Alberta Sheriffs have a new test to add to their duty belts as the province has a new drug detection test in its arsenal. Thanks to the new Draeger DrugTest 5000, THC and cocaine can now be tracked with quantifiable data easier, if police have suspicion.
Sergeant Matt Firmston, the Specialize Programs Coordinator for the Alberta Sheriff Highway Patrol, describes the test as an improved drug screening test that samples saliva from a driver they suspect may be under the influence of THC or Cocaine.
Police are only approved to use the Draeger test due to legislation for the two drugs, THC and cocaine but they are hoping in the future they will be able to use it for more, Firmston adds.
“It is designed to screen for up to 8 different drugs currently, but there's only the two that are approved in Canada. We expect in the next year methamphetamines will be approved as well when that amendment goes through”.
Before the Draeger test, it wasn’t always easy to determine impairment for drugs.
“A lot of times this will present when someone provides a breath sample and it’s 0, or a fairly low reading, for alcohol but they have all these other physical indicators for impairment”.
Currently, there are 15 tests deployed across the province with 18 members currently trained to use the Draeger tests.
Firmston says this is a pilot program they plan on deploying more devices in the next 6 months and within a year plan on having 65 devices deployed across the province with all members of the Sheriff Highway Patrol trained on how to use them.
Firmston added that the Sheriff Highway Patrol are really excited to be able to crack down on drug impaired drivers as it’s a serious problem on the road.
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