Nova Scotia RCMP to adopt new screening device for drug-impaired drivers

RCMP officers across the country have a new device to help them catch drug-impaired drivers, and Nova Scotia’s detachment took it for a spin on Monday.

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is the first machine approved by the federal government for roadside drug testing. It’s a drug screening system that uses saliva to test for seven types of drugs, including cannabis and cocaine.

“It’s equipment that is used to measure oral fluid in drivers suspected in having drugs in their body, and it will tell us a positive or a negative reading as to whether or not they have cocaine or THC in their body,” said Const. Chad Morrison of the Halifax District RCMP on Monday.

The device was first approved for use in Canada in August, but with more RCMP officers being trained on how to administer the test, be prepared to see it become a regular tool in the force’s arsenal to stop impaired drivers.

Police have already made an arrest because of the dräger. A motorist tested positive for the active ingredient in marijuana during a traffic stop on the first day the machine was used in Nova Scotia.

“If somebody tests positive on this equipment, that would mean that officers are able to form reasonable grounds that they have an illegal amount of drugs in their body,” said Morrison.

“From there they can make an arrest or they can make a demand for further testing.”

Refusing to take the drug screening test can also lead to a criminal charge. It’s considered to be the same as refusing a breathalyzer test for alcohol impairment.

— With files from Whitney Middleton-Oickle

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