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Motorist drug testing moves a step closer

16 February 2011

Home Office Minister James Brokenshire has announced the specification for a new police station-based drug screening device.

Manufacturers of these 'drugalyzers'  will now be asked to indicate whether they are interested in building a screening device that meets such a specification. Testing of the devices will begin in February.

Once approved, officers will be able to use it to test if a person has specific levels of a drug in their system and then take a blood sample if the device gives a positive reading.

This will enable suspects to be dealt with quicker, cutting bureaucracy and allowing officers to get back to frontline duties. Currently, a medical examiner must be called out to assess if suspects are impaired because of drugs and authorise a blood sample.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said, “We are a step closer to making sure that the police have the equipment they need to tackle this selfish minority more effectively and make the roads safer for everyone.”

The potential device will test for a range of drugs including cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines, methylamphetamine, methadone and opiates.

Meanwhile, the government is to continue working with manufacturers to investigate the feasibility of introducing portable drug screening devices which could be used to test drivers for drugs at the roadside.

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