Pubdate: Sat, 11 Feb 2017
Source: Recorder & Times, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Recorder and Times
Author: Todd Hambleton
Page: A3


Area OPP constables among those testing equipment measuring drug

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

In this far-east portion of the East Region, Ontario Provincial Police
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 Postmedia 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 said.

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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