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Risk factors associated with driving under the influence of drugs in the USA
  1. Toni Marie Rudisill,
  2. Gordon S Smith
  1. Epidemiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Toni Marie Rudisill, Epidemiology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA; trudisill{at}


Background Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is a burgeoning public health concern in the USA. Because little is known about individuals who engage in DUID, the purpose of this study was to analyse potential sociodemographic characteristics and behavioural risk factors associated with the behaviour.

Methods Self-reported data from drivers ≥18 years of age who ever used drugs and participated in the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were used. Characteristics of those who reported to engage and not engage in DUID were compared via frequencies, percentages and logistic regression analyses, which accounted for the multistage survey design.

Results Among eligible respondents, 10.4% (weighted n=117 275 154) reported DUID. DUID was higher among those aged 18–25 year (34%), males (65%), unmarried individuals (61%), lesbian/gay/bisexuals (13%), those whom abused or were drug dependent (45%), engaged in numerous risky lifestyle behaviours (12%) and those taking medication for a mental health issue (22%). Nearly 20% and 6% of respondents engaged in DUID abused or were dependent on marijuana or methamphetamine, respectively. The adjusted odds of DUID were greatest among those 18–25 years of age (OR 3.7; 95% CI 2.8 to 5.0), those never/not married (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.5 to 2.2), those who abused or were drug dependent (OR 4.0; 95% CI 3.5 to 4.7), exhibited riskier lifestyle behaviours (OR 8.0; 95% CI 5.9 to 11.0), were employed (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.6) or lesbian/gay/bisexuals (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7).

Conclusions DUID was common among some population sub-groups who may benefit from intervention.

  • drugs
  • cross sectional study
  • risk factor research

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  • Contributors TMR and GSS contributed to the design of the study. TMR obtained the data. TMR and GSS analysed, coded and interpreted the data. All authors had full access to the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. All authors contributed to the manuscript preparation and approved the final version.

  • Funding TMR and GSS received support from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences grant 5U54GM104942-04. GSS also received support from National Institute of Drug Abuse (R21DA040187 and 1UG3DA044825).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.