Usefulness of hair analysis and psychological tests for identification of alcohol and drugs of abuse consumption in driving license regranting.
Lendoiro, Elena; Castro, Ana de; Jiménez-Morigosa, Cristian; Gomez-Fraguela, Xosé A.; López-Rivadulla, Manuel; Cruz, Angelines
Ana de Castro
Xosé A. Gomez-Fraguela
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.
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Publication Date||May 31, 2018|
|Journal||Forensic science international|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|
|Institution Citation||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: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.03.023|
|Keywords||EtG; Drugs of abuse; Hair; AUDIT test; DAST10 test; Driving license regranting|
LENDOIRO 2018 Usefulness of hair analysis