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Substance abusers more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash: study

February 27, 2013

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Prince George, British Columbia – Drivers with a history of substance abuse are more likely to die in a motor vehicle incident than non-abusers, according to a new study from Canadian researchers.

Researchers tracked individuals diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder who were hospitalized in California between 1990 and 2005 and compared their motor vehicle crash fatality rate against the average California driver, according to the study abstract. Among the findings:

  • Alcohol abusers died 4.5 times more often in a motor vehicle crash.
  • Cocaine abusers died 3.8 times more often.
  • Abusers of opioids such as morphine died 2.8 times more often.
  • Methamphetamine abusers died 2.6 times more often.
  • Cannabis abusers died 2.3 times more often.
  • Multiple-substances users died 2.6 times more often.

The results indicate a need for road safety education to be incorporated into drug treatment services and public health campaigns, researchers concluded.

The study was published in the April issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention.

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