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March 2015 - Drugs & Alcohol Testing UK BlogDrugs & Alcohol Testing UK Blog
The new roadside drug test in the UK has now been in force since the 2nd March 2015 and already police across the UK have already tested some drivers and found them to be positive for either Cannabis or Cocaine.
The new drug test kits that the police are using will initially be used to test just for Cannabis and Cocaine at the roadside.
In the longer term the police may also decide to screen for Opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamine and metamphetamine at the roadside.
The saliva drug test that the police use has a short window of detection, and so is a good guide at to whether the driver is under the influence of drugs, in a similar way to a breathalyser shows if a driver is under the influence of alcohol.
The new police roadside drug test in the UK will use a saliva drug testing kits which can detect drugs in saliva, for up to several hours after last use.
The aim of the new test is to detect whether there has been very recent consumption of drugs by the driver, and whether they are under the influence of drugs while driving.
The drugs that can be detected with this initial test that the police will be using are Cannabis, Cocaine and Crack Cocaine.
Opiates including Heroin and Morphine , Amphetamine , Benzodiazepines, Methadone and Methamphetamines also impair driving ability, and in years to come these drugs may also be tested for at the roadside on the same test.
Saliva drug testing gives a shorter detection window generally than urine drug testing with most drugs. Cannabis for example is only detectable in saliva for up to a maximum of 12 hours after last use.
This means that saliva drug testing is a very good indication of whether the driver is under the influence of drugs at the time of the test.
The alcohol pregnancy guidelines have come down in recent years due to an increase in the incidence and increased recognition of foetal alcohol syndrome or FAS.
In the UK the department of health currently recommends that pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive abstain from alcohol altogether.
If women do choose to drink during pregnancy they are advised to drink no more than 1-2 units per week and to avoid getting drunk.
The first 3 months seem to be a particularly important time to abstain completely from alcohol, as drinking during this time may increase the incidence of miscarriage.
Why should you avoid alcohol during pregnancy ?
There is lots of evidence that drinking alcohol heavily during pregnancy harms the unborn child. During pregnancy any alcohol ingested by the mother crosses the placenta and enters the baby. The baby is not able to process alcohol as effectively as the mother and so the alcohol has a greater effect on the baby and may cause toxic damage to the babies organs and developing brain and nervous system. Scientsis do not know what effect small amounts of alcohol have on the developing baby but there is very strong evidence that drink large amounts of alcohol in pregnancy is harmful to the baby. With this in mind it would seem much safer to abstain completely and to not risk the health of the baby.
This week saw new rules come into force in the UK which allow the police to perform roadside drug testing on any driver they suspect to be under the influence of drugs. The test will be performed using a saliva drug testing kit which will give an immediate result within minutes. If the driver tests positive for any of the drugs then they will be taken back to the police station for further testing including a blood test.
The new rules are hoped to reduce the number of drug driving incidents, in a similar way that roadside breathalysers have reduced the incidence of drink driving.
The following drugs may now be tested for under the new rules :Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamine, Methadone & Benzodiazepines
Some of these drugs are prescription drugs. The penalties for drug driving are similar to those for drink driving.
Penalties for drug driving include:
Someone convicted of drug driving will get:
-a minimum 1 year driving ban
-a fine of up to £5,000
-up to a year in prison
-a criminal record
The persons driving licence will also show that they have been convicted of drug driving. This will last for 11 years. When re-licenced it may be difficult to get insurance.