State report shows a 25% increase in fatal crashes last year


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IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State Police Forensic Services (ISPFS) has released their annual Toxicology Trends Report.

This report contains statistics related to drug and alcohol impaired driving in Idaho.

Some key points from the 2017 report include:

– The ISPFS laboratory system, with locations in Meridian, Pocatello and Coeur d’Alene, received 2,809 toxicology cases in FY2017. That’s 31 more cases than in FY2016 and 197 more than in FY2015.

– Over 66% of the blood and urine toxicology cases submitted for FY2017 were DUI cases.

– Of the 881 adult DUI toxicology cases tested in FY2017, 81% of them tested positive for one or more drugs, either legal or illegal. The urine toxicology adult DUI results are noteworthy as only 6.8% of the cases had no drugs reported.

– There was a large increase in the number of automobile crash fatality cases in FY2017 when comparing it to previous years. The average number of cases submitted for the previous 10 years was 70 cases per year. The number of adult auto accident fatality cases submitted this year was 87, an increase of approximately 25%.

– In past years, it has been common in Idaho for the most common single drugs present in both adult urine and blood matrices to be a central nervous system stimulant (CNS-S) (e.g methamphetamine, amphetamine, and MDMA or ecstasy), followed by carboxy-THC (a marijuana breakdown product), and then a central nervous system depressant (CNS-D) (alprazolam – e.g Xanax, diazepam – e.g. Valium, and clonazepam – e.g. Klonopin are the most common). However, this year that prevalence in urine has changed. The prevalence of THC, CNS-S, and CNS-D in urine is now almost identical. The prevalence of THC or carboxy-THC in blood has shifted from a close second, to a distant third. The prevalence of CNS-S and CNS-D drugs confirmed in blood is almost identical for FY2017.

– In terms of drug combinations, the combination of CNS-S combined with carboxy-THC is by far the most prevalent combination detected in urine. In blood, the most prevalent drug combination is CNS-S and carboxy-THC.

– Overall, 72% of juvenile urine and 60% of the juvenile blood samples that contained drugs contained THC/carboxy-THC, either alone or in combination with other drugs.

– Huge strides were made in the ISPFS blood toxicology section in FY2017 as new methods were validated and four analysts were approved to do blood toxicology casework. Blood toxicology turnaround time decreased and it is expected to decrease in FY2018, assuming new instrumentation before the legislature this year is approved. New instruments have been requested to keep up with the demands of Idaho population growth and law enforcement activities.