SWOV Catalogus


Driving under the influence of drugs in Ireland : a growing and significant danger.
C 27970 (In: C 27945) /83 / ITRD E201146 (also at CD-ROM C 27890/C27945/C28028)
Cusack, D.A. Harrington, G. Furney, P. Flynn, K. & Leavy, C.P.
In: Alcohol, drugs and traffic safety : proceedings of the 16th ICADTS International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety T'2002, Montreal, Canada, August 4-9, 2002, Volume 2, p. 487-492, 8 ref.

Samenvatting Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) has been a statutory offence in Ireland since the 1961 Road Traffic Act. The Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) is the independent forensic body responsible for chemical testing of intoxicants under that Act. There are graded penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol, dependant on concentration. The law does not set prohibited concentrations for drugs nor does it distinguish between legal and illegal drugs. As part of the Irish Governments Strategy for Road Safety 1998 - 2002, the MBRS was commissioned to carry out a nation-wide survey on the current trends and epidemiology in DUID in Ireland. Two thousand blood and urine samples sent to the MBRS under the Road Traffic Act 1994 were analysed. 1000 of the specimens were over the limit for alcohol and 1000 specimens were under the limit. Specimens were initially analysed for alcohol concentration by HS Gas Chromatography. They were then analysed for the presence of the following drugs or drug classes: amphetamines, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, opiates and methadone using an enzyme immunoassay technique. Up to October 2001, over 1800 specimens were analysed and the preliminary results indicate 46% under the legal alcohol limit and 26% over the legal limit contain drugs. Polydrug use was observed at a level of 31% in the over the legal alcohol limit and 62% under the legal limit. These results indicate an increase in DUID since a previous survey in 1991. Confirmation of the findings will be presented and the distribution of drug types will be outlined. The high percentage drug positives found in the specimens tested indicates the need for analysis for the presence of drugs of all DUID specimens. The legislation with regard to drugs/driving will be reviewed in light of the findings, both analytical and epidemiological. (Author/publisher) For the covering abstract of the conference see ITRD Abstract No. E201067.
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