Pubdate: Wed, 14 Oct 2009
Source: Cochrane Eagle (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Cochrane Eagle
Author: Cori Lee Miller
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Cannabis and Driving)
Bookmark: (Drug Test)


Don't toke and drive could be a new awareness slogan  as of Oct.

This month new legislation for drug-impaired drivers comes into
effect, meaning those who smoke, snort or shoot up before getting
behind the wheel will face the same penalties as those who are caught
drinking and driving.

The measure is an expansion of the Alberta Administrative License
Suspension (AALS) program, and was introduced as a measure by the
federal government.

Prior to this legislation, if a police officer suspected a driver of
being high they could only request a voluntary drug test.

Now tests will be mandatory for those suspected and will be conducted
by police.

Alberta Transportation spokesperson Martin Dupuis said the new law
doesn't mean police can test anyone who exhibits signs, as they could
also be suffering from a medical condition or have another reason for
acting strange.

"There could be different reasons, we have to establish that first,"
he said.

"So they have to get that out of the way of course."

Dupuis said on the enforcement side of things, he wasn't sure how
officers would enforce the law as drugs can still be found in
someone's system days after they have done them.

"I don't have all the details about this," he said, adding safety is
Alberta Transportation's main priority. "Our goal is to help keep
impaired drivers off our roads, that's definitely our main focus."

Rachel Rae, marketing director for Sure Hire, a company that
specializes in pre-employment drug testing, said depending on what
type of testing will be used, drugs can be found in a person's body
days after doing them.

"It really depends on the type of testing," she said.

The three main tests, using saliva, urine and hair, yield different
results on how long ago a person used and how chronic of a drug user a
person is.

It was not known by the Eagle's press time what type of testing police
will be using under the new law.

Saliva testing usually shows drug use within the last 24 hours, a
urine test within the past three to five days, with marijuana being
the exception. Traces of it can often be found in urine up to a month
after use.

Hair testing can give long term results. A half inch of hair is
equivalent to 30 days, and usually an inch and a half of hair is tested. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D