Pubdate: Wed, 18 Aug 1999
Date: 08/18/1999
Source: Herald, The (WA)
Author: Jennifer Poll

I'm writing to express my disgust and anger upon reading the Aug. 8
front page article, "Drugged driving: Alcohol's not the only substance
that impairs drivers." I think it's fair to say that no one wants
seriously impaired drivers on the road. The state's Drug Recognition
Expert program, however, is going too far.

According to the article, Snohomish County officers, deputies and
troopers no longer need any kind of evidence to arrest a citizen, just
a feeling that something's wrong.

After the arrest, the citizen is jailed or hospitalized and subjected
to a battery of invasive tests by these so-called experts in an effort
to try and determine if there really is anything wrong.

Though they boast an 85 percent accuracy rate, they conveniently fail
to mention what portion of that 85 percent falls into legal categories
such as caffeine consumption, over-the-counter and prescription
medications. Furthermore, this number can be of little comfort to the
completely innocent 15 percent who were needlessly arrested, jailed
and degraded.

In addition, I found much of the DRE's symptoms list to be a curious
thing indeed. Confronted with these Gestapo tactics, who wouldn't
exhibit a high level of anxiety or paranoia, and I shudder to imagine
how they determine one's "loss of appetite, insomnia, and elevated
pain threshold."

The DRE program is clearly another example of the government's
methodical destruction of our civil liberties in the name of the
failed war on drugs.