Delta police officers could soon be equipped with drug testing devices

The Delta Police Department and other policing agencies across the country could soon have a new drug screening device as cannabis legislation is set to roll out.

The attorney general of Canada is looking to approve a device that law enforcement could use at roadside to analyze samples of oral fluid collected from drivers who are suspected of having drugs in their body.

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“An oral fluid sample that tests positive would presumptively confirm the presence of the drug and combined with other observations made by the police officer would likely provide grounds for the investigation to proceed further, either by making a demand for a drug recognition evaluation or for a blood sample,” stated a federal government news release.

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 STK-CA and the Dräger DrugTest 5000 would test for THC and cocaine.

Delta police Chief Neil Dubord pushed for the use of the equipment during a Delta delegation to Ottawa in the spring.

“It looks like it will cost around $6,300 per unit. It still has to undergo a battery of approvals, but at least they have it narrowed down,” said Dubord. “This is different than alcohol as it tests saliva rather than breath and testing saliva allows us to test for marijuana.”

Dubord said after the approvals are in place, the next step would be to set a legal limit.

“Now that we can detect THC within the system, we are anxious to be able to know, just like alcohol (.08), what that limit will be for nanograms of THC in the blood in relation to marijuana,” said Dubord.

He said who pays for the equipment is also up in the air.

“What we understand is that the federal government will provide limited funding to the provinces, which will then be distributed to the police departments,” said Dubord. “We are budgeting for that in 2019 so all our cars are equipped properly and all our officers have the proper tools.”

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