Pubdate: Sat, 04 Feb 2017
Source: Standard Freeholder (Cornwall, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Author: Todd Hambleton
Page: A1


SDG OPP constables among those road testing equipment that measures
drug impairment

LONG SAULT - SDG OPP officers are testing cutting-edge, high-tech
equipment that will eventually be used to detect drivers who are under
the influence of drugs.

In the far-east portion of the East Region, Consts. Pat Dussault and
Mike Roy - both with the Highway Safety Division unit - are the
hands-on officers, testing two devices: a Securetec drug reader, and
an Alere mobile forensic test system.

"It's an extra tool for us," Dussault said on Friday. "Anything that
helps us combat impaired driving from alcohol or drugs is welcome."

Nationally, and other than the OPP, only six law enforcement services
are testing the equipment, including police in Toronto, Vancouver,
Gatineau, Halifax, Yellowknife and the RCMP in North Battleford,

Officially, the lead agency in what's called the Oral Fluid Screening
Device Pilot Project is Public Safety Canada.

Dussault showed the Standard-Freeholder how the devices work,
including the Securetec machine, a saliva test where a small sterile
pad or strip is rubbed on a person's tongue. After eight minutes, the
results are printed out on what looks like a small receipt.

"The purpose (of the testing) is to evaluate the devices' performance
on the roadside under different weather conditions," said Dussault,
who's been testing the device for two weeks and will until the end of

Dussault has used it at roadside checks all over the area, in
different weather conditions at different times of the day. Roy has
tested the devices on Highway 401 at the Lancaster scales truck
inspection station.

The devices have been approved in Australia and the United Kingdom, to
enforce the law. They're not yet approved in Canada and the testing
must be done on a voluntary basis, at the roadside checks.

In fact, only volunteers who do not show signs of impairment are being
tested in the study, and it's being made very clear to participants
that results of the saliva test cannot be used against a person in
court as evidence in any criminal or administrative proceeding.

"I don't collect any names, I don't collect any data," Dussault

But after each testing, Dussault does write up a short report that
goes to the OPP's co-ordinator for the test phase, and he and Roy both
will be interviewed by Public Safety Canada once the local testing
period is over. "Some people are really happy (to volunteer and take
the test)," Dussault said. "Some people (decline), it takes 10 or 15
minutes and they see it as taking too much time."

In recent Festive RIDE campaigns, the OPP has been determined to
dispel the myth that driving while high on drugs cannot be detected by
police and is a safe alternative to driving under the influence of
alcohol. As of last October, Ontario legislation carries penalties for
drug-impaired driving that match those already in place for
alcohol-impaired drivers.

Public Safety Canada says roadside oral fluid drug screening has
"tremendous potential" as a more general road safety countermeasure
through general deterrence.

Aside from these equipment tests, both the OPP and Cornwall Community
Police Service already have officers trained to determine when a
driver is drug-impaired by something other than alcohol - meaning if
you're pulled over while high, your sobriety will be evaluated.
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