Cannabis and driving: The situation in Europe

Département de Biologie Clinique, de Microbiologie et d'Immunologie, Université de Gand, Gand, Belgique.
Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises 06/2006; 64(3):197-203.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In Europe, three million people consume cannabis every day. Investigations showed that more than two thirds of drug users drive after having smoked cannabis. Epidemiological studies show that between 0.5% and 8.2% of the general driving population is positive for cannabis. For drivers wounded or deceased as a result of an accident, the percentage varies respectively from 3.3% to 10% and from 2.2% to 8.4%. Finally, very high percentages are found in the studies which analysed the presence of drugs in drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs: more than 50% in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Six European countries adopted an analytical or 'per se' legislation and the cut-offs vary between 0.3 and 2 ng/mL THC. In the Netherlands, experimental studies carried out after administration of cannabis clearly showed the impairing effects, in particular in the event of simultaneous consumption of cannabis and alcohol. Various research projects financed by the European Union studied the epidemiologic aspects (IMMORTAL), detection by psychotechnical tests (CERTIFIED) and roadside drug detection (ROSITA and ROSITA-2).

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    • "The question that often arises in traffic accident cases is whether or not a driver was driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC) or whether it is possible to determine the relationship between blood THC concentration and driver impairment. Various recent projects have been financed by the European Union, particularly because it has been determined that more than two thirds of drug users in Europe drive after having smoked cannabis (Raes and Verstraete 2006). Recent data suggest that drivers with a measur- able 9 -THC concentration (>1 ng/ml) have an elevated crash risk (Ramaekers et al. 2002; Mura et al. 2003; Drummer et al. 2004). "
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    International Journal of Toxicology 05/2007; 26(3):231-6. DOI:10.1080/10915810701352788 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of psychotropic drug use in active participants in traffic accidents who died during the accident or shortly after it due to injuries resulting from the accident. A special mortality register containing data of all forensic autopsies was analysed. The studied sample consisted of persons who died during traffic accidents and were active participants in those ones (pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers), and were toxicologically tested during the forensic examination. The sample consisted of 1,213 cases, 1,039 (85.7%) males and 174 (14.3%) females who died in 2003-2005. Ethanol was found in 34.7% of cases, however a significant declining trend over the years was noted. The proportion of positive detections for any psychotropic drug other than alcohol was 7.2%; benzodiazepines were found most frequently (3.6%), followed by cannabis (2.2%), and stimulants (1.7% of the sample). Positive findings of ethanol were significantly more common among males, whereas positive benzodiazepine tests were more frequent in females. Positive cases were significantly younger than negative ones for ethanol, volatile substances, stimulants, and cannabis; in cases of positive medicaments tests, the positive cases were significantly older than the negatives.
    Central European journal of public health 01/2008; 15(4):158-62. · 0.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionIn legal medicine the study of the detection of drugs of abuse is interesting in different fields. In the vehicles conduction field takes special importance for the social and legal repercussion that supposes driving under the effects of the drugs. Nowadays the saliva is not an invasive sample that has demonstrated its usefulness for the analysis of drugs of abuse.
    Revista Espanola de Medicina Legal 01/2008; 34(1). DOI:10.1016/S0377-4732(08)70020-8
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