New OPP roadside units can detect cannabis use in drivers

Cannabis connoisseurs may be in for more than a buzz the next time they’re stopped at a police spot check by officers on the hunt for impaired drivers.

The days when being high and behind the wheel were undetectable are over thanks to new federally-approved drug-screening devices purchased by the Ontario Provincial Police and now being rolled out at roadsides in the province.

In a launch of the annual regional Festive RIDE initiative Tuesday in Belleville, top brass with the Ontario Provincial Police warned the public the new units can detect the presence of drugs in a person’s saliva.

Staff Sgt. John Hatch, Prince Edward County OPP, told The Intelligencer “the OPP have purchased 23 new units that detect the presence of cannabis and cocaine in saliva. They only detect the presence of, not the level of, substances.”

When a driver is asked to provide a sample using what is called a “cassette” to test a person’s saliva, if drugs are confirmed, the driver will accompany police to headquarters to provide a blood sample to confirm the presence of drugs in the system.

By Derek Baldwin The Intelligencer
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