Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Jan 28;19(3):1501. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19031501.
INTRODUCTION: Since 2008, Italian legislators, with the aim of ensuring public safety, have made it mandatory for an occupational doctor (OD) to assess specific categories of workers to exclude those who may have consumed drugs of abuse. Due to the relevance of work activities relating to the civil aviation and airport sector, a policy based on the use of training and information tools, as well as a health surveillance protocol, has been undertaken since 2009.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 61,008 workers at a commercial airline underwent health surveillance between 2009 and 2019. Following ≤24 h notification, their urine was screened for opiates, cocaine, cannabinoids, amphetamines, methamphetamines, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) using an immunochemical test. Positive results were confirmed using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) or Liquid Chromatography -Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS). In confirmed cases, the workers were declared unfit and sent to a specialized laboratory for a second level analysis.
RESULTS: Positive results, initially >1%, have halved in the last four years (<0.5%). The percentage of positive results was consistently very low among pilots and, moreover, the rare positive cases detected were due to a cross-reactivity phenomena. The highest and most discontinuous percentages seen occurred in the population undergoing a pre-employment examination. Regarding the types of substance used, a prevalence of cannabis (58.52%) and cocaine (35.2%) use was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: The data presented indicate that the air transport sector, in all its components (ground workers and air crews), has a very limited number of substance abusers, and this number tends to decrease over time and with work seniority. Another aspect of particular interest, and which is more specific to toxicology, concerns the detection of cross-reactivity in urinary immunochemical screening between the antibodies to drugs of abuse and certain other drugs, such as anti-inflammatories or antibiotics; as well as foods, and other commonly used substances.
Source: ncbi 2