Police in Canadian Cities Test Out Saliva Swab Drug Tests

Article by Josh Dehaas, CTV News

A man is tested for drugs.

Police in several jurisdictions across Canada are testing out swabs that could one day be used as evidence of drug-impaired driving.

The experimental tests gather saliva from a driver’s tongue and cheek in order detect the presence of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines.

Police in jurisdictions including Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver are asking volunteers to give samples as part of a pilot project to see how the tests hold up in real life situations. Police say no one will be charged as a result.

Advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hopes the Trudeau government will change the Criminal Code before marijuana is legalized this spring to allow the saliva tests to be used as evidence of impaired driving.

MADD points out that although drugs are more commonly found in drivers involved in fatal crashes than alcohol, only 2.6 per cent of impaired charges laid in Canada in 2014 were for drugs. The group says research shows legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado has coincided with an increase in fatal crashes.

But other research, including a 2015 study of more than 10,000 drivers in California by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, found marijuana smokers had only a minimally higher risk of being involved in a traffic accidents.

Read full article here.

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