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Michigan pilot program to use oral swabs to test for drugs

Program began November 8th

Posted November 8, 2017

Individuals suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance in one of five Michigan counties may be subject to an oral fluid test at roadside. The counties of Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw are participating in a one-year pilot program — established by the Michigan State Police (MSP) — to combat drugged driving. The program began on November 8, 2017.

MSP’s Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis pilot program, established by Public Acts 242 and 243 of 2016, establishes policies for the administration of roadside drug testing to determine whether a driver is violating Michigan law. MSP reports the state has experienced a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by a controlled substance.

The pilot counties were selected based on several criteria, including number of:

  • Impaired driving crashes,
  • Impaired drivers arrested, and
  • Trained Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) in the county.

DREs are police officers who have received specialized training to identify drug impaired drivers. DREs in the pilot program are not just from MSP. DREs employed by county, township, and municipal police agencies will also be participating.

During the pilot program, the DRE will require drivers suspected of being impaired by drugs to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis. The oral fluid is collected through a mouth swab and will be administered along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used by DREs. A refusal to provide the oral sample when directed to so by enforcement is a civil infraction.

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