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Roadside Drug-Testing

You might want to think twice if you’re planning on using cannabis and then getting behind the wheel of a car. Driving high can have similar effects on judgement, reaction time and it’s illegal. And according to the Government of Canada, in 2014 there were 149 fatally injured from drivers who tested positive for cannabis.

After passing the law to make cannabis legal in Canada, the government provided police services with a federal grant to purchase approved oral fluid drug screening devices. The Cobourg Police Service took advantage of this and purchased three Draeger DrugTest 5000 which tests for the presence of cannabis and cocaine.

Drug recognition expert, Sergeant Marc Bellemare says, “Theses devices are in place to encourage drivers to not drive under the influence, and to catch those that are; ultimately keeping the roads safe. They will be in our cruisers as we do traffic stops, Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (R.I.D.E.) programs, and regular patrol throughout Cobourg.”

Through the Ontario Police College, Sgt. Bellemare is a qualified trainer of the Draeger DrugTest 5000 and will train Cobourg officers and other police officers across Ontario on the use of the device. Though the Draeger is user-friendly, Sgt. Bellemare received greater knowledge of the devices and some troubleshooting which he will be able to pass on to others who train with him.

“It’s a simple test to administer. If the officer suspects the driver is under the influence of a drug through a complaint or a traffic stop investigation, the officer can demand the driver to provide a sample of their oral fluid. Once the sample has been taken, it’s placed inside the Draeger equipment and is analyzed giving a negative or positive presence of cannabis or cocaine in the subjects’ oral fluid.”

Sgt. Bellemare busts a common myth, “Despite popular belief, people do not drive better under the influence of cannabis. Your attention isn’t focused on the road, your decision-making and reaction time are not where they should be for someone getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you drive high, you could harm yourself, or others. And bottom-line, you will be arrested and charged. It’s just not worth the risk.”


Sgt. Bellemare inserts the sample into the Draeger DrugTest 5000 for analysis.