Background: Drug-impaired driving has received increased attention resulting from development of rapid drug-screening procedures used by police and state laws establishing per se limits for drug levels in drivers. Venues that host electronic music dance events (EMDEs) provide a unique opportunity to assess drug-impaired driving among a high proportion of young adult drug users. EMDEs are late-night dance parties marked by a substantial number of young adult attendees and elevated drug involvement. No studies to date have examined drug-impaired driving in a natural environment with active drug and alcohol users.
Methods: Six EMDEs were sampled in San Diego, California, and Baltimore, Maryland. A random sample of approximately 40 attendees per event were administered surveys about alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and driving status, given breath tests for alcohol, and asked to provide oral fluid samples to test for illicit drug use upon entering and exiting the events.
Results: Driving status reduced the level of alcohol use (including abstaining) but the impact on drug-taking was not significant. However, 62% of individuals who reported their intention to drive away from the events were positive for drugs or alcohol upon leaving. This suggests that these events and settings are appropriate ones for developing interventions for reducing risks for young adults.