LOCAL Police based in Torrevieja have begun using a special kit at a number of checkpoints to measure levels of drugs taken by drivers.
The specialist equipment comprises of a device for checking the levels of both alcohol and drugs, kits for collecting samples that can be sent off for analysis, and a fridge for keeping the evidence in such a way as to not affect the condition of the samples that may be used in bringing offenders to justice.
The machines can detect the presence of all kinds of drugs – hashish, cocaine, herion, modern ‘designer drugs’ (amphetamines, methamphetamines) and general medication – and according to the law, only officers that have been on a training course are able to carry out the tests. So far, 10 have completed the course and a further six will be undertaking it soon.
Before being tested for drugs, drivers will at first be breathalysed as is the normal practice; fines for driving with drugs in the system can be up to €1,000 although the main aims and objectives of the tests is to guarantee road safety and prevent accidents.
The new tests will feature two phases. The first will see a cotton bud placed into the mouth until a sufficient amount of saliva is obtained. The swab is then put into the testing device and will produce a result after six minutes. A positive test then leads on to phase two. This consists of a second saliva sample with a special swab called Quantisal that is sent on to the official laboratory. Analysis there will give the final result and the actual amount of narcotics discovered in the driver’s system.
Authorities in Torrevieja have announced that there will be increased checks for both alcohol and drugs over the Christmas period.