This article reports the age, gender, and blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of people apprehended in Sweden for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA) over an 8-year period (2000-2007). Duplicate determinations of ethanol were made in venous blood by headspace gas chromatography and results were reported positive at a cut-off concentration of 0.1 g/L (10 mg/100 ml or 0.01 g%). The mean, median and highest BAC was 1.74 g/L, 1.70 g/L and 5.18 g/L, respectively. The vast majority of offenders were men (89.5%) with a mean age of 39.0+/-14.6 y (+/-SD). The women (10.5%) were a few years older 41.8+/-13.6 y (p0.05) from women (1.77+/-0.87 g/L). The youngest offenders aged 15-20 y (N=3513) had a mean BAC of 1.30+/-0.60 g/L (median 1.32), which was significantly less (p
BACKGROUND: New legislation aimed at combating driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in Sweden stipulated zero-concentrations in blood for scheduled substances. DUID suspects (n = 300), with amphetamine as the only psychoactive drug identified in blood, were investigated in relation to age and gender. In a smaller retrospective sample (n = 70) the relationship between clinical tests of impairment were compared with the concentration of amphetamine in blood. MEASUREMENTS: All forensic blood samples were subjected to a broad toxicological screening analysis by immunoassay methods [enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique/cloned enzyme donor immunoassay (EMIT/CEDIA)] and positive results were verified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The limit of quantitation (LOQ) for determination of amphetamine in blood was 0.03 mg/l. People suspected of being under the influence of drugs were examined by a physician who asked various questions about state of health and use of drugs and also administered simple psychomotor and cognitive tests of impairment. After conducting these tests the physician concluded whether the suspects were not impaired, slightly, moderately or highly impaired by drugs other than alcohol. FINDINGS: Among 300 DUID suspects with amphetamine in blood there were 246 men (82%) and 54 women (18%). Mean age (+/- SD) of the men was 37.1 +/- 8.7 years compared with 35.5 +/- 7.1 years for the women (P > 0.05). The frequency distribution of blood amphetamine concentration was positively skewed with mean, median and highest values of 1.0 mg/l, 0.9 mg/l and 7.1 mg/l, respectively. The mean concentrations were slightly higher in the women 1.11 mg/l (median 1.0 mg/l) compared with 0.97 mg/l (median 0.8 mg/l) in the men (P > 0.05). There was a weak but statistically significant correlation between the person's age and the concentration of amphetamine in blood (r = 0.18, P 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The lack of association between degree of drug influence and the concentration of amphetamine in blood speaks against the notion of introducing concentration per se limits or graded penalties depending on the blood-concentration of this stimulant. Zero-concentration limits or LOQ-limits are a much more pragmatic way to enforce DUID legislation.
OBJECTIVE: A zero-tolerance law for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) was introduced in Sweden in 1999. This change in legislation has led to a 12-fold increase in the number of blood samples sent by the police for toxicological analysis. Here we report the age and gender of offenders, along with the concentrations of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymeth-amphetamine) in blood samples analyzed since the institution of the new legislation. METHOD: A forensic toxicology database (TOXBASE) was used to identify cases of DUID in which central stimulant amines were verified in blood during a 5-year period (2000-2004). RESULTS: Amphetamine was present in 15,898 of 26,556 cases of DUID (60%) either alone or together with other licit or illicit drugs. In 6,094 cases, amphetamine was the only psychoactive substance in blood at mean (median) and highest concentrations of 1.01 mg/L (0.80 mg/L) and 11.9 mg/L, respectively. The users of amphetamine were mainly men (85% vs 15% women; p
We used an in-house forensic toxicology database (TOXBASE) to evaluate the occurrences of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) in blood samples from people arrested in Sweden for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) between 1998 and 2007. Age, gender, and concentrations of GHB in blood were compared and contrasted when GHB was the only drug present and when it occurred along with other drugs. GHB was determined in blood by gas chromatography (GC) after conversion to gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and analysis of the latter with a flame ionization detector. The cut-off concentration of GHB in blood for reporting a positive result was 8 mg/l, which served as limit of quantitation. The mean and median GHB concentrations were 89 mg/l and 82 mg/l, respectively (2(1/2) and 97(1/2) percentiles 12 and 220 mg/l) in 548 arrested drivers. These individuals were predominantly men (95%) with an average age of 26 +/- 5.5 years (range 15-50 years) and women (5%) were several years older with an average age of 32 +/- 8.0 years (range 19-47). There were 102 individuals (29%) who were arrested more than once with GHB in blood (average approximately 3 times per person) and one as many as 10 times. GHB was the only psychoactive substance detected in 215 cases (39%) at mean and median blood-concentrations of 91 mg/l and 83 mg/l, respectively. These concentrations were not significantly different from poly-drug users. A weak but statistically significant correlation existed between the concentration of GHB in blood and the person's age (N = 548, r = 0.135, P
According to statistics provided by the Swedish National Road Administration (Vägverket), a total of 1403 drivers were killed in road-traffic crashes in Sweden between 2003 and 2007. Forensic autopsies were performed in approximately 97% of all deaths and specimens of blood and urine were sent for toxicological analysis. In 60% of cases (N=835) the toxicology results were negative and 83% of these victims were men. The blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit for driving (>0.2g/L) in 22% of cases (N=315) at mean, median and highest concentrations of 1.7 g/L, 1.7 g/L and 4.9 g/L, respectively. The proportions of male to female drivers with BAC>0.2g/L were 93% vs 7% compared with 83% vs 17% for those with drugs other than alcohol in blood. Drivers with a punishable BAC were over-represented in single vehicle crashes compared with multiple vehicle crashes (67% vs 33%). The opposite held for drivers who had taken a prescription drug (39% vs 61%) and also for drug-negative cases (31% vs 69%). Drugs other than alcohol were identified in 253 cases (18%); illicit drugs only in 39 cases (2.8%), both licit and illicit in 28 cases (2.0%) and in 186 cases (13.3%) one or more therapeutic drugs were present. Amphetamine was the most common illicit drug identified at mean, median and highest concentrations of 1.5mg/L, 1.1mg/L and 5.0mg/L, respectively (N=39). Blood specimens contained a wide spectrum of pharmaceutical products (mean 2.4 drugs/person), comprising sedative-hypnotics (N=93), opiates/opioids (N=69) as well non-scheduled substances, such as paracetamol (N=78) and antidepressants (N=93). The concentrations of these substances in blood were mostly in the therapeutic range. Despite an appreciable increase (12-fold) in number of arrests made by the police for drug-impaired driving after a zero-tolerance law was introduced (July 1999), alcohol still remains the psychoactive substance most frequently identified in the blood of drivers killed in road-traffic crashes.