Drug Use Trends in Aviation: Assessing the Risk of Pilot Impairment


This safety study examined trends in the prevalence of over-the-counter, prescription, and illicit drugs identified by toxicology testing of fatally injured pilots between 1990 and 2012.
Safety issue areas identified during the study include (1) enhancing the precautionary information about potentially impairing drugs and conditions provided to pilots; (2) improving information about active pilots without medical certificates; (3) enhancing communication among prescribers, pharmacists, and patients about the transportation safety risks associated with some drugs and medical conditions; (4) developing and publicizing additional Federal Aviation Administration policy regarding marijuana use; and (5) researching the relationship between drug use and accident risk.
As a result of this safety study, the National Transportation Safety Board makes recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration and the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.