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  1. Phungushead
    When on drugs, ‘the eyes tell all’

    Police officers learn to spot signs of alcohol and drug abuse.

    View attachment 14491 (Photo caption) Glendale Police officer Joe Allen holds a pupilometer next to officer Craig Tweedy during seminar on how to determine whether someone is under the influence of drugs, at the police station in Glendale on Wednesday. (Raul Roa/News-Press)

    Glendale Police Officer Craig Tweedy flashed a pen-sized light into the eyes of fellow officers, testing several techniques Wednesday used to determine whether they were under the influence of drugs.

    The officers passed the physical exams with flying colors while also getting a lesson on properly administering the seven-step drug abuse recognition process.

    The officers check the way a person’s eyes move vertically and horizontally, and if their eyes can converge to the center with ease. They check a person’s pulse, pupil size and reaction to light, and have them perform the Romberg Stand, which examines a person’s internal clock.

    “The eyes tell all,” said Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz, who trained the officers.

    After learning the new techniques, he told the officers that their awareness of possible drug users would increase.

    “You are going to make more eye contact,” Lorenz said.

    The seven-step process checks for use of stimulants, hallucinogens, opiates, marijuana, alcohol, depressants, inhalants and dissociative anesthetics, such as PCP.

    Wednesday’s training kicked off a three-day seminar aimed at training officers on recognizing drug abuse and evaluating drunk drivers.

    Glendale Police Department established its Drug Abuse Recognition program in 1988.

    Because California is one of six U.S. states that has a penal code for being under the influence of a controlled substance, Lorenz said it is critical that officers be trained on the issue.

    Having an increased knowledge of drugs and their effect on people will allow officers to better enforce laws, he said.

    The program has been used to train officers from other police departments, including Burbank, Pasadena and Santa Monica.

    The seminar culminates with the officers taking a final exam, which they must score higher than 80% on to become certified.

    Don MacNeil, a retired Glendale police lieutenant and narcotics expert, explained to the officers how the body reacts to drugs.

    Oxycontin, a painkiller, can reach the brain the fastest, giving the user an instant high, he said.

    Smoking a drug is the fastest way to get high, he said. The second quickest way is injecting the drug.

    “Most drugs of abuse are used by smoking,” MacNeil said.

    Heroin is the most used drug in Los Angeles County, Lorenz told officers. Certain prescription pills that are opiates are also gaining popularity among drug users.

    A bottle of certain prescription pills, he said, “might as well be 40 bags or balloons of heroin.”

    Published: Last Updated Wednesday, April 28, 2010 10:56 PM PDT

    By Veronica Rocha


  1. Arkero
    They are learning about Quaaludes!? Thought they haven't been made in decades.
  2. bcubed
    I have noticed a large amount of variability in pupil sizes.

    Lizard, he's perpetually "pinned" except after he's taken DXM or dopesick. (And he's always been this way, even before he knew what opiates were.) If room light reveals more than pinpricks, he knows something's up.

    OTOH, he's seen other, sober types that look like they are perpetually tripping.

    Seems to me this is just an excuse for "probable cause": if one has naturally constricted pupils, stop them for suspected opiate use; if one has naturally dilated pupils, stop them for suspected hallucinogen use.
  3. dyingtomorrow
    This article makes me sick. The scale and chart are just ridiculous, and not fit for making any kind of legal judgment about whether people are high. Most people would fail it whether they are on drugs or not. Or to put it another way, anyone who the police wanted to fail it would fail it. Like bcubed said, it is basically giving the police carte blanche to harass anyone they want, violate their rights, and then claim after the fact that their "pupil chart" made them suspicious. I also can't believe that 6 states actually have a law that makes it illegal just to be on a controlled substance. It is probably only 6 because it is so blatantly on the edge of violating civil rights that the rest didn't think such a law could even be upheld.
  4. snapper
    SWIM got pulled over and evaluated this way. SWIM couldn't figure out what the PO was doing but went with it and apparently passed since SWIM was allowed to drive home. It was a tense moment though, particularly since SWIM was expecting the usual sobriety test and instead had to follow the officer's finger and have a bright flashlight directed into SWIM's eyes. SWIM was relieved that the car was not searched...
  5. Snouter Fancier
    This stuff is over-simplified in some ways, and too detailed in others. Not all narcotics cause pupillary constriction. Meperidine/Demerol and propoxyphene/Darvon/Darvocet don't at normal doses, for example. Pupillary size changes also only seem to happen with young people. My middle-aged rhinograde gets no dilation with CNS stimulants and no constriction with narcotics.

    And are cops really going to be measuring body temperature? Or heart rate? Or blood pressure? And unless you know what an individual's blood pressure is normally, how do you know whether it's elevated or decreased? Hell, my BP is going to be elevated just on account of being stopped by the cops, having a flashlight in my face, and being accused of drug use. No, officer, I'm not on CNS stimulants, I just don't LIKE you!

    I think they're trying to glean too much information from too little data. They should have stuck with a few useful tips, like PCP causing vertical nystagmus.
  6. John Doe
    Wow is about all I can muster about this. This goes on the pretence that every individual has a similar sized pupil during all non-drug induced states of mind? I do believe there are many states of mind which will change the size of the pupils without any kind of drug in their system. Would I be incorrect in assuming everyones pupils cannot possibly be the same size or in the same ratio to the rest of the eye?

  7. snapper
    Well SWIM mighta taken something to stay awake for the long drive that normally dilates SWIM's pupils but their little test didn't pick it up. SWIM thinks the cop in the article's pupils appear dilated. Must work in the evidence storage section.
  8. Dookie
    Wow. Good to see a copy of this.

    As mentioned above, everyone has differing pupil size. I suspect that exposing the eye the bright light then darkness would reveal a suitable difference in anyone not under influence.

    Theres more effective methods of identifying UI. Several years ago a litmus type paper was developed and they claimed all common narcotics could be detected at roadside by asking the suspect to lick the test paper. Not heard much since tho.

    For the UK I dont think this anything to be concerned about.
    My understanding is that PC Plod will arrest anyone demonstrating UI behaviour. My point is this can be done without any sizing charts.
    I belive the crunch time is down police station, a DR is called for an opinion. If DR agrees that suspect is demonstrating signs of UI then they are allowed to take a blood sample for lab analysis.

    I dont see how an eye chart assists. SWIM is stoned, my red eyes are due to pollen/xyz allergy .. or I've split from girl and I been crying ( SWIM done it.. Police think anyone prepared to admit to crying must be telling truth ).
    Your pupils are size of pin heads .. "umm yeah.. I have a retinal disorder and suffer in bright light".. blah blah blah ..
    Your pupils are enormous... hmm yeah.. I damaged my eyes with a cutter torch years ago, been like it ever since.

    Only blood tests or demonstrating lack of motor control when driving will stick.. I dont even see an eye test as admissable evidence. 1st question a lawyer will ask PC Plod is "Have you trained and qualified as a physician ?? No ? Inexperienced officer made mistake".

    I would guess these are helper charts to assist in identifying what substances have been taken and the Police have used the opportunity to
    to release propoganda.
  9. snapper
    It also gives them probable cause to search and test, at least in the US. Both are at the PO's discretion. However, due to the paperwork and hassle involved, they usually home in on those who are more obviously altered.
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