142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Drugged Driving: Examining the use of prescription medication among DUI offenders

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Courtney Sparks, M.S. , Social Science Research Center (SSRC), Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Angela Robertson, Ph.D. , Social Science Research Center (SSRC), Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Driving under the influence of drugs poses a significant public safety threat. While existing research has traditionally focused on the consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs, less attention has been given to licit substances (e.g., prescription medication) and impaired driving. The current study aimed to identify prescription medication usage among convicted DUI offenders on the day of their arrest.

Data was collected from 7,422 individuals enrolled in the court-mandated Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program.  Participants were assessed during the first session of the four-session program and completed measures that assessed use of alcohol and other drug use.

Results indicated 15.6% of the sample reported using medications for the treatment of anxiety, depression and sleep problems (e.g., SSRIs, benzodiazepines, sedative hypnotics) on the day of their arrest. Of those participants, 68.7% reported using alcohol in combination with these medications.  In addition, 10.7% of the total sample reported using prescription opioids and other narcotic analgesic medication on the day of their arrest.  Of those participants, 61.8% reported using alcohol in combination with the pain medication.  Additionally, participants who reported combining prescription medications with alcohol were more likely to be female, Caucasian, and unemployed. These results highlight the importance of developing public awareness campaigns and other strategies to reduce impaired driving due to prescription medication use and combining medications with alcohol.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the need for screening procedures that identify the presence of licit and illicit drug use among traffic offenders. Discuss possible routes of dissemination of the findings to the public that would emphasize the importance of understanding the dangers of driving while under the influence of any medication that might impair driving.

Keyword(s): Drug Abuse Prevention and Safety, Motor Vehicles

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I work under the supervision of Dr. Angela Robertson, the coordinator of research and development for the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program (MASEP), a statewide evidenced-based intervention program for convicted first-time DUI offenders.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.