Thursday, January 01, 2009

Substance Abuse and DUI Arrests - A Lesson for New Year's Eve

Accident Analysis & PreventionVolume 41, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 191-196

Trends in driving under the influence of drugs: A register-based study of DUID suspects during 1977–2007 Karoliina K. Ojaniemia, , , Tomi P. Lintonenb, c, Antti O. Impinena, Pirjo M. Lillsundea and Aini I. Ostamoa, c
aNational Public Health Institute, Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research, Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland

Our aim was to describe the incidence and trends of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) and to examine the main drug findings and their trends in suspected DUID cases in Finland. A register-based study was conducted of all suspected DUID cases during 1977–2007. The data included 31,963 DUID offenders apprehended by the police with a positive finding for illicit/licit drug impairing driving performance. Toxicological results were analyzed in blood and/or urine specimens in one central laboratory. The incidence of suspected DUID cases increased 18-fold during 1977–2007. Most of the suspects were men (89.7%). However, the male–female ratio decreased from 13.9 to 7.3. The mean age decreased from 36.2 years in 1977 to 29.9 years in 2001 but has since reincreased. Most often found substances were benzodiazepines (75.7%), amphetamines (46.0%), cannabinoids (27.7%) and opioids (13.8%). Most common illicit drugs, amphetamines and cannabinoids, started to appear at the end of the 1980s. Poly-drug findings were common (77.1%). Suspected DUID cases have increased sharply after the introduction of a zero tolerance law, especially in regard to amphetamines. DUID is an increasing problem in Finland, and needs serious attention.


BrooklynDodgers(s) comment: The Dodger(s) suggest(s) that driving while impaired is a health risk behavior, likely to have the same associations or causative factors as driving without a seat belt, speeding, smoking, and obesity. [Obesity is more an outcome than a behavior]. This explains the clustering of risk behaviors. This paper is less informative since it doesn't, as least in the abstract, address the likely greater prevalence of alchohol. Also, it addresses the Finnish cultural and law enforcement environment. Nevertheless, it points to a key contradition of the substance abuse literature. The most common drugs were prescription medications, even if not prescribed. And, half the drugs were amphetamines, which would be expected to improve performance, and which are medications prescribed for military pilots. Much that the Dodger(s) would like to criticize the draconian notion of "zero tolerance" policy, the Dodger(s) note several methods problems which undermine the conclusion of a growing problem.

No comments: