SWOV Catalogus

320736

Drugged drivers in Norway with benzodiazepine detections.
20021686 ST [electronic version only]
Skurtveit, S. Abotnes, B. & Christophersen, A.
Forensic Science International, Vol. 125 (2002), No. 1 (January), p. 75-82, 26 ref.

Samenvatting Norwegian drugged drivers with benzodiazepine (BZD) detections have been studied with regard to drug use pattern and rearrest rate. During 1995, 3343 drivers were apprehended by the police in Norway due to the suspicion of influence by drugs. Blood samples from all drivers were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Toxicology (NIFT). The samples were analysed using a standard program covering the most commonly abused drugs on the marked in Norway. BZDs, representing some of the most frequently detected drugs, were found in approximately 30% (n = 1051) of the cases, represented by 14% (n = 150) female and 86% (n = 901) male drivers. In 8% of the cases, one BZD only was detected, half of these cases with one BZD could reflect therapeutic use. One or more BZDs were combined with illegal drug(s) (73%), other prescribed drugs (10%), and/or alcohol (24%). 62% of the drivers with BZD detections, had earlier been arrested for the same offence, or six cases per rearrested driver. The frequency of earlier arrests were lower for female (34%) than for male (67%) drivers. Alcohol was most frequently found for those arrested for the first time before 1992, while BZD or illegal drugs were most frequently found for those with their first arrest during 1992-1995. Our study shows that apprehended drivers using BZD are mainly represented by drug abusers due to frequent multi-drug use, blood concentrations representing doses above therapeutic levels and high rearrest rate for the same offence. A treatment program or other reactions, are thus necessary in addition to fines, prison penalty and suspension of driving licence. (Author/publisher)
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