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Study Probes Why Truckers Use Booze, Illicit Drugs

Use of psychoactive substances associated with poor working conditions

TUESDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, amphetamines, and marijuana, appears common in truck drivers, particularly when working conditions are poor, according to research published online Oct. 21 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Edmarlon Girotto, of the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the literature to summarize the evidence for use of psychoactive substances in truck drivers and to identify the factors associated with this behavior.

The researchers found substantial variation in the prevalence of use of alcohol (0.1 to 91.0 percent), amphetamines (0.2 to 82.5 percent), marijuana (0.2 to 29.9 percent), and cocaine (0.1 to 8.3 percent) in truck drivers. Factors associated with use of psychoactive substances included younger age, higher income, longer trips, alcohol consumption, driving during night shifts, traveling interstate routes, long or short sleep periods, fewer hours of rest, less driving experience, employment by small or medium-sized companies, incomes lower than those dictated by labor agreements, productivity-based earnings, and history of involvement in accidents.

"The results of this review are a cause for concern, not only for truck drivers using psychoactive substances, but also for the general public," writes the author of an accompanying editorial.

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