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Usefulness of hair analysis and psychological tests for identification of alcohol and drugs of abuse consumption in driving license regranting.

Lendoiro, Elena; de Castro, Ana; Jim�nez-Morigosa, Cristian; Gomez-Fraguela, Xos� A.; L�pez-Rivadulla, Manuel; Cruz, Angelines


Elena Lendoiro

Ana de Castro

Cristian Jim�nez-Morigosa

Xos� A. Gomez-Fraguela

Manuel L�pez-Rivadulla

Angelines Cruz


Implementation of the points-based driving license has helped to change driver behavior, and can be linked to to a reduction of traffic accidents and fatalities. In Spain, a driving licence is revoked when all points are lost, and the driver must enroll on a Driver Awareness and Re-education (DARE) course. However, offenders are currently not subjected to any tests that would confirm the absence of alcohol or other substances, despite the fact that 9% of Spanish drivers lose their driving license as a result of driving under influence (DUI). This pilot study aimed to compare the usefulness of psychological tests and hair analysis, as methods for identifying which DARE-course attendees had a longterm history of alcohol or drug abuse. Volunteers were submitted to the AUDIT and DAST-10 tests. Hair samples were also collected and analyzed, checking for ethylglucuronide (EtG) (LOQ 5 pg/mg), and thirty-five licit and illicit drugs (LOQ 5-50 pg/mg) by LC-MS/MS. Sixty-one participants - with a mean age of 37.2 (plus or minus 11.6 years) and mainly men (90.2%) - were recruited. All participants undertook both AUDIT and DAST-10 tests. All hair samples were analyzed for EtG and 17 samples were analyzed for licit and illicit drugs. The mean AUDIT score was 9.6 (SD = 7.5), showing a value < 8 (an indicator of hazardous and harmful alcohol use) in 52.4% of cases. The mean DAST-10 score was 2.9 (SD = 3.3), but a score greater than or equal to 6 (an indicator of drug abuse or dependence) was detected in 21.3% of cases. Of the hair samples, twenty-two were positive for EtG, eight were positive for illicit drugs (8 cocaine, 2 opioids, 1 amphetamines, 1 cannabis) and three were positive for medicines. EtG concentration (20.7-1254.1 pg/mg) was higher than the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) cut-off for chronic alcohol consumption ( > 30 pg/mg) in twenty-one cases. All positive cases for methadone and cannabis - and half of the positive cases for opioids and cocaine - presented higher concentrations than SoHT cut-offs for chronic consumption. Higher AUDIT score and higher EtG concentration in hair were statistically associated with declaration of alcohol consumption > 4 times/month and with historical fines for DUI of alcohol. In addition, AUDIT scores and EtG concentration in hair had a moderate but significant Spearman correlation (r = 0.331, p < 0.05). The combination of psychological tests and hair analysis seems to be a promising way to identify individuals with alcohol or drug abuse problems. Moreover, applying these methods as part of the process of re-acquiring driving licences could increase the effectiveness of DARE courses, reduce recidivism and improve road safety.


LENDOIRO, E., DE CASTRO, A., JIMENEZ-MORIGOSA, C., GOMEZ-FRAGUELA, X.A., LOPEZ-RIVADULLA, M. and CRUZ, A. 2018. Usefulness of hair analysis and psychological tests for identification of alcohol and drugs of abuse consumption in driving license regranting. Forensic science international [online], 286, pages 239-244. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2018
Online Publication Date Mar 20, 2018
Publication Date May 31, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2019
Journal Forensic Science International
Print ISSN 0379-0738
Electronic ISSN 1872-6283
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 286
Pages 239-244
Keywords EtG; Drugs of abuse; Hair; AUDIT test; DAST10 test; Driving license regranting
Public URL


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