Michigan State Police plan to implement one of the most invasive methods of drug testing in the country in a pilot program: saliva tests.
Five counties will force their residents into becoming guinea pigs for what must be the worst thwarting of constitutional and privacy rights in recent years. Saliva-based tests will check drivers for cannabis, heroin, cocaine, and more — thanks to perhaps the most despised governor in the U.S., Rick Snyder.
“The five-county pilot program will be used to help determine accuracy and reliability of the tests,” Snyder explained in June after signing the bill into law, as MLive reported.
In other words, whoever happens to be unfortunate enough to have their saliva tested will literally be a guinea pig of the state — and there doesn’t appear to be any further information concerning recourse for those tested should the tests prove inaccurate.
“We expect the counties to be finalized this summer with a pilot to begin sometime later in the year,” MLive quoted Shanon Banner, spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police.
Ostensibly, Drug Recognition Experts (DRE officers) — of which the state currently has 99 for 37 of its counties — have been given “highly specialized training” to assist them in recognizing drug-impaired drivers.
According to MLive, the “saliva analysis will only be administered by a DRE, [Banner] said, and will be given along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used. DREs employed by state, county and municipal agencies could also be involved.”
Though reports about this pilot program seem to have been obfuscated by both the 2016 presidential theater and recent violence by and against police, roadside saliva assessments represent a terrifyingly dystopic advancement of the Police State — even though the program was spawned for seemingly noble reasons.
Officially titled the “Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law” to honor a couple killed when their Chevy Malibu was struck by a red light-running semi truck in Escanaba on March 20, 2013, the legislation was inspired by the couple’s son, Brian, who sought a better method for drug-testing impaired drivers.
But the explanation of that crash has similarly alarming connotations. As MLive explained:
“Tractor-trailer driver Harley Davidson Durocher was convicted of charges including operating while intoxicated causing death, and sentenced to a minimum of five years and five months in prison for the crash. Durocher’s blood was drawn at a hospital following the crash and showed THC, an ingredient of marijuana, leading to the charges.”
However, that in itself is highly problematic — impairment caused by THC can’t precisely be tested by blood, several studies have found. In fact, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled in November last year the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — in the blood does not necessarily indicate impairment.
Granted, state laws about the presence of certain drugs and in what quantities vary widely, but using what amounts to unfounded ‘science’ to then create a law with even greater invasiveness marks quite the leap of logic.
Attorney Neil Rockind opposed Michigan’s saliva-based drug testing legislation, warning it would set “a dangerous precedent” in the state.
“The criminal justice system wants to take science and turn it into a fast, easy utility,” Rockind advised. “Science is neither fast nor easy.”
Michigan’s new law dictates MSP will roll out the pilot in five counties to ‘establish policies in the area of roadside analysis … and to make a determination of the accuracy and reliability of the tests,’ Banner said, as MLive paraphrased.
As the nanny government and Police State encroach ever further on our civil rights and liberties, it would be advisable to keep watch for other states attempting similar saliva-based drug testing — especially given the arbitrary, hastily implemented science upon which such tests are founded.
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