Ottawa Police Department Rejects Roadside Cannabis Test Kits

Police in the city of Ottawa, Ontario, will not be using a roadside drug-testing machine once cannabis is legalized in Canada next month. The federal government recently approved the Dräger DrugTest 5000 for use by police departments across the country.

The DrugTest 5000, manufactured by German manufacturer Dräger with U.S. operations based in Irving, Texas, hit the market in 2009 and is currently in use in about a dozen U.S. states, as well as in Europe and Australia. A California judge in 2016 found the machines to be scientifically reliable in a vehicular manslaughter case.

The DrugTest 5000 tests oral swabs for cannabinoids, opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and methadone. The devices are rechargeable and portable, weighing in at about 10 pounds and approximately the size of a home coffee maker.

Pricey Tech

But Ottawa Chief of Police Charles Bordeleau told the CBC that his department will not be using the device, citing cost concerns and other problems.

“From a cost perspective, they’re $6,000 each. The issue around keeping the swabs at a right temperature is problematic in our current climate,” Bordeleau said.

The chief also said that regulations requiring departments to implement the test immediately would make the cost prohibitive.


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