swab

San Diego, CA – On St. Patrick’s Day, California’s southernmost metropolis decided to debut a roadside test for those suspected of driving under the influence of cannabis. Several “sobriety checkpoints” were set up throughout the city with the standard invasions of privacy, but this time they added a mouth swab test known as the Drager 5000.

If a cop suspects a driver of being high, they request that he or she take the mouth swab test, and perhaps a field sobriety test as well. They’re trying to gather evidence to incriminate you, although the mouth swab test is not mandatory.

The Drager 5000, already in use in other countries and cities such as Los Angeles and New York, detects the presence of various substances, including THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The problem is, this test has absolutely zero ability to test actual impairment or level of intoxication.

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But a positive reading can give cops the excuse for the more invasive procedure of a blood test. According to The San Diego Union-Tribune:

“Officers trained to recognize the symptoms of drug impairment will first look for various indicators that a driver is high, from an unsafe driving maneuver to bloodshot eyes to the odor of marijuana to blank stares, San Diego police Officer Emilio Ramirez said. Once there is ample suspicion of drug use, the officer can then request to perform field sobriety tests or for a driver to take the Dräger 5000 test.

 

If the driver refuses at that point, the officer can force the person to submit to a blood test.

 

To use the machine, the driver is handed a mouth swab and instructed to run it around the inside of the mouth for up to four minutes. The swab is then placed into the machine, along with a vial of testing solution, and the machine does its work. It takes about six to eight minutes for results to print out on a receipt.

 

A positive result will likely send the driver to a police phlebotomist for a blood test to determine precise drug levels.”

Even a negative result could lead to a mandatory blood test if the officer still suspects impairment.

“If the mouth swab test is negative but the officer still has a suspicion of impairment, then a blood draw might still be mandated, because the Dräger 5000 only measures for seven kinds of narcotics, Ramirez said.”

And if you can’t make bail, you’ll be sitting in jail for weeks or months awaiting the blood test results. For many people, this would mean being fired from their job, or being ripped away from their family, or some other life-altering repercussion – all because a cop invaded your privacy at an unconstitutional roadblock.

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The Drager 5000 can give positive results for THC even if the person did not even use cannabis that day. If it’s legal to use cannabis – as in California – and the swab test can detect THC from days prior, there is absolutely no rationale for deploying the machine. Despite the fact that someone can be perfectly sober and still test positive, this “evidence” is admissible in court.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman played on fears over legalization to justify their fancy new $6,000 machines, saying, “It’s a huge concern of ours with the legalization of marijuana that we’re going to see an increase in impaired drugged driving.

The funny thing is, results from St. Patrick’s Day field sobriety checkpoints showed a decrease in the number of DUI arrests. At one checkpoint, six people were arrested, down from nearly a dozen the year before.

One person was going to submit to the mouth swab test for cannabis, but the ordeal gave him an anxiety attack that required medical attention. The cops went ahead and arrested him for DUI afterward.

We did have one person, who was going to submit a test, but unfortunately had some sort of anxiety attack in secondary to the point where we actually had to get medical attention for him and then later arrested him for DUI,” said Officer Mark McCollough.

Clearly, the Drager 5000 mouth swab test serves no actual purpose in addressing impaired driving, but is just another tool of the police state being rationalized by cannabis decriminalization.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.
  • Speckintime

    Marijuana can get you arrested and your property confiscated, it is not worth the risk. Even if you smoked it three weeks ago it is still in your system and you can get a DUI from using it.

    Why would the DEA kill it’s cash cow? It is corruption that keeps marijuana illegal.

    Always follow the money, the real devils you never see and the show continues. It is sad but too often the more successful one becomes the more they tend lose track of what is really important in life.

    The problem with power is not only does it corrupt but it also draws in the most corrupt to it, that is why mankind continues on the same path no matter who takes power.

    The US could make a real change if we the people would raise up patriots in third parties and vote out every incumbent at every election or corrupt laws could be neutered by jury nullification but unfortunately that is not happening.

    The corruption is not only in the government that sells the lies and promises but it is also in the people that buy into the lies and promises.

    It all makes perfect sense when you realize that Mammon is the god that they Trust and Serve.

    Oh how we care, yet we never dare look to the heart of the matter.
    How men of great greed, get what they need, purses that only get fatter.

    These powers that be want you to be a slave, a criminal or dead and they are doing a very good job at enforcing their agenda.