Late in August, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the approval of the first oral fluid drug screening equipment for use by law enforcement in Canada.
However, jurisdictions across Canada, including Vancouver and Delta, have already stated that they won’t be using the Dräger DrugTest 5000 as an impairment detection tool.
“We will be obtaining one [device] so we can familiarize ourselves with the technology but we’re not using it operationally,” Sergeant Jason Robillard told Daily Hive over the phone.
“It’s common for us to obtain equipment that’s new so we can test it and look at it, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to use it.”
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 has received much criticism from law enforcement, lawyers, and the public due to the lengthy process to collect and analyze a sample, its lack of efficacy in cold temperatures, and several other factors that can lead to false positives.
Furthermore, the presence of THC is not indicative of intoxication. In fact, cannabis can stay in someone’s system for up to a month or longer after consumption.
Although the Vancouver Police Department will not be using the Dräger at this time, Sergeant Robillard said the VPD is open to implementing a drug screener if the right device is made available.
“We’re hopeful of finding something but right now this is not the device that fits our specific needs moving forward.”
The VPD currently employs nine Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and also relies on Standardized Field Sobriety Tests to investigate drug-impaired driving.
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