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Michigan Police Aim To Find Drug-Impaired Drivers


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Michigan police aim to find drug-impaired drivers

 

 

April 30, 2011, 4:37 p.m. EDT

Lansing State Journal

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan's police agencies are working to boost the number of officers trained in catching motorists driving under the influence of drugs — drivers state police say are no less a threat than drunken drivers.

 

The Lansing State Journal reports that police agencies facing a recent rise in traffic fatalities involving drug use began an effort last week to greatly expand the number of officers statewide trained in spotting drug-impaired motorists.

 

Alcohol-impaired drivers often can be detected with a quick preliminary breath test, but drug-impaired drivers are much harder to spot.

 

Determining whether suspected drug-impaired motorists are actually under the influence can take an hour or more of assessing a suspected motorist and include even taking a suspect's pulse and blood pressure at the roadside.

 

"This will improve our chances to identify drugged drivers and make our roadways safer," said Michigan State Police Capt. Kari Kusmierz, commander of the State Police Training Academy, which is hosting the first two weeks of the three-week training effort.

 

On Tuesday, 15 police officers from the Michigan State Police and 10 other agencies began the federally funded course. Five prosecutors from across Michigan also are participating.

 

Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Tlachac said the goal is to turn the student-officers into "drug recognition experts."

 

Although the course focuses on police techniques to correctly identify drugged motorists, Tlachac said she believes it's vital to learn how these cases are prepared so she can better prosecute offenders.

 

"I do think it's important," said Tlachac, citing recent accidents caused by drug impairment. "A lot of people (until now) have focused on drunk driving and alcohol offenses."

 

Despite a decrease in alcohol-related crashes, fatalities and arrests in recent years, Michigan's number of drug-related traffic fatalities last year rose 29 percent from the 119 drug-related fatalities recorded in 2009, according to preliminary data from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

 

Statewide, about one in five drivers killed tested positive for drugs in 2009, officials said.

 

State officials say the increase is due partly to enhanced testing techniques that allow investigators to better detect drugs, but also could reflect increased drug use among motorists.

 

Michael Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, said there is no data yet to indicate that more motorists are driving while impaired with marijuana because of the state's medical marijuana law, approved in 2008.

 

But Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko said she has seen cases anecdotally of medical marijuana users driving while impaired.

 

"There are people who believe that the medical marijuana law allows them to medicate and then drive (while impaired). It's not OK," said Olko, whose department was the first statewide in 2005 to staff a drug recognition expert.

 

Programs to train officers to spot drug impairment began in the California in the late 1970s, but Michigan has lagged behind other Midwestern states in adopting the strategy.

 

Auburn Hills Police Officer Jeramey Peters, a drug recognition expert, said assessing whether a motorist is drug-impaired involves examining a suspect's pupils, taking blood pressure, pulse, body temperature and several dexterity tests similar to those performed on those suspected of being alcohol impaired.

 

"Our nickname for a while was 'doctor cops,'" Peters said.

 

___

 

Information from: Lansing State Journal, http://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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I prefer to have a medical professional administrate this testing at a calm medical clinic or hospital or even better in my own home .. I sure the hell would not be willing to allow an officer to do this in the first place . I dont know many who have a normal pulse when encounterd by LEO . I never have and never will when the gestapo comes around

 

Will they be trained to do full cavity inspections as well ? I might as well get a physical while pulled over .

 

Perhaps they should take the efforts and time to eliminate the problems at hand and thats common sense , any officer with common sense can understand human psych and evaluate a persons mental state by conversation alone .

 

But it looks like those days are coming short . I ll remember to keep my hospital gown in my vehicle , yeah if you see my backside on the road its there fault not mine .... :growl:

 

Hi Odawadanny !!!!

 

I sure hope that if I see your backside whilst driving on a freeway that I do not have an accident !!!!

 

Dr. Jinx

 

PS: None of us wants impaired drivers out there...there have to be a lot of them impaired due to nacotic analgesics, prescribed or not !

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So why didn't they implement something like this when the number of motorists killed by drunks and pill heads started going off the chart years ago!

 

This reactionary move by LE to infer that our roads are all of sudden more dangerous than they have been because of MM is insulting to my intelligence. No one I know who is a Patient ever read the law in a way that they figured it allows them to drive after medicating.

 

I never drove after taking the pills I was on and I never drive after medicating with MM! Another lame attempt to blame someone else for their failures at doing their job, they learned well from Lansing.

