Drug Driving and The Drugaliser

Saturday Night, Monday Morning

On a Saturday night there are many people who feel it’s the right time for a glass or two of the nation’s drug of choice, wine or beer, lager or spirits, alcohol is, for the most of western society, a pleasant and acceptable drink.

The description “drug” doesn’t come to mind in a trip to the pub, or a lively party, or just relaxing at home. You might have a unit or two more than the statutory guidelines, (whatever they may be at the time, they seem to change with the weather), but in a mostly Christian society, it is an acceptable norm.

Alcohol has been with us for a very long time and most know its limits and their limitations. After Saturday, almost everyone who imbibed then, will feel safe and responsible to drive on Monday morning.

The breathalyser has been around for over fifty years, and almost all drivers will feel comfortable in the knowledge that the drinks taken on Saturday night will not register on one come Monday morning.

The Delay of Drug Driving

There has been, particularly among younger people an acceptance of social drugs other than alcohol, notably cannabis and cocaine. Often accepted as recreational drugs, attitudes towards driving and drug use have often been indifference from the user and frustration by the police.

Enter the “drugaliser”, a road side test kit that the police can use for detecting a number of drugs within a person’s system, including cannabis and cocaine.

So, would a line or two of cocaine, or a couple of joints of cannabis on a Saturday night, show in a drugalyser on a Monday morning? Is it possible, and is it a fair and reasonable comparison with alcohol?

Let’s take a look at what we’re dealing with. Cocaine, “coke”, “Charlie”, “snow”, is the end manufactured product taken from the leaves of the coca plant. This plant is grown primarily in north-eastern countries of South America, such as Bolivia, Peru and Columbia.

It was seen as a plaything for the rich until fairly recently, and the increased weight of production and sophistication of the illegal export/import businesses has brought the “street price” within reach of many people.

A fine white powder, it is “cut down”, (a turn of phrase for bulking up) by adding to its volume inert substances such as ground sugar, or talcum powder. This dilutes its purity to a street level of between 50 and 75%.

A line of this, sniffed up a nostril can give a feeling of euphoria that will last maybe forty minutes, and leave no discernible feeling after a couple of hours.

What does the drugalyser make of this on a Monday morning?

The answer is a worrying one for drivers. Many courts are treating failure of a drug test in the same way as failure of a sobriety test, but the two offences are very different and many drugs don’t have much if any effect several days after ingestion, despite still registering a high reading.

According to top legal motor law expert Emma Patterson of Patterson Law, there have already been many instances of motorists being treated very unfairly & they are having to battle with various courts to obtain reasonable punishments for their clients.