Roadside Drug Testing for Cannabis and Cocaine

By Cori Petersen

Soon in the UK there will be a new roadside tests for substances other than alcohol. The Home Office Ministry has approved a saliva test for Cocaine and Cannabis. These substances are sited as the most used by impaired drivers, again other than alcohol.

The police minister, Mike Penning is enthusiastic to roll out the Secturtec DrupWipe 3S device.

“This device is a big step towards bringing more drug driving criminals to justice. ”
“Drug drivers are a deadly menace and must be stopped,” said Mr Penning.

This March a new drug driving offense will start enforcement and bring a penalty of six months maximum imprisonment with 12 months drivers license disqualification and a maximum fine of £5,000.

One cannot help but wonder if the true problem being addressed here is road safety… or empty government coffers.

This legislation puts very low tolerances for eight illegal drugs – cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide, methylamphetamine and MDMA.

While the manufacturers of the DrugWipe 3S do have another device that will test many of these other substances covered, it has not been granted approval from the Home Office Ministry.

There may be an argument over medicinal use of the majority of these drugs, even though there are plenty, the medicinal use of Cannabis is hard to deny these days. This test has scary implications for patients battling fatal illnesses like cancer to debilitating ones like depression. Will responsible use, or tolerance of individual to said substance, be taken into consideration?

Today the procedure consists of an officer administering a roadside “field impairment test.” Coordination and mental acuity is tested. If failed, the individual is taken to the police station where physical sample tests are taken.

As new technology has come into play, the administering of breathalyser tests took over as the main way to test for impairment, as it is far more accurate. The Home Office Ministry in the UK is hoping that the DrugWipe 3S has the same kind of integrity for Cannabis and Cocaine. Statisticians believe this will now give distinction to impairment of drivers in the future… but whether the device will take the increased tolerance of medicinal users into account is still an open question.

Medical and recreational users alike wonder if a test like this will give any clarity to impairment vs. tolerance.