The free ride for drug drivers could soon be over after a portable handheld ‘drugalyser’ was revealed by police. The device, which can detect Class A substances such as heroin and cocaine from a saliva sample in 90 seconds, can pick out much smaller levels in the body than previous methods.
Police officers will be able to test drivers they suspect of motoring under the influence of drugs by the roadside when the drugalyser is introduced on 2011. Previously, officers had to wait to receive permission from a doctor to take a blood test from the suspect if they wanted to use it as evidence in court.
A survey last year revealed that a massive nine out of ten drivers support police taking a tougher stance on drug driving. The results of this survey prompted the government in August to announce plans to install a drug detecting device at every police station within the next two years.
A huge ten percent of drivers aged between 18 and 29 admitted taking to the road after consuming illegal drugs in a government sponsored study last year.
Chairman and chief executive of Concateno – which made the device – Peter Welch, said the most important impact the drugalyser will have is to speed up the testing process when someone is suspected on drug driving. He added that it would hold great benefits for both the police and the healthcare system.
It is expected that the drugalyser could also be used in hospitals to detect if patients have substance abuse problems.