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Driving under the influence of chlormethiazole
Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Linköping University, Department of Biomedicine and Surgery, Division of clinical chemistry.
2005 (English)In: Forensic Science International, ISSN 0379-0738, E-ISSN 1872-6283, Vol. 153, no 2-3, 213-217 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article describes a case of driving under the influence of the sedative-hypnotic-anticonvulsant drug chlormethiazole. The suspect, who was a physician, was driving dangerously on a busy highway and caused a traffic collision. When apprehended by the police, the man had bloodshot and glazed eyes and pupil size was enlarged. He could not answer the questions properly and his gait was unsteady. A roadside breath-alcohol screening test was positive but an evidential breath-alcohol test conducted about one hour later was below the legal limit for driving of 0.10 mg/L (10 μg/100 mL or 0.021 g/210 L). Because of the special circumstances of the traffic crash and the man's appearance and behaviour, the police suspected that drugs other than alcohol were involved and obtained a venous blood sample for toxicological analysis. The blood contained 0.23 mg/g alcohol, which is above the legal limit for driving in Sweden 0.20 mg/g (20 mg/100 mL or 0.020 g/100 mL), and codeine was also present at a therapeutic concentration of 0.02 mg/L. The conflict between the clinical signs of impairment and the toxicology report prompted a reanalysis of the blood sample with major focus on sedative-hypnotic drugs. Analysis by capillary GC-NPD identified chlormethiazole at a concentration of 5 mg/L, the highest so far encountered in traffic cases in Sweden. In 13 other impaired driving cases over 10 years the mean (median) and range of concentrations of chlormethiazole were 1.6 mg/L (1.6 mg/L) and 0.3-3.3 mg/L. This case report underscores the need to consider clinical observations and the person's behaviour in relation to the toxicology report when interpreting and testifying in drug-impaired driving cases. © 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 153, no 2-3, 213-217 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-30237DOI: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2005.05.011Local ID: 15742OAI: diva2:251059
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-03-21

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Jones, A Wayne
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