Alarming Rate of Substance Use in Motor Vehicle Collisions at an Appalachian Trauma Center

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Prescription drug use is a growing public health concern and studies show it is a contributing risk to motor vehicle collisions. The Appalachian region is also known to have an ever-increasing number of patients on controlled substances. This retrospective study of patients from the years 2011-2015 on controlled substances presenting to an Appalachian Level 1 trauma center after a motor vehicle or motorcycle collision was analyzed in order to determine the rate of opioid use among victims of motor vehicle collisions in the system, as well as evaluate for any differences in resource utilization between these patients and patients not using controlled substances. A total of 2,570 patients were included in the study. Seven-hundred sixty-eight (29.9%) individuals were found to be on a controlled substance. There was a similar mortality rate in both groups (2.8% vs 3.6%). There was no significant difference in hospital length of stay (LOS), intensive care unit (ICU) LOS, ventilator days, or injury severity score. Statistically significant findings include the type of crash (motor vehicle crash vs motorcycle crash) (p=0.003) and position in the vehicle (driver vs passenger) (p<0.001). Motor vehicle crashes and driver position were significantly associated with the presence of a controlled substance.