New 'Drugalysers' Will Test U.K. Drivers for Drugs

By Victoria Kim 03/03/15

Police equipped with “drugalysers” will be able to test for pot, cocaine, and prescription drugs.

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Police equipped with “drugalysers” in England and Wales will be able to use the devices to catch motorists who exceed the new legal limits of both illegal and prescription drugs.

The new rules establish low limits for the eight illegal drugs, which include marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, ketamine, and heroin. Motorists can be tested for these drugs at a police station, even if they pass the roadside check.

“It’s a zero-tolerance approach,” David Taylor, professor of psychopharmacology at Kings College, London, and a member of the Department of Transport’s advisory panel on drug driving said on BBC Radio 4.

Higher limits have been set for the eight prescription drugs included in the new rules, which include methadone and morphine. Taylor recommends that drivers who take prescription drugs carry proof in case they are stopped by police. Those using prescription drugs within recommended amounts will not be penalized.

The “drugalyser” devices, which will be able to immediately measure even small traces of drugs in an individual’s system, are part of the government’s crackdown on drugged driving.

The new rules work alongside the existing law, under which drug drivers already face a fine of up to £5,000 (about $7,693), up to six months in prison, and a minimum one-year driving ban.

The implementation of the new rules could be delayed by weeks as police make the transition and take the time to train officers.

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