Drunk Versus Drugged: How Different Are The Drivers

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Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs is increasing in the U.S., but little is known about the differences based on their patterns of use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

This paper uses a large dataset to study patients admitted to Texas substance abuse treatment programs with one or more past-year DUI arrests. t-Tests are used for comparisons between normally distributed continuous data and chi square for categorical data.

First-time DUI offenders not only differ from those reporting more than one past-year DUI, but they differ among themselves in terms of demographics, treatment participation, substance use problems, and mental health disorders. Those with primary problems with methamphetamine, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, other opiates, sedatives, and heroin reported more days of problems and more daily use than those with problems with alcohol, while offenders with primary problems with cannabis were less impaired.

The most impaired clients were less likely to be referred to treatment from the justice system, and the differences in drug and alcohol offenders show the need to tailor approaches with education and treatment programs. More attention should be given to the needs of drivers impaired through use of prescription drugs such as the opiates and sedatives, as well as female drivers, and the role of acculturation should be recognized in programs for Hispanic drivers. In addition, specific programs should be targeted to young cannabis abusers and underage offenders. All first-time DUI arrestees should be assessed for their levels of impairment.

Source: Drunk versus drugged: how different are ... [Drug Alcohol Depend. 2012] - PubMed - NCBI