The attack on drugged driving by over-zealous law enforcement continues, this time in Los Angeles, where a state grant is being used to supply DUI checkpoints with oral drug swab testing equipment. Police this holiday season are being supplied with Q-tips and a "black box" which will, in theory detect the presence of drugs in saliva.
The problem with this technology is that measurable impairment concentrations of drugs can't be found, only the mere presence of a subtance in saliva. Additionally, both the DRE (Drug Recognition Evaluation) program and per se levels were developed because law enforcement and prosecutors could not prove impairment by drugs in the same manner they could prove impairment from alcohol.
Then police created DRE and then per se levels for drugs so they could prosecute DUI-drug cases. Even Marcelline Burns, who helped develop the DRE program admitted in published papers that the alcohol model does not work for drugs. The truth odf the matter is that positive blood, urine or breath tests prove nothing but prior exposure, and only when they have been confirmed by Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrum analysis.
Proving impairment from body fluid tests is impossible. There is just too much variability from person to person, and I am not aware of any controlled studies that can establish a range that fits everyone, any more than we can all wear the same pair of glasses.
Follow this LINK to an NBC-LA news report.
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