Suspicious Motorists Face On-the-Spot Drug Testing

Suspicious Motorists Face On-the-Spot Drug Testing

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Logan police are preparing to give on-the-spot saliva tests to motorists suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.

"Two years ago, we only arrested seven people for driving under the influence of drugs," said Cache-Rich Drug Task Force Sgt. Dennis G. Simonson. "Because we've been using the urine tests, we possibly already tripled that this year and we're only halfway through the year. And now when we start using these devices, I expect we're probably going to get 50 additional arrests annually."

Simonson said the department is receiving a $5,800 grant from the Utah Commission on Criminal Juvenile Justice to begin the roadside saliva drug testing pilot project.

The test works by placing a swab under the tongue of a driver. The sample undergoes several different procedures before being placed in a test cartridge that will be evaluated with a handheld instrument, that interprets and digitally displays the results of the test.

Within 15 minutes, the instrument can detect whether the person has consumed marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine or opiates.

"If it's there, the man goes to jail for DUI alcohol and drugs or DUI drugs," Simonson said.

Officers will use the kit when there is probable cause to determine that a driver is under the influence of drugs. Probable cause would include the smell of drugs or drugs being found in a vehicle, or a driver that fails to pass a roadside sobriety test, Simonson said.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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