Greater Manchester Police unveiled their new on-the-road drug-testing kit to the public yesterday in Piccadilly Gardens.
The new piece of equipment uses saliva to trace cannabis and cocaine in a person’s system, with anybody testing positive being arrested and brought to the police station for a blood test to determine what exactly is in their system.
The blood test can also trace prescription drugs, which GMP warn can affect a person’s driving ability as seriously as alcohol or recreational drugs.
Police Sergeant John Brennan, from the Royal Policing Unit at Eccles Police Station, explained the vast majority of drug offences GMP deal with involve cannabis and cocaine and that drug-driving is just as dangerous as drink-driving.
“When we have been sending off blood samples under the old system, over 80% come back with cannabis or cocaine,” he said.
“The roads that we all use are for everybody and we all have to use them and share them, it is not far of some people to be selfish and to put others at risk.
“We all have to take responsibility for our own driving.”
Inspector Susan Redfern of the Royal Policing Unit believed that drug taking has become an ‘up and coming trend’ in the young generation, which could potentially effect safety on the roads.
As of March 2 this year, 16 new drugs, both legal and illegal, were added to into existing regulations around drug-driving limits.
These regulations prescribe levels in the blood, similar to alcohol consumption, above which a person is not legally able to drive a vehicle.
At the moment there are four drug-testing units rotating through GMP’s patrols. If one patrol stops a driver they suspect are over the drug limit they can quickly radio for a drug-testing unit to join them.
Until recently the drug-testing units could only test for cannabis, but the technology has improved and can now test for cocaine.
Sergeant Brennan believed that capabilities to test for amphetamines or heroin will probably be next.
GMP urged those who choose to drink or take drugs on a night out not to get into a car and make other transport arrangements as the consequences can be fatal.