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Illicit Drug Abuse in Drivers of Motor Vehicle Collisions

Mohammad Kalantari Meibodi, Samira Esfandyari, Vahid Siyabi, Sareh Roosta

Background: Motor vehicle Traffic injuries are indeed one of the most important worldwide health problems. Opioids can induce a depressant effect on the central nervous system which may increase the risk of traffic accidents. This cross-sectional case-control study was conducted in Marvdasht, Iran to investigate the presence of drugs in hospitalized non-fatally injured drivers of motor vehicles.

Materials and Methods: The cases were 500 drivers of motor vehicle, injured in the road traffic accident and referred to the emergency ward. The controls were 500 patients hospitalized in the same emergency department due to non-traumatic reasons. They were asked about the abuse of any substance during the 72 hours before their referral to the hospital. Urinary samples of patients with negative history of drug consumption were analyzed.

Results: From the drivers, 237 (47.4%) of the case group and 278 (55.6%) of the control group had positive-substance consumption. Opium was the common drug abused in the two groups. An eight fold increased risk of road accident was observed for drivers who had used tramadol (OR= 8.2, 95% CI 4.9-13.7, p<0.001). Two or more illicit drugs (poly drug abuse) were detected in 24% of the cases and 31.8% of the controls (50.6% and 57.2% of drug abusers, respectively). Just for tramadol, the prevalence was higher in cases than controls. Conclusion: The results demonstrate the high proportion of illicit drug abuse among Iranian drivers. More health education and policies are necessary to steadily decrease drug abuse in our society.
Traffic accident; Non-fatal Driver; Drug abuse

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