Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jun 2014
Source: Delta Optimist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc
Author: Jessica Kerr


Ladner man joins forces with pair of doctors to develop device police
can use roadside

A local man is hoping to give police a new tool to help in the fight
again driving under the influence of drugs.

Ladner's Kal Malhi, a retired RCMP officer, has developed a roadside
breathalyzer that can test for marijuana.

"It's a very new concept that breath testing can work for drugs," he

Malhi got the idea for the Cannabix Breathalyzer while doing some
reading on a family trip to India late last year. While waiting at the
airport, he came across a study out of Sweden about breath testing
technology developed at Karolinska University in Solna.

Marijuana use can currently only be tested through collecting blood,
urine or saliva samples, and police have no way to positively
determine on the road that a driver is under the influence of drugs.

"It's hard to prove when somebody's high on drugs," he said. "The
level of convictions on drugged driving is very low."

With his extensive policing experience, which included several years
with a drug squad, Malhi was inspired to use the Swedish study results
to give police a tool, similar to a portable roadside breath test for
alcohol, to test for marijuana use.

The Swedish study showed that breath samples could be collected and
sent to a lab for testing.

Malhi took his idea and teamed up with two doctors to try and make it
a reality.

Vancouver based Dr. Raj Attariwala is the chief technology officer on
the project. He is a radiologist and nuclear medicine physician with a
background in biomedical engineering. He has worked closely with the
breath testing technology developed by the Karolinska Institute and
has several other medical device patents.

Dr. Bruce Goldberger is also on board as a technical advisor. A
professor of toxicology at the University of Florida, Goldberg has
done extensive research on forensic toxicology and completed numerous
studies on the subject, including analysis of alcohol in breath and
the measurement of drugs in biological tissue.

The result is the portable Cannabix Breathalyzer. Malhi said it is
designed to function like a blood glucose meter, where the breath
sample is collected in one component and then is fed into a second
part of the device, which tests the sample and gives an immediate result.

Malhi said the device indicates if a person has consumed marijuana in
the last two hours. The drug can still show up in blood, urine or
saliva testing for several days after consumption so even with a
positive test it is difficult for police to prove that a person was
impaired by the drug at the time of driving.

Malhi said he could also see it being used in workplaces that carry
out drug testing for employees.

After just six months of research and development, Malhi already has
patents pending on the device and has signed on with a medical device
manufacturer to develop a prototype.

He said he's hoping to have the Cannabix licensed in another six
months and will look at marketing it in North America.

Malhi said many people, especially the younger generation, view
driving after smoking marijuana as acceptable.

"Our society is changing our views on marijuana, it's becoming
legalized in many states... young people have no fear of driving after
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