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Kava drink-driving: driver safety and injury minimisation to improve health

30 months
Approved budget:
Dr Apo Aporosa
Health issue:
Injury (intentional and unintentional)
Proposal type:
Pacific Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lay summary
Kava is a traditional Pacific Island drink with great cultural significance that produces soporific relaxant affects similar to sedative drugs. There are increasing concerns over the use of sedative drugs (including kava) and their impacts on driver ability and road safety. It is estimated there are more than 20,000 kava users on an average Friday or Saturday night in NZ. Most of these are consuming kava at volumes 32 times greater than pharmacologically recommended doses with many then driving home. Injury resulting from road traffic accidents is the leading cause of hospitalisation for Pasifika men and women living in NZ with anecdotal reports suggesting that kava contribute’s to this. This first of its kind study will use cognitive and driving simulation tests to access driver fitness immediately following high kava use to understanding impairment effect and driver safety to improve health outcomes for Pasifika peoples and other road users,