 

Ed

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I sure hope they will be testing for ALL drugs. I bet there are a fair number of "upstanding" citizens who drive while they are under the influence of Rx narcotics. I also hope that they soon publish what the standard for "impaired" is for marijuana. We know what our limits are for alcohol. It seems only fair that we know what the limits are for marijuana also.

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I sure hope they will be testing for ALL drugs. I bet there are a fair number of "upstanding" citizens who drive while they are under the influence of Rx narcotics. I also hope that they soon publish what the standard for "impaired" is for marijuana. We know what our limits are for alcohol. It seems only fair that we know what the limits are for marijuana also.

What about Viagra?A few years ago a pilot of a small comercial plane died when his inability to tell the difference in the color of the runway lights.It appears that Viagra can make colors hard to tell after taking the drug.After that every time I fly I look at the pilot hoping he wasnt frisky with his wife last night.

Edited by Bandit
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I wonder how many police officers are checked on a regular basis for the use of 'prescribed' pain medications while on duty?

 

Perhaps there is a need for a new law to cover this possibility as well.

Edited by greenbuddha
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The first paragraph is where the bs starts, "facing a recent rise in drug related traffic fatalities". I call shenanigans, because unless they are talking about a seasonal increase or a statistical anomaly, traffic fatalities have been steadily decreasing everywhere for decades. The need to take all that money and teach a hs level class to anyone ready for a drivers license. Way more effective.

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I sure hope they will be testing for ALL drugs. I bet there are a fair number of "upstanding" citizens who drive while they are under the influence of Rx narcotics. I also hope that they soon publish what the standard for "impaired" is for marijuana. We know what our limits are for alcohol. It seems only fair that we know what the limits are for marijuana also.

Aloha Chauncey !!

 

There is some talk about doing the blood test for alleged MJ impairment. I have heard of something like 5 nanograms as the threshold level for impaired.

 

The problem with that level is that someone who medicates daily would never be able to get this low and therefore would be sentenced to never driving !!!

 

I like the behavioral assessment approach...if you can't walk the straight line or count back from 102 by sevens etc, maybe you should not be driving.

 

I suspect they will be finding that a lot of the impaired drivers are in fact on narcotic analgesics....and that will give the country more insight into what the real Gateway Drug is doing.

 

dr. Jinx

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What about Viagra?A few years ago a pilot of a small comercial plane died when his inability to tell the difference in the color of the runway lights.It appears that Viagra can make colors hard to tell after taking the drug.After that every time I fly I look at the pilot hoping he wasnt frisky with his wife last night.

 

Heh Bandit !!

 

Good point re Viagra and color blindness.

 

There have also been reports that Viagra leads to blindness !

 

Now THAT can really lead to "Impaired driving" !!

 

Dr. jinx

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Heh Bandit !!

 

Good point re Viagra and color blindness.

 

There have also been reports that Viagra leads to blindness !

 

Now THAT can really lead to "Impaired driving" !!

 

Dr. jinx

Dr. jinx

 

That just proves how insane this is to try and pass this BS.I would say the majority of people on the road today are either impaired or talking on a cell phone.I know, why dont we set up check points and test everybody for everything.Dont know how much work would get done though.

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FEDERALLY FUNDED PROGRAM!!!

 

"On Tuesday, 15 police officers from the Michigan State Police and 10 other agencies began the federally funded course. Five prosecutors from across Michigan also are participating."

 

of course leave it to the feds to come up with a new program to jail more people of the USA- war on drugs is far from over folks...

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"Statewide, about one in five drivers killed tested positive for drugs in 2009, officials said."

 

This small statement caught my eye, 1 out of 5..

 

Was this result biased to prescription meds like , vicodin? ambein? xanax?

 

Trix :bong2:

 

I saw a recent statistic that showed approx. 131.7 MILLION prescriptions were written for hydrocodon.

I would imagine more than 1/5 positive if these drugs were included (IMO)

Edited by trix
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Those figures have no relation to reality, because they do not correlate positive tests with fault (you could be hit head-on by a sober drive and still be listed in these charts), and they count all drugs in your system ( so you could be blowing a .25 BAC and still get listed for that joint you smoked the day before ). They promulgate statistics like these to justify their own jobs, not to paint an accurate picture of the realities of driving medicated.

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Those figures have no relation to reality, because they do not correlate positive tests with fault (you could be hit head-on by a sober drive and still be listed in these charts), and they count all drugs in your system ( so you could be blowing a .25 BAC and still get listed for that joint you smoked the day before ). They promulgate statistics like these to justify their own jobs, not to paint an accurate picture of the realities of driving medicated.

 

 

Thats why they can't win they have no facts to back up their claims while we do.

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