Drivers involved in road traffic accidents in Piedmont Region: psychoactive substances consumption


Introduction. The role played by psychoactive substances in road safety has become object of increasing interest: these substances can reduce driving performance and increase accidents risk. Aims of the study are to establish the dimension of the problem and to describe the characteristics of people involved in accidents under psychoactive substance effects. Methods. Target population consists of people from 18 to 60 years old involved in accidents afferent in Emergency Rooms. Subjects were interviewed by surveyors and a urines was collected for psychoactive substances screening. Results. In 18.5% of people we found substance consumption. Cocaine was the most frequently detected substance (9.5%), then benzodiazepines (7.5%), methadone, morphine and marijuana (THC) (3.5%). In 5.5% of subjects more then one substance was found. Considering only illegal substances detected, female have a higher risk to be consumers (OR = 1.36) and the young age (18-35 years) seems to be at higher prevalence and risk for substance use (OR = 1.86). Discussion. Considering all psychoactive substances detected, clearly the problem about substances consumption and driving is not restricted to youngest but involves all age groups. Conclusions. In order to decrease the number of accidents due to substance use, new prevention programmes able to involve also middle age groups should be planned.