Benzodiazepines in Miami-Dade County, Florida driving under the influence (DUI) cases (1995-1998) with emphasis on Rohypnol®: GC-MS confirmation, patterns of use, psychomotor impairment, and results of Florida legislation

Lionel P. Raymon, Bernard W Steele, H. Chip Walls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressant drugs often detected in biological samples from driving under the influence (DUI) offenders. They are associated with marked psychomotor impairment and represent up to 20% of all Miami-Dade County, Florida DUI urine samples analyzed in our laboratory annually. Flunitrazepam emerged in the mid-1990s as an illegal drug in the U.S. that was predominantly abused recreationally and associated with sexual assaults. Immunoassays for benzodiazepines do not discriminate between different benzodiazepines, and certain metabolites, such as 7-aminoflunitrazepam, react poorly with immunoassay reagents. A simple and sensitive method for the detection and quantitation of major benzodiazepines and metabolites by gas chromatography with mass selective detection is presented. This method was used to confirm benzodiazepines in general and flunitrazepam in particular. Data collected over a three-and-a-half-year period are summarized. Whereas flunitrazepam was present in up to 10% of DUI cases in 1995 and 1996 and had fast become the most frequently encountered benzodiazepine in Miami-Dade County DUI-related urine samples, a dramatic drop in case numbers followed the legal reclassification of the drug as a Schedule I substance in Florida in February 1997. Flunitrazepam was often used alone or in combination with cannabis and cocaine. A recent rise in clonazepam cases coincides with the decrease in flunitrazepam confirmation and may indicate a new trend in the abuse of benzodiazepines in South Florida.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-499
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Analytical Toxicology
Volume23
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 19 1999

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Psychomotor Disorders
Flunitrazepam
Metabolites
Benzodiazepines
Legislation
legislation
drug
immunoassay
urine
metabolite
Neurology
Gas chromatography
nervous system
Immunoassay
gas chromatography
Urine
Central Nervous System Depressants
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Central Nervous System Agents
Clonazepam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

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title = "Benzodiazepines in Miami-Dade County, Florida driving under the influence (DUI) cases (1995-1998) with emphasis on Rohypnol{\circledR}: GC-MS confirmation, patterns of use, psychomotor impairment, and results of Florida legislation",
abstract = "Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressant drugs often detected in biological samples from driving under the influence (DUI) offenders. They are associated with marked psychomotor impairment and represent up to 20{\%} of all Miami-Dade County, Florida DUI urine samples analyzed in our laboratory annually. Flunitrazepam emerged in the mid-1990s as an illegal drug in the U.S. that was predominantly abused recreationally and associated with sexual assaults. Immunoassays for benzodiazepines do not discriminate between different benzodiazepines, and certain metabolites, such as 7-aminoflunitrazepam, react poorly with immunoassay reagents. A simple and sensitive method for the detection and quantitation of major benzodiazepines and metabolites by gas chromatography with mass selective detection is presented. This method was used to confirm benzodiazepines in general and flunitrazepam in particular. Data collected over a three-and-a-half-year period are summarized. Whereas flunitrazepam was present in up to 10{\%} of DUI cases in 1995 and 1996 and had fast become the most frequently encountered benzodiazepine in Miami-Dade County DUI-related urine samples, a dramatic drop in case numbers followed the legal reclassification of the drug as a Schedule I substance in Florida in February 1997. Flunitrazepam was often used alone or in combination with cannabis and cocaine. A recent rise in clonazepam cases coincides with the decrease in flunitrazepam confirmation and may indicate a new trend in the abuse of benzodiazepines in South Florida.",
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