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UK: Drug-driving detector approved for police use

  1. Basoodler
    A testing kit to detect drugs in drivers has been approved for police use across the UK, the Home Office says.

    The kit will analyse a mouth swab for traces of cannabis. Testing capability for other drugs is being developed.

    It will be used at police stations, and removes the need to have a doctor take a blood sample for drug testing.

    During 2011, at least 640 accidents were caused by drug-drivers using both illegal and medicinal substances.

    The Department of Transport statistics - the most recent available - included 49 deaths.

    Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green said: "Those who take drugs and go out on the roads are a menace to pedestrians, other motorists and themselves."

    The device, made by Hemel Hempstead firm Draeger, was subjected to quality tests by the department's centre for applied science and technology before approval.

    The testing kits are being introduced under a wider crackdown, which will see drug driving become a specific offence.

    Offenders will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000 as well as an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.

    Previously, getting a doctor to the police station and the examination itself both take time - and could mean the drugs have left the suspect's system before the blood sample was taken.

    A positive saliva test with the new equipment means officers will be able to ask for a blood sample without seeking medical approval.

    Evidence to support a prosecution can only come from a blood specimen

Comments

  1. madchicken
    how long saliva will stay positive for that test after smoking cannabis ?
  2. DOG-CHOPPER
    36 hour window orally i have been told by a friend who does laboratory testing.
  3. PillMan
    Does anyone else see an uprise in IV use coming after this? I mean if they are going to swab your mouth people with just start doing it other ways like plugging, IV, IM, snorting...whatever else they can do.

    I really don't see the point in this.
  4. Basoodler
    It takes an hour after smoking to test positive on a swab. Its not the residual smoke in your mouth.. It is metabolized no matter how you take it and ends up in saliva.

    A breathalizer for THC,amphetamines, MDMA and all sorts of shit looks to be in the final stages of development ATM ..so its just a matter of time before that hits the streets and life gets a lot tougher for people who drive intoxicated
  5. Routemaster Flash
    It goes without saying that anything that might discourage people from driving while high or stoned is, as far as it goes, a great thing. However I can easily imagine a case whereby a person who smoked half a spliff 24 hours previously and is completely sober has some sort of accident - whether due to their own bad judgement, weather conditions or even the actions of another driver - tests 'positive' for THC even though they have a pharmacologically insignificant amount in their system and gets a custodial sentence, whereas previously they might just get a fine and some points on their licence for dangerous driving.

    I wonder if any kind of cut-off amount for each drug will be considered, like there is with alcohol, or if they'll just assumed you're 'high' if they can detect any quantity of any drug?

    Edit: oh right, that's a bit more reasonable than the 36hrs mentioned above.
  6. Basoodler
    I found a very informative chart yesterday that breaks down detection times by detection type, consumption and other factors .. When I get to my laptop I need to edit out a URL on it and I will post it.. It cites redwood and all of the big labs.

    Anyway the window for swab is an hour after consumption you will test positive up until 12 hours after consumption when you will test negative. So the window is not quite as big as one may think.
    From said study
  7. kailey_elise
    They're looking into having these swabs in Canada as well; we just had another news article posted recently regarding it: MADD Canada calls for roadside drug testing.

    They've had this available in Australia for 10 years or so, apparently. These swabs seem to be testing for higher levels, & thus more recent use. They seem to work pretty well.

    The "roadside swabs" are different from the oral swabs/saliva testing we already have available in the USA as a urine-based drug screen alternative. I get oral swab-based testing at the methadone clinic, and they have to send the swabs to a lab for analysis. The roadside swabs remind me of pregnancy tests, only using saliva instead of urine. *lol* They give you results quickly.

    If they can get the testing threshold correct so that it really only catches usage recent enough to affect your motor skills & judgment at the time of testing, I'm *ALL* for it. :D

    ~Kailey
  8. mashed
    im actually glad theyve done this.
    i know to many people who drive out of there minds on cannabis.
    i think if we want to use drugs we have no right to risk other peoples lives
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