CHICAGO (CBS) — The Carol Stream Police Department has found a way to eventually test for drugs right at the traffic stop.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports that, increasingly, driving under the influence translates to being high on drugs. However, a breath test won’t show that.
And police say finding out if a driver is high on drugs often requires a blood or urine sample and weeks or months in a lab.
As a result, the police department will be implementing new chemical tests that are designed to detect drugs in drivers’ systems quickly. They are similar to breathalyzer tests for alcohol, but use mouth swabs to screen for at least a half dozen other drugs.
“We’re hoping that it’s a game changer for us,” said Carol Stream PD Sgt. Brian Cluever.
The Carol Stream Police Department will soon be the first in the state capable of testing for drugs at the scene.
“It’ll tell us specifically the quantitation — as in, how much of a certain drug is in somebody’s system,” Cluever said.
And that’s important as more and more drivers hit the road high on prescription drugs, heroin and marijuana.
“The drug-impaired driving arrests that our department has made, and actually I would say statewide, have increased exponentially,” Cluever said.
How accurate are the tests?
“The state really has to establish whether or not the methods that were used are reasonably relied upon in the scientific community and have proven to be reliable in the past,” Sean O’Brien, a defense attorney.
Otherwise, according to O’Brien, the tests won’t stand up in court.
“Will this fall into junk science, or will this be more admissible and commonly admitted like DNA testing or blood alcohol draws that we see every day?” O’Brien said.
Cluever said the ultimate goal is to give officers one more tool to put on their tool belts.
These saliva tests will be voluntary and not for use in court. Police in Carol Stream want to test the accuracy of the swabs by comparing them to the blood work.