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Danger on the roads

Léo Ramos

Study shows that cocaine is the drug most used by Brazilian driversLéo Ramos

A study carried out on Brazilian federal highways showed that 10% of 2,235 drivers whose saliva was tested had consumed some type of psychoactive drug, either prescribed or illegal.  Conducted by researchers from the University of Brasília (UnB) and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) in collaboration with the Federal Highway Police, the study validated an analytical method that in a single test combines 32 chemical compounds related to several types of substances.  Alone or mixed with other drugs, cocaine was the substance found to be most present in the saliva of 129 motorists (5.8%).  Next came amphetamines in 69 samples, 31 of which are related to appetite suppressants such as fenproporex and diethylpropion, banned in Brazil in 2011.  Of all drivers, 22 had taken more than two types of drugs, like cocaine and marijuana or cocaine and benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) for example.  Conducted between 2008 and 2009, the study collected samples from drivers of cars (50.5%), motorcycles (29.6%), buses (10.8%) and trucks (9.1%).  Led by Professor Eloisa Dutra Caldas at the School of Sciences and Health of UnB, the study was published in the September 24, 2012 online issue of the journal Forensic Science International.