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Are you at risk of failing a roadside drug test

The rapid rise of drug driving has become so alarming in NSW that at one point it was revealed that one in seven drivers tested positive for illegal drugs.

In the year 2013 it used to be that one in forty samples would test positive for illegal drugs while in 2014 the rate increased to one in thirteen testing positive for illegal drugs.  

The increase is a cause for alarm considering that drug driving is 18 times most likely to result to fatal accidents and 32 times more likely if alcohol is also consumed along with the illegal drugs. The rapid rise in the use of drugs by drivers has extended to rural and regional areas wherein the statistics reached a point of having one in six motorists testing positive for illegal drugs in their systems.

Kinds of drugs detected in roadside drug testing

Roadside testing for drugs conducted by police officers can detect three types of illegal drugs: THC more popularly known as marijuana or cannabis; MMDA or popularly known as ecstasy; and, methamphetamine. Of the three aforementioned drugs, marijuana is the most used illegal drug in Australia and it stays in a person’s system for weeks. The dangers of marijuana use are two-fold. The long term danger is that it causes depression making the user unfit to drive. On the other hand, the immediate danger is that after the initial “high” given by the marijuana is gone and the user thinks that it is already okay to drive but the user is actually still impaired and therefore unfit to drive.

Both methamphetamine and ecstasy can be detected in a person’s system longer than the 12 hour window for blood alcohol levels. The methamphetamine is the most dangerous of all these three drugs and the effects remain longer in a person’s body if it is smoked instead of ingested.

The effects of illegal drugs become more dangerous if these are consumed with alcohol.  

Stages of Roadside Drug Testing

Securatec Drugwipe, the first stage, is a stick like device that is scraped over the tongue and the results are known after only three minutes. The drugs, if any, are detected in the saliva.

The second stage in roadside drug testing is the Drager Drug Test 5000, which is just like the first stage in that it is also oral based. An opto-electronic system is utilized for a more accurate measurement of the illegal substance levels. The testing takes 20 minutes for the results to be known. The second stage is considered as a confirmatory test as it is a more thorough type of test and minimizes the likelihood of errors that may occur in the first stage. 

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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