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‘It’s a different cohort’: Making sense of Victoria’s new drug-driver

Illicit substances are now the biggest killer on Victorian roads, but drivers aren’t swapping grog for drugs.

This is a whole new problem.

As uncovered on 3AW Breakfast yesterday, stimulants have overtaken alcohol as a factor in fatal crashes for the first time in Victoria.

2018 ROAD TOLL STATS

  • Fatal crashed where alcohol was a factor: 14.3%
  • Fatal crashed where stimulants were a factor: 19%

But experts say it’s not a simple case of drivers switching alcohol for drugs.

Dr Dimitri Gerostamoulos, chief toxicologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, said we’re dealing with “a different cohort of drivers”.

“I think they’re two different types of populations of users,” he said.

“The main problem drug for drivers in Victoria — and this is probably true across the country — is the use of stimulants.

“One good-news story is we’ve had a reduction in the number of drivers who are killed on our roads who have alcohol in their system, and that number has almost halved in the 10 years.

“But what we do know is there’s been a steady but slow increase in the prevalence in stimulants, particularly methylamphetamine, in drivers on roads both injured and killed.”

Click PLAY to hear Ross and John’s full chat with Dr Dimitri Gerostamoulos, chief Toxicologist and head of Forensic Scientific Services at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine

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