Volume 36, Issue 4 (July 1991)
Toxicological Findings in Federal Aviation Administration General Aviation Accidents
Blood, urine, and tissue specimens were received from 377 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation fatalities during fiscal year 1989. Carbon monoxide at less than 10% saturation was found in 94% of the cases, and cyanide at less than 0.5 mg/L was found in 96% of the cases. Ethanol at greater than 10 mg/dL was found in 14.8% of the cases, but only 4.5% were determined to be due to ethanol ingestion from toxicological findings. Excluding nicotine and ethanol, 12.6% of the cases were positive for one or more drugs. Acetaminophen and salicylate were the most frequently found drugs. Cannabinoids were found in 1.3% of the cases and benzoylecgonine in 1.6%. There was minimal use of therapeutic drugs that cause central nervous system depression or stimulation. These results show no consistent pattern of drug involvement in civilian aviation fatalities.