodford, Olaf H. Drummer

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This study documents the prevalence of positive tests for alcohol and a large number of drugs in drivers taken to Victorian hospitals for injuries over a five-year period. Blood specimens were collected from 5000 injured drivers shortly after arrival to a hospital and were subject to comprehensive toxicological analyses using a validated LC-MS/MS technique. Alcohol was present in 15.8% of drivers and drugs capable of causing impairment were present in 38.7% of all drivers with methylamphetamine the most prevalent illicit drug (12.8%), followed by Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, 11.1%). Motor-cyclists had the highest prevalence of THC (24.1%). 3,4-Methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine (MDMA) was present in 1.3% of all drivers while cocaine or one of its metabolites was present in only 0.8%. The heroin metabolite, 6-acetyl-morphine, was detected in one case, although the majority of heroin users were likely to be only positive to morphine. Benzodiazepines were present in 11.9% of drivers. While morphine (24.8%) and ketamine (4.5%) were detected in many drivers their presence from possible medical use could not be excluded. Opioids, other than morphine, were largely made up of codeine (3.8%) and oxycodone (2.4%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-180
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2021


  • Alcohol
  • illicit drugs
  • impairing drugs
  • injured drivers
  • novel psychoactive drugs
  • road trauma

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