A qualitative investigation of drug use among Pakistani road users

Kayani, Ahsan Ul Haq, King, Mark J., & Fleiter, Judy (2013) A qualitative investigation of drug use among Pakistani road users. In 20th International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


Background Statistics on drug use by Pakistani drivers are not available, yet considerable numbers of drivers are believed to be drug addicted. The National Drug Abuse Assessment 2006/07, conducted by the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime and the Ministry of Narcotics Control Pakistan reported that opiate users numbered 628,000, of which 77%were chronic heroin abusers. Injecting drug users have reportedly doubled in the decade to 2006 and drug use has been linked with many major crashes involving professional drivers.

Aims This study explored a broad range of risk taking behaviours of road users, including drug use. It also investigated associations between risky road use and fatalism and other cultural beliefs.

Methods This paper reports findings relating to drug driving in the cities of Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted with bus, truck, and taxi drivers, policy makers and field police officers.

Results Interviews suggested widespread use of illicit drugs, particularly among bus, truck and taxi drivers. Reasons for drug use included recreational purposes, stimulants during long driving episodes, and substance addiction. Furthermore, the use of drugs and any association with road crashes was generally viewed as linked to fatalism rather than to any fault of an individual. In other words, people did not believe there was an association between drug use and road crashes, even if they had personally experienced such. Police knowledge of drug use among drivers was evident, although there is no formal drug driving testing regime in Pakistan.

Discussion and conclusions The substantial increase in drug use among the population in recent years highlights a significant public health challenge in Pakistan. This qualitative research, although recognized as not representative of the broader population, suggests that there is significant cause for concern about drug driving, especially among professional drivers, and a need for further investigation and intervention.

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ID Code: 65300
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: drug-driving, Pakistan, commercial drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 14 Jan 2014 02:38
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2014 12:43

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