A state grant supplied the LAPD with a swab testing tool that will be employed at DUI (driving under the influence) checkpoints and jails, Los Angeles officials said at a Friday press conference.
The conference was held to highlight use of the tool alongside breathalyzers - which check for blood-alcohol content - at sobriety checkpoints during the New Year’s holiday.
LAPD officers can ask a driver to consent to a voluntary portable oral fluids test of their gum line and cheeks. The tip of the tool is then put into a portable machine for immediate testing rather than requiring a blood test. Such blood tests have previously been necessary to verify an arrest made on the suspicion of drugged driving.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer pointed to the increased use of medical marijuana and the prevalence of dispensaries in the city as reason to step up enforcement of DUI policing.
“There’s a growing recognition that driving under the influence of drugs is something we need to be clamping down on more effectively,” Feuer said at the press conference.
The swabbing test is not completely untested, though it was only used 50 times in Los Angeles ahead of Friday’s announcement. City prosecutors said they have not used results from the test as evidence in any case thus far.
The portable oral fluids test screens for amphetamines, cocaine, benzodiazepine (Xanax), methadone, methamphetamine, narcotic analgesics, and THC – which indicates that marijuana has been used the past several hours.
First off, this is completely unconstitutional. And second, some of these, are legal prescriptions you can get from your doctor. Why should someone be penalized for taking a Xanax, which their doctor prescribes, for panic attacks, which they have no power over and can't help? Or a painful condition that requires pain killers? I mean we don't penalize a diabetic for taking insulin, and then driving, do we?
I really think this is stupid. If someone is driving erratically and the cop pulls them over and smells alcohol and marijuana, then yes, give them a alcohol and drug test, but this.....this is not right, and I see a lot of lawsuits.....
Edited by Kowalski, 28 December 2013 - 10:32 PM.