Statistical Analysis of Toxicological Data of Victims of Traffic Accidents in Galicia (Spain)
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Traffic accidentsAlcoholDrugsStatisticsToxicological data
Alvarez-Freire, I... [et al.]. Statistical Analysis of Toxicological Data of Victims of Traffic Accidents in Galicia (Spain). Prev Sci (2023). [https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-023-01502-8]
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a very common behavior in our environment and a serious problem for public health. On the one hand, in 2016, 400,000 people died in the world in traffic accidents in which ethanol was involved. On the other hand, traffic accidents in which the use of drugs of abuse other than ethyl alcohol accounted for more than 160,000 deaths worldwide in 2017. The objective of this work is to carry out a review of the 710 cases of people who died in traffic accidents received at the forensic toxicology service of the Institute of Forensic Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia-Spain) over a period of 10 years (2009–2019). We performed an observational study of period prevalence, in which the following data were collected: age, sex, year, and analytical results in plasma, in the case of being positive. The data collected was subjected to statistical treatment. Of the 710 cases analyzed, 123 correspond to pedestrians and 587 to occupants of vehicles or motorcycles. A total of 77.6% of the deceased were men. At least one psychotropic substance was found in the blood of almost 40% of the victims. The most frequently found substance was ethyl alcohol, which appeared in 231 cases, more frequently in males. The second place is occupied by benzodiazepines, which appeared in 43 cases, followed by cocaine, which was detected in 25 cases. Polydrug use was found in only 44 cases, with the association of ethanol and cocaine being the most commonly found, followed by that of ethanol and benzodiazepines. Only in 5 of the cases analyzed there were 3 or more substances present. With the data obtained in this study, it is shown that in traffic accidents, the finding of different toxic or medicinal substances is frequent. Ethyl alcohol continues to be very present in road accidents (most detected substance), with the great impact that this implies. Secondly, the presence of benzodiazepines stands out, and cocaine is the third most detected toxic in this study. These results allow to obtain a profile of the substances most frequently involved in traffic accidents. Despite the surveillance, control, and information campaigns that the Spanish Government regularly carries out, the results are far from satisfactory.