New technology could help law enforcement fight drugged driving

November 21, 2017 10:44 AM

You've heard of a breathalyzer, but what about a Drugalyzer? The Dräger Drug Test 5000 is relatively new technology police departments across the country are calling a game changer.

After a one-minute swab inside of a suspect's mouth, an officer would place the sample inside the Drugalyzer machine. The mobile drug test machine can detect up to seven drugs: cannabinoids (THC), opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines and methadone.

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State records show more than 1,600 drug-related crashes happened on New York highways in 2016 and nearly 15 percent of those were deadly.

This new tool could give law enforcement a secret weapon to fight back against this trend. The drug test machine is already being used in at least 15 agencies across the country. The Drugalyzer is small and lightweight. Officers can test right on the spot instead of waiting weeks for results of a blood or urine test. 

No local police departments have this technology yet, but Sergeant Silvo Palermo at the Gates Police Department thinks it's a good idea.

"If this technology is deemed admissible and the accuracy is scientifically proven it could be a big win for us," Palermo said. "Breath tests many, many years ago were brand new technology."

In 2016, a California judge allowed the results of the Drugalyzer to be used in court as evidence in a manslaughter case.

Right now, the device is being used in other departments in New York State. It's important to note: a driver can legally refuse an oral saliva test in most states.

The Drugalyzer device sells for $5,000.


Kaci Jones

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