By: Gina-Marie Miraglia, Preventionsit I
There are a lot of challenges for law enforcement officers to be able to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Unlike a breathalyzer, used to determine a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC), it is much more complex to detect marijuana in a driver's blood stream.
Testing THC impairment, the psychoactive drug in marijuana, can be difficult because it can linger in the bloodstream several days after use. On the other hand for others "70% of the THC in the bloodstream can vanish within an hour." Then, testing the blood can take up to several hours. Thus, making THC blood tests not super reliable. Therefore, officers commonly combine a blood test with a cognitive test to observe other physical signs of marijuana-related impairment. This is implemented by an officer who is certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).
With ongoing research, a new tool was invented to more effectively help law enforcement officer's determine if someone if driving under the influence of marijuana. This new tool is called the Dräger DrugTest 5000 and it uses mouth swabs to determine if a driver is under the influence.
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is now being utilized in Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, along with parts of Arizona and Nevada. This new test can also detect the presence of other drugs such as cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone, and benzodiazepines in the blood stream.
